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smaller states of Peloponnesus against Sparta (Hell. vi. 5. 19), and were not only expected, but actually approaching to their aid. arrived soon after the departure of Agesilaus, and being joined by the Arcadians and their allies, their combined forces presented so imposing an array, that in the confidence of their strength they pressed and persuaded Epaminondas to invade Laconia itself. (Hell. vi. 5. 24, 25.) On his return into Arcadia (Diod. xv. 66), after plundering Laconia far and wide, and threatening Sparta itself, he proceeded to develope his designs against that state, in which the Arcadians were of course ready enough to co-operate. Indeed, they had already resolved to found a new city as a centre of union for their confederation; but the jealousies and rivalries of the several states, especially those of Mantineia and Tegea, combined with individual attachments to old localities, were formidable obstacles to the execution of this design, and might have prevented it.
In this emergency, the character and influence of Epaminondas supplied the deficiency of a controlling and recognized authority, and the foundation of the new city was soon laid by the Arcadian commissioners in conjunction with him. (Paus. viii. 27. 2.) Its site was fixed in the upper plain of the famous Alpheius, and on one of its branches, the Helisson, which flowed through the city, and divided it into two parts. (Paus. viii. 30.) No less than 40 distinct κ@paι or villages (Diod. xv. 72) were comprehended in the new settlement; and 4 small townships, already occupying a part of its territory, being unwilling to unite with them, were compelled to do so, except the Trapezuntians, who left their country, and found a new home at Trapezus (Trebizond) on the Euxine.
The walls of the city enclosed a space of 50 stadia, or 5 miles round, with a rural territory attached, extending northwards 24 miles from the city, and of considerable magnitude in other directions. According to its native historian Polybius (ix. c. 21), its dimensions were on a larger scale than those of Sparta itself, and even its name (ʼn Meyáλn wódis) indicated the views and objects of its founders. These, however, were far from being permanently realized, for Cleomenes (Plutarch, c. 24. Paus. ii. 9. 2; viii. 27. 10), king of Sparta, partly destroyed it 150 years afterwards; and, according to a comic poet quoted by Strabo (viii. 8. 1), 'the great city' was in his time a great desert:
Ἐρημία μεγάλη στὶν ἡ Μεγάλη πόλις.
But the building of Megalopolis as a bulwark against Sparta, was not the only scheme which Epaminondas had formed. With a long-sighted policy, and a clear perception of the best means of per
manently disabling her, he had resolved to dispossess her of the fertile territory of Messenia, cultivated for her by her Helots, and to occupy it with a population rankling with hatred against her. For this purpose he communicated with the Messenian exiles, and invited them from their different places of settlement to return to their ancient country under the protection of Thebes. (Diod. xv. 66. Paus. iv. 26. 34.) His summons was eagerly responded to. Many had already joined him when he entered Arcadia in B.C. 370, and so many more followed, that it was resolved to build a new town for their reception upon the slope of the celebrated Ithome, with a citadel on the summit. (Paus. iv. 31. 4.) After solemn sacrifices and to the strains of patriotic airs (Paus. iv. 27), the foundations were laid, Epaminondas himself being expressly honoured with the title of founder (oikuτýs). The best builders and architects of Greece were invited to join in the work, and especial care was taken with the fortifications as a protection against attack by Sparta. It was surrounded on all sides with a wall of stone, strengthened by towers and buttresses, the excellence and solidity of which were an object of admiration to Pausanias (iv. 31. 4) 500 years afterwards, and have ensured the preservation of some of its remains to modern times.
Describing the north gate towards Megalopolis, Colonel Leake (Morea, i. 372) says, "It is one of the finest specimens of Greek military architecture in existence. It is a double gate with an intermediate circular court of sixty-two feet in diameter, and the interior masonry is the most exact and beautiful I ever saw. Two towers next to the gate on the slope of Mount Ithome, with the interjacent curtain (rò μeσоúpуtov) and the curtain between the lower town and the gate, show this part of the fortification to have resembled a chain of strong redoubts, each tower constituting a fortress of itself. The embrasures in each face of the towers have an opening of seven inches within, and of three feet nine inches without, so that with a small opening their scope is very great. Both the curtains and towers in this part of the walls are constructed entirely of large squared blocks without rubble or cement. The curtains are nine feet thick."
Thus situated and fortified was the new town to which the Messenians repaired nearly 300 years after their ancestors had been driven from their homes. Its erection was indeed a heavy blow to Spartan interests, and a painful wound to Spartan pride, aggravated also by a loss of territory which included some of the most fertile land in the Peloponnesus. All the district s.w. of Ithome, from the river Neda on the N. to the sea-coast on the w. and s., was taken from Sparta, and appropriated as the domain of the new settlement
and its dependencies. For centuries before, this region had been occupied by the vassals, and tilled by the serfs of Sparta, the Perioeci who served as light troops in her armies, and the Helots who served as the slaves of her citizens. Many of these were the descendants of the ancient Messenians, whom the removal of the Spartan yoke at once converted into freemen, and whose independence was confirmed and guaranteed by the new establishment of Messene. Instead, therefore, of receiving tributes, and rent, and produce from this district, Sparta saw it suddenly transformed into a hostile country, peopled by men whose feelings and interests made them her deadly enemies, and whom she had wronged too grievously for reconciliation or forgiveness. (Grote x. 311.) The bitterness of her feeling under this humiliation may be readily conceived, and is forcibly expressed by Isocrates in his oration called Archidamus (§§ 30. 101), composed only five or six years after the revolution. For, as he represents, the Spartans complained indignantly that not only were the genuine Messenians restored, but their own slaves, the Helots, were located as freemen on their borders, and so far elevated to an equality with their late masters themselves.
But galling as all this was to Sparta, she was obliged to submit, for she could not alter it. She was now hemmed in by Messene on the w. and Megalopolis and Argos on the N., while the Thebans were actually at war with her, and occupied Tegea with a garri(Xen. Hell. vii. 4. 36.) Accordingly, for some time at least (Paus. iv. 28), she abstained from any acts of hostility to the new establishments, except when Archidamus invaded Arcadia (B.C. 367), and with some auxiliaries (Kéλra) from Dionysius of Syracuse, gained the 'Tearless Battle' over the Arcadians and Argives. (Hell. vii. 1. 28.) This, however, was but an isolated success; and the influence of Thebes continued so predominant, that she was enabled to obtain from the king of Persia a recognition of the independence of Messene, and a declaration of her own headship in Greece. (Hell. vii. 1. 36. Grote x. 383.) Moreover (in B.C. 366), she succeeded in detaching Corinth, and other allies from Sparta, and securing their neutrality upon the general basis of the Persian mandate, which of course involved the independence of Messene. (Xen. Hell. vii. 4. 9.) Sparta herself was solicited to accept peace on the same terms, but she firmly refused to do so, and declared her resolution never to give up a territory which she had inherited from of old. According to Isocrates (Archid.), this determination was expressed in the strongest terms by Archidamus, the son of Agesilaus, while he at the same time conjured his countrymen to make every sacrifice for its recovery. His first attempt with
this object was the occupation of a post called Cromnus (¿ Kpôμvos), not far from Megalopolis, and so cutting off its communication with Messene. This, indeed, was done at the instigation of the Eleans, then at war with the Arcadians; but it proved a failure, for the latter blockaded the fort, and at last dislodged the garrison. (Hell. vii. 4. 27.)
The lapse of a few years brought about great changes. The Arcadians quarrelled among themselves, some remaining firm in their friendship to Thebes; others, and Mantineia especially, rallying round Sparta. To secure the ascendancy they had so lately gained, the Thebans once more invaded Peloponnesus, and won the battle of Mantineia against the Spartans and their allies, but lost their hero Epaminondas (Diod. xv. 87. Xen. Hell. vii. 5. 24), and with him all hope of future success (B.c. 362). In the same battle fell two other Theban captains, whom he had intended to succeed him, on hearing of whose death, he said to his comrades in his last words: "Then you must make peace with the enemy." (Plutarch, Apophtheg. p. 194, c. Aelian, V. H. xii. 3.) His injunction was followed, and peace was concluded between the two principals and their allies on the basis of the status quo, and admitting the independence of Messene. At least this admission was made, and the independence guaranteed by the allies of both, though Sparta herself stood out against it, preferring a state of isolation and the loss of friends, to what she thought a degradation, and hoping for better times to re-assert her claims. (Diod. xv. 89. Polyb. iv. 33.)
In a few years a favourable opportunity appeared to present itself. The Sacred War had broken out (B.c. 356) between the Phocians and the Thebans, which during its continuance for ten years gave the latter so much occupation nearer home, that their protection of Peloponnesian dependents might well seem impossible. Indeed, Archidamus himself was said (Diod. xvi. 24) to have fostered the war, by promising men and money to the Phocian leaders, and he actually furnished them with 15 talents to carry it on. Accordingly, when (B.C. 353) the Phocian arms were triumphant, he thought the time was arrived for re-establishing the Spartan ascendancy in the Peloponnesus, by breaking up the hostile states of Megalopolis and Messene. With this view he announced the principle, that ancient rights ought to be restored; that Athens, for instance, ought to be put in possession of Oropus, which Thebes had taken from her some 14 years before; that Thespiae, Plataeae, and Orchomenus, ought to be re-established; that Phlius should regain a fortress called Tricaranum (Xen. Hell. vii. 2), and Elis the territory of Triphylia, over which she claimed the same rights as Sparta did over Messenia.
Obviously if these arrangements were carried out, the parties benefited could hardly refuse Sparta their assistance in the recovery of Messene, and the re-establishment of the former state of affairs at Megalopolis. This it was evident was the real object of Archidamus, and other indications plainly showed that Lacedaemon was planning operations against that city. In this conjuncture the Megalopolitans sent an embassy to Athens, soliciting her aid in the approaching struggle, while at the same time the Spartans sent another to oppose them. Public opinion it would seem was divided upon the subject in Athens, her interests suggesting one policy, and her sympathies another. Demosthenes took a wise and comprehensive view of the case, though an unpopular one; pointing out, that although they had recently been, and still were allies of Sparta against Thebes, nevertheless, justice and expediency required them to protect Messene and Megalopolis against Spartan aggression.
It does not, however, appear that these sensible views prevailed; for Archidamus soon afterwards (B.c. 352-351) advanced into the territory of Megalopolis with a body of Spartan troops, and 3000 Phocian mercenaries. Megalopolis on her side was assisted by the Thebans and Argives; and a war was carried on for some time with various success, till at last the Lacedaemonians concluded a peace, and the Thebans returned home. The inference is that they would not have done this without having accomplished their object; and that virtually, if not formally, the Lacedaemonians were compelled, for the time at least, to desist from designs against Megalopolis, and to acquiesce in her independence. (Diod. xvi. 39. Grote xi. 419.)
This was the second speech of Demosthenes on public matters, delivered by him when only about 28 years of age; and it is remarkable, that neither in it, nor in the De Symmoriis of the year before, is there any allusion to Philip. Another point worthy of notice is, that so young a man, naturally desirous of conciliating the good opinion of his countrymen, should have had the moral courage to oppose their sympathies as he did, and the statesmanlike judgment to appreciate the necessity for doing so.