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GREECE-SPARTAN AND THEBAN ASCENDENCIES.

CHAPTER XLVII-SPARTAN AND THEBAN ASCENDENCIES.

What has been called the Spartan Supremacy in Grecian history may be

dated from the battle of AEgospotami, in B. C. 405. That conflict decided

the fate of Athens, and there was none other of the Hellenic states at

all able to compete either on land or sea with the Lacedaemonians. The

latter, therefore, as if by right, assumed the mastery of Greece, and for

a while her dominion was as unlimited as it was arbitrary.

Among her first acts was the punishment of certain states that had in

some way injured her interests or insulted her pride. The Eleans had on

a certain occasion excluded the Spartans from participation in the

Olympic games, and more recently had refused permission to King Agis to

offer sacrifices in the temple of Zeus. The inclination of Elis to the

democratic rather than the oligarchic form of government was especially

distasteful to the Lacedaemonians, who now determined to regulate the

affairs of their western neighbors and punish them for previous

misconduct.

In B. C.402 Agis began a campaign against Elis, but was stopped by his

superstition. An earthquake aroused his fears, and the expedition was

postponed until the following year. With the ensuing summer, however, the

campaign was again undertaken. The allies, even including a body of

Athenians, joined the expedition, and the Eleans were soon reduced to

submission. The pious Agis performed his sacrifices and dictated the

terms of peace.

In the meantime, Lysander, now a private but ostentatious citizen of

Sparta, became a source of trouble in that state. His ambition had grown

with what it fed on, and he contemplated no less than a revolution of the

government, by which he hoped to have Agis set aside and himself made

king. To this end he consulted the oracles of Zeus at Dodona and at

Ammon, in distant Libya, as well as that of Apollo at Delphi; but, though

he used the persuasive power of money, the answers were adverse to his

schemes. He succeeded, however, in getting Leotychides, the eldest son of

Agis, set aside, on the ground that he was an illegitimate son of

Alcibiades. But Agesilaus, a younger son, born of another mother,

obtained the throne, and soon became a popular and efficient ruler. A

conspiracy was organized against him on the ground of his lameness, an

old oracle having warned the Spartans to beware "of a lame reign." But

Lysander, hoping to use the new king for his own purposes, explained that

a lame reign and a lame king were two very different things; so the

insurrection was suppressed, and the leaders put to death.

Nearly all the states of Greece were now subject to Sparta. The system of

government, established through the agency of Lysander in the

dependencies, was that of the Decarchy, or Council of Ten, under the

leadership of a Spartan Harmost, or governor. It was essentially a

tyranny, and the Lacedaemonian supremacy, which was based thereon,

contained no element of strength or perpetuity. There was, moreover, in

the present state of affairs a certain inconsistency which weakened the

Spartan authority. The state had fought through the whole of the

Peloponnesianwars for the ostensible purpose of liberating Greece from

the dominion of Athens. What good to substitute the dominion of Sparta?

On the whole, the Greek mind sympathized with the Ionian race and the

democratic tendencies of the Athenians rather than with the austere

Dorians and their oligarchy.

Meanwhile, a stirring drama had been enacted in Asia Minor. The

conspiracy of Cyrus the Younger against his brother Artaxerxes had

gathered head and broken into nothing at the battle of Cunaxa. The part