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GREECE-SPARTAN AND THEBAN ASCENDENCIES.

concealment of its purpose of open war. In the beginning of B. C. 394,

the allies gathered at the isthmus of Corinth and bade defiance to the

Peloponnesians. It was at this juncture that the Spartan Ephors, becoming

with good reason more anxious for the safety of the country than for

foreign conquest, re- called Agesilaus from Asia Minor to defend his own

dominions.

The Spartans rallied for the conflict with unusual energy. They advanced

by way of Mantinea to Sicyon, where they were con- fronted by the allies,

twenty-four thousand strong. The latter, however, fell back to the more

defensible country in the immediate vicinity of Corinth. Here was fought

a severe battle, in which the Spartans won an indecisive victory.

In the meantime Agesilaus had left Asia Minor, and was approaching by the

old Thracian route marked out by Xerxes. He was joined en route by the

Ten Thousand Greeks, who were now making their way homewards from the

Euxine. After reaching Phocis, Agesilaus heard of the defeat and death

of Pisander at the battle of Cnidus, but he concealed the news from the

army. On the plain of Coronea he was confronted by the allied army. The

Thebans, who led the advance, made a headlong charge and broke the

opposing lines, but in other parts of the field the Spartans were

victorious. The Thebans turned about and fought their way back to their

friends in one of the most desperate hand-to-hand conflicts recorded in

Grecian history. Though the field remained to Agesilaus, his success was

so little decisive that the only mark of defeat on the side of the allies

was their petition for the privilege to bury the dead. After the battle

the Spartan king at once made his way into Peloponnesus, where he was

received with great joy by the alarmed Lacedaemonians and their allies.

In the three battles which had been recently fought, two on land and one

at sea-Corinth, Coronea, Cnidus-the naval engagement had been especially

disastrous to the Spartans, while the land conflicts had given them no

decided advantage. On the sea, Conon and Pharnabazus, acting in concert,

were sweeping every thing before them, and the Spartan dominion in the

AEgean faded away more rapidly than it had been acquired by the battle of

AEgospotami.

In the year B. C. 393, the allied fleet, having completed its work among

the islands, bore down upon Greece. Presently the strange spectacle was

witnessed of a friendly Persian armament lying in the harbor of Piraeus!

Pharnabazus, in his intense dislike of the Spartans, assented heartily to

the plans of his colleague, Conon, who took advantage of the situation to

secure the resurrection of Athens. The gold of Persia was freely used in

the work of restoring the walls and fortifications of the city. Nor was

the hearty aid given to this enterprise by the Thebans-at whose instance

Athens had been dismantled and destroyed-a less conspicuous example of

the mutability of parties among the Greeks. By the assistance thus lent

by her former enemies most bitter and unrelenting, the capital city of

Attica again assumed her place, and though shorn of her renown and glory,

was soon a scene of busy life and ambitious projects.

The whole brunt of the war now fell on Corinth. The allies, attempting to

penetrate Peloponnesus by way of the isthmus, were resisted by the

Spartans, who from their headquarters at Sicyon ravaged the country along

the gulf at will. They finally broke down a considerable portion of the

long walls by which the city of Corinth was connected with her seaport of

Lechaeum, and also gained a victory over those who tried to prevent the

demolition. An army of carpenters and masons was soon sent out from

Athens, and the walls were quickly rebuilt; but Agesilaus, by the aid of

his brother Teleutias, who commanded the fleet, gained possession of

Lechaeum, and rendered the barricades of no further use to the city.

Corinth herself was driven to the verge of capitulation, and a company of

Thebans, who came as an embassy to sue for peace, were treated with

insult and contempt by the king, who was now confident of his ability to

inflict a complete discomfiture upon his enemies.

Just at this juncture an unexpected turn occurred in the relations of the

parties.