Page 0599

599

GREECE-SPARTAN ANDTHEBAN ASCENDENCIES.

and a new capital called Messene, was established on the summit.

Such was the present abasement of Sparta that she now sent humbly to

Athens to solicit an alliance against the Thebans. The Athenians readily

assented, but Sparta, in order to secure the league, was obliged to

renounce her claims of leadership. It was agreed that the command both by

land and sea should alternate in periods of five days between the

generals of the two states. The first movement of the new allies was to

occupy the isthmus of Corinth. Thus should Epaminondas be cut off from

communication with his confederates in Peloponnesus. But the Thebans soon

broke through the passes, and in B. C. 369 made the usual invasion of

Southern Greece. Still the campaign was not attended with much success,

and in the mean time the Lacedaemonian cause was considerably revived by

the arrival of a squadron from Syracuse, the same being sent out by the

Sicilian tyrant, Dionysius. (1) With the approach

________________________________ 1 It was at the court of the Tyrant

Dionysius that the celebrated incident occurred in which the courtier

Damocles figured as the principal actor. As narrated by Cicero, this

distinguished sycophant had, after the manner of his kind, lauded

Dionysius, and ascribed to him such happiness as belongs only to the

immortals. In order to rebuke this unseemly flattery, the Tyrant