Page 0601



immediate result. He was restored to his office and entrusted with a new

expedition to secure the release of Pelopidas. He at once proceeded into

Thessaly and induced Alexander rather by diplomacy than by force to set

Pelopidas at liberty. Epaminondas then refrained from any severe

retaliation against the generalissimo on the ground of expediency.

The next incident of the struggle to maintain the Theban ascendancy was

the capture of Oropus. This town, situated near the border line between

Athens and Thebes, had for a long time been in possession of the former

city; but the people of Oropus, composed for the most part of Theban

exiles, sympathized with the mother state, and watching their opportunity

seized the city and delivered it over to Thebes. About the same time the

Arcadians, under the lead of Lycomedes, having been alienated by the

course of the Theban authorities, sought and obtained an alliance with

Athens, though in the course of the negotiations Lycomedes was

assassinated by some exiles acting in the Theban interest.

By this league it became more than ever desirable for Athens to have

possession of the isthmus of Corinth to the end that she might keep a

free communication between herself and her Peloponnesian allies. She

accordingly with singular moral obliquity formed the design of seizing

Corinth, though between herself and that city there was not the slightest

cause of quarrel. The Corinthians, however, gathered an intimation of the

scheme, and were able, by judicious measures, to thwart the purpose of

their friend. They then turned to Thebes with a proposition for a general

peace. To this the Thebans assented, and a conference was accordingly

convened at Sparta, but only the minor states could agree on the terms of

settlement. Thebes, Athens, Sparta, and Arcadia could not be reconciled,

and the struggle continued as before.

During the years B. C. 365-364 the Athenians regained in some measure

their ascendancy at sea. A fleet under command of Timotheus conquered

Samos and restored the authority of his country in most of the Cyclades.

The effect of this revival of maritime power was to arouse and exasperate

the Thebans, who had never hitherto wielded any influence in the AEgean.

Epaminondas encouraged his countrymen to build a fleet of one hundred

triremes and was himself put in command of the squadron. Sailing to the

Hellespont in B. C. 363 he made as though he would begin a conquest of

the countries adjacent thereto, but nothing came of the expedition. The

sea-service was a novelty both to himself and his men.

While this maritime ambition had possession of the mind of Epaminondas,

Pelopidas organized a land force and again invaded Thessaly. The

recollection of his imprisonment rankled within him, and he determined

that Alexander should feel the force of his vengeance. The latter raised

a large army and advanced to meet the Thebans. The two enemies confronted

each other in the field of Cynoscephaiae, where the Thessalians, though

greatly superior in numbers, were completely routed. Pelopidas, however,

like Cyrus the Younger at Cunaxa, inspired by a sudden rage on beholding

Alexander in the enemy's confused ranks, made a rash and furious charge

with the hope of reaching him. But Alexander was surrounded by his

friends, and Pelopidas, cutting at them with blind fury, was himself

struck down and killed. His loss was so great as to counterbalance the

victory. Shortly afterwards, however, a second Theban campaign against

Thessaly was completely successful. Alexander was stripped of all his

dependencies and confined to the limits of his own city of Pherae.

In the mean time a war had broken out between Elis and Arcadia. The

latter state in B. C. 364 had transferred the presidency of the Olympic

games from the Eleans to the Pisatans, and the former endeavored to

maintain their rights by force. During the progress of the festival they

came armed into the sacred precincts, and were resisted by the Arcadians.

The temple of Zeus was seized and used as a fortress, and the celebration

was broken up in a shameful conflict. The Eleans were finally compelled

to retire, but they sought revenge by striking the one hundred and fourth

Olympiad from the list of the