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Alexander's accession a garrison had been, by the order of the

Amphictyons, established in the Theban citadel. The two commanders of

this body of guards were Amyntas and Timolaus. The first was a Theban

and the second a Macedonian. Both, believing in the peaceable

disposition of the citizens, took up their quarters in the town instead

of the citadel. Meanwhile a sedition was fomented in Athens, and certain

Theban exiles residing there were instigated to return to their own city

and head an insurrection. Accordingly, in the dead of night, Amyntas and

Timolaus were beset in their quarters and killed. Heralds then ran

through the town, proclaiming that Alexander was dead, and urging the

citizens to attack and destroy the Macedonian garrison.

Hearing of this condition of affairs, Alexander came down with all haste

from the North, and marched into Boeotia. Before the Thebans could

prepare resistance, the king was upon them. They were incredulous, and

refused to believe that he who but a few days before had been proclaimed

dead in the mountains of Illyria was actually at their doors with a

Macedonian phalanx. Thinking that the advance was some company of

marauders, they sent out a body of cavalry and peltasts to confront

them. Alexander, acting with great moderation, made proclamation that

the infatuated multitude should cease from their rash hostility and

return to their allegiance. When the demagogues who had control of the

city would not hear of the proposed settlement, the king advanced his

army to the city gates, and stood ready for action. For it was believed

that the Macedonian party in Thebes would presently assert itself, and

that the storming of the town would thus be avoided.

But while matters stood in this attitude a party of the besiegers, under

command of Perdiccas, being close to the city wall, discovered the means

of scaling the rampart, and, without waiting for orders, began an

assault. They fought their way into the heart of the city, but the

Thebans rallied in great numbers and the assailants were driven back.

Retreating through the gates, the Macedonians were pursued by the rash

throng of citizen soldiers, who recklessly pressed on until they struck

the phalanx, which Alexander had drawn up to resist them. Against this

immovable wall the Thebans dashed themselves, and were hurled back in

confusion. A battle was now fairly on. The Macedonians followed the

insurgents into the city.

The besieged garrison now poured out of the citadel, and the

discomfiture of the Thebans was soon complete. Great numbers were

slaughtered in the streets. The auxiliaries in Alexander's army, burning

with the recollection of wrongs which they had suffered at the hands of

the Thebans in the times of Pelopidas, gave free rein to their passions,

and made an indiscriminate butchery of the inhabitants. Nor did the

violence of the victors cease with the bloody tragedy by which the town

was taken. A congress of the confederate states was presently convened,

and decrees of relentless barbarity were passed against Thebes and her

people. It was solemnly resolved that the Theban name should be blotted

out; that the city should be destroyed; that the women and children

should be sold into slavery; that the territory should be parceled out

to the allies and to those of the natives who had maintained their

allegiance to Macedonia; and that the citadel should be held by a

garrison in the Macedonian interest.

The character of Alexander was illustrated in the enforcement of the act

of the congress. Much of the severity of the edict was abated.

Especially where the interests of literature and art were concerned did

the king act the magnanimous part. The house of the poet Pindar was not

demolished, and even his relatives were spared from persecution. In

other respects the decree was enforced, and Thebes was extinguished. Six

thousand of her people had perished in battle, and thirty thousand were

sold into slavery. It is said that the mind of Alexander was haunted not

a little with the recollection of these atrocities perpetrated against

the Thebans, and that he attempted, as far as lay in his power, to make

amends by the bestowal of favors upon those who survived the destruction

of the state.

Great was the alarm at Athens when it was known that Thebes had been

taken and destroyed. It was confidently expected that