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I HAVE described in the last two chapters, as far as our imperfect evidence permits, how Sparta came into possession both of the southern portion of Laconia along the coast of the Eurotas down to its mouth, and of the Messenian territory westward. Her progress towards Arcadia and Argolis is now to be sketched, so as to conduct her to that position which she occupied during the reign of Pisistratus at Athens, or about 560-540 BC, a time when she had reached the maximum of her territorial possessions, and when she was confessedly the commanding state in Hellas

The central region of Peloponnesus, called Arcadia, had never received any emigrants from without. Its indigenous inhabitants, a strong and hardy race of mountaineers, the most numerous Hellenic tribe in the peninsula, and the constant hive for mercenary troops, were among the rudest and poorest of Greeks, retaining for the longest period their original subdivision into a number of petty hill-villages, each independent of the other; while the union of all who bore the Arcadian name, though they had some common sacrifices, such as the festival of the Lykaean Zeus, of Despoina, daughter of Poseidon and Demeter, and of Artemis Hymnia, was more loose and ineffective than that of Greeks generally, either in or out of Peloponnesus. The Arcadian villagers were usually denominated by the names of regions, coincident with certain ethnical subdivisions, the Azanes, the Parrhasii, the Maenalii (adjoining Mount Maenalus), the Eutresii, the Aegytae, the Skiritae, etc. Some considerable towns, however, there were, aggregations of villages or demes which had been once autonomous. Of these, the principal were Tegea and Mantinea, bordering on Laconia and Argolis, Orchomenus, Pheneus, and Stymphalus, towards the north-east, bordering on Achaia and Phlius, Kleitor and Heraea, westward, where the country is divided from Elis and Triphylia by the woody mountains of Pholoe and Erymanthus, and Phigaleia, on the south-western border near to Messenia. The most powerful of all were Tegea and Mantinea, conterminous towns, nearly equal in force, dividing between them the cold and high plain of Tripolitza, and separated by one of those capricious torrents which only escapes through katabothra. To regulate the efflux of this water was a difficult task, requiring friendly cooperation of both the towns : and when their frequent jealousies brought on a quarrel, the more aggressive of the two inundated the territory of its neighbor as one means of annoyance. The power of Tegea, which had grown up out of nine constituent townships, originally separate, appears to have been more ancient than that of its rival; as we may judge from its splendid heroic pretensions connected with the name of Echemus, and from the post conceded to its hoplites in joint Peloponnesian armaments, which was second in distinction only to that of the Lacedaemonians.

If it be correct, as Strabo asserts, that the incorporation of the town of Mantinea, out of its five separate demes, was brought about by the Argeians, we may conjecture that the latter adopted this proceeding as a means of providing some check upon their powerful neighbors of Tegea. The plain common to Tegea and Mantinea was bounded to the west by the wintry heights of Maenalus, beyond which, as far as the boundaries of Laconia, Messenia, and Triphylia, there was nothing in Arcadia but small and unimportant townships, or villages, without any considerable town, before the important step taken by Epaminondas in founding Megalopolis, a short time after the battle of Leuctra. The mountaineers of these regions, who joined Epaminondas before the battle of Mantinea, at a time when Mantinea and most of the towns of Arcadia were opposed to him, were so inferior to the other Greeks in equipment, that they still carried as their chief weapon, in place of the spear, nothing better than the ancient club.


Both Tegea and Mantinea held several of these smaller Arcadian townships near them in a sort of dependence, and were anxious to extend this empire over others : during the Peloponnesian war, we find the Mantineans establishing and garrisoning a fortress at Kypsela among the Parrhasii, near the site in which Megalopolis was afterwards built. But at this period, Sparta, as the political chief of Hellas, having a strong interest in keeping all the Grecian towns, small and great, as much isolated from each other as possible, and in checking all schemes for the formation of local confederacies, stood forward as the protectress of the autonomy of these smaller Arcadians, and drove back the Mantineans within their own limits. At a somewhat later period, during the acme of her power, a few years before the battle of Leuctra, she even proceeded to the extreme length of breaking up the unity of Mantinea itself, causing the walls to be razed, and the inhabitants to be again parcelled into their five original demes, a violent arrangement, which the turn of political events very soon reversed. It was not until after the battle of Leuctra and the depression of Sparta that any measures were taken for the formation of an Arcadian political confederacy; and even then, the jealousies of the separate cites rendered it incomplete and short-lived. The great permanent change, the establishment of Megalopolis, was accomplished by the ascendency of Epaminondas. Forty petty Arcadian townships, among those situated to the west of Mount Maenalus, were aggregated into the new city: the jealousies of Tegea, Mantinea, and Kleitor, were for a while suspended; and oekists came from all of them, as well as from the districts of the Maenalii and Parrhasii, in order to impart to the new establishment a genuine Pan-Arcadian character. It was thus there arose for the first time a powerful city on the borders of Laconia and Messenia, rescuing the Arcadian townships from their dependence on Sparta, and imparting to them political interests of their own, which rendered them, both a check upon their former chief and a support to the reestablished Messenians.

It has been necessary thus to bring the attention of the reader for one moment to events long posterior in the order of time (Megalopolis was founded in 370 BC), in order that he may understand, by contrast, the general course of those incidents of the earlier time, where direct accounts are wanting. The northern boundary of the Spartan territory was formed by some of the many small Arcadian townships or districts, several of which were successively conquered by the Spartans and incorporated with their dominion, though at what precise time we are unable to say. We are told that Charilaus, the reputed nephew and ward of Lycurgus, took Aegys, and that he also invaded the territory of Tegea, but with singular ill-success, for he was defeated and taken prisoner : we also hear that the Spartans took Phigaleia by surprise in the 30th Olympiad, but were driven out again by the neighboring Arcadian Oresthasians. During the second Messenian war, the Arcadians are represented as cordially seconding the Messenians : and it may seem perhaps singular that, while neither Mantineia nor Tegea are mentioned in this war, the more distant town of Orchomenus, with its Aristocrates, takes the lead. But the facts of the contest come before us with so poetical a coloring, that we cannot venture to draw any positive inference as to the times to which they are referred.

Oenus and Karystus seem to have belonged to the Spartans in the days of Alkman : moreover, the district called Skiritis, bordering on the territory of Tegea, as well as Belemina and Maleatis to the westward, and Karyae to the eastward and southeastward, of Skiritis, forming altogether the entire northern frontier of Sparta, and all occupied by Arcadian inhabitants, had been conquered and made part of the Spartan territory before 600 BC. And Herodotus tells us, that at this period the Spartan kings Leon and Hegesikles contemplated nothing less than the conquest of entire Arcadia, and sent to ask from the Delphian oracle a blessing on their enterprise. The priestess dismissed their wishes as extravagant, in reference to the whole of Arcadia, but encouraged them, though with the usual equivocations of language, to try their fortune against Tegea. Flushed with their course of previous success, not less than by the favorable construction which they put upon the words of the oracle, the Lacedaemonians marched against Tegea with such entire confidence of success, as to carry with them chains for the purpose of binding their expected prisoners. But the result was disappointment and defeat. They were repulsed with loss, and the prisoners whom they left behind, bound in the very chains which their own army had brought, were constrained to servile labor on the plain of Tegea, the words of the oracle being thus literally fulfilled, though in a sense different from that in which the Lacedaemonians had first understood them.

For one whole generation, we are told, they were constantly unsuccessful in their campaigns against the Tegeans, and this strenuous resistance probably prevented them from extending their conquests farther among the petty states of Arcadia.


At length, in the reign of Anaxandrides and Aristo, the successors of Leon and Hegesikles (about 56O BC), the Delphian oracle, in reply to a question from the Spartans, which of the gods they ought to propitiate in order to become victorious, enjoined them to find and carry to Sparta the bones of Orestes, son of Agamemnon. After a vain search, since they did not know where the body of Orestes was to be found, they applied to the oracle for more specific directions, and were told that the son of Agamemnon was buried at Tegea itself, in a place where two blasts were blowing under powerful constraint, where there was stroke and counter-stroke, and destruction upon destruction". These mysterious words were elucidated by a lucky accident.

During a truce with Tegea, Lichas, one of the chiefs of the three hundred Spartan chosen youth, who acted as the movable police of the country under the ephors, visited the place, and entered the forge of a blacksmith, who mentioned to him, in the course of conversation, that, in sinking a well in his outer court, he had recently discovered a coffin containing a body seven cubits long; astounded at the sight, he had left it there undisturbed. It struck Lichas that the gigantic relic of aforetime could be nothing else but the corpse of Orestes, and he felt assured of this, when he reflected how accurately the indications of the oracle were verified; for there were the "two blasts blowing by constraint", in the two bellows of the blacksmith : there was the "stroke and counter-stroke", in his hammer and anvil, as well as the “destruction upon destruction”, in the murderous weapons which he was forging. Lichas said nothing, but returned to Sparta with his discovery, which he communicated to the authorities, who, by a concerted scheme, banished him under a pretended criminal accusation. He then returned again to Tegea, under the guise of an exile, prevailed upon the blacksmith to let to him the premises, and when he found himself in possession, dug up and carried off to Sparta the bones of the venerated hero.

From and after this fortunate acquisition, the character of the contest was changed; the Spartans found themselves constantly victorious over the Tegeans. But it does not seem that these victories led to any positive result, though they might perhaps serve to enforce the practical conviction of Spartan superiority; for the territory of Tegea remained unimpaired, and its autonomy noway restrained. During the Persian invasion, Tegea appears as the willing ally of Lacedaemon, and as the second military power in the Peloponnesus; and we may fairly presume that it was chiefly the strenuous resistance of the Tegeans which prevented the Lacedaemonians from extending their empire over the larger portion of the Arcadian communities. These latter always maintained their independence, though acknowledging Sparta as the presiding power in Peloponnesus, and obeying her orders implicitly as to the disposal of their military force. And the influence which Sparta thus possessed over all Arcadia was one main item in her power, never seriously shaken until the battle of Leuctra; which took away her previous means of insuring success and plunder to her minor followers.


Having thus related the extension of the power of Sparta on her northern or Arcadian frontier, it remains to mention her acquisitions on the eastern and north-eastern side, towards Argos. Originally, as has been before stated, not merely the province of Kynuria and the Thyreatis, but also the whole coast down to the promontory of Malea, had either been part of the territory of Argos or belonged to the Argeian confederacy. We learn from Herodotus, that before the time when the embassy from Croesus, king of Lydia, came to solicit aid in Greece (about 547 BC), the whole of this territory had fallen into the power of Sparta; but how long before, or at what precise epoch, we have no information. A considerable victory is said to have been gained by the Argeians over the Spartans in the 27th Olympiad or 669 BC, at Hysiae, on the road between Argos and Tegea. At that time it does not seem probable that Kynuria could have been in the possession of the Spartans, so that we must refer the acquisition to some period in the following century; though Pausanias places it much earlier, during the reign of Theopompus, and Eusebius connects it with the first establishment of the festival called Gymnopsaedia at Sparta, in 678 BC.

About the year 547 BC, the Argeians made an effort to reconquer Thyrea from Sparta, which led to a combat long memorable in the annals of Grecian heroism. It was agreed between the two powers that the possession of this territory should be determined by a combat of three hundred select champions on each side; the armies of both retiring, in order to leave the field clear. So undaunted and so equal was the valor of these two chosen companies, that the battle terminated by leaving only three of them alive, Alkenor and Chromius among the Argeians. Othryades among the Spartans. The two Argeians warriors hastened home to report their victory, but Othryades remained on the field, carried off the arms of the enemy’s dead into the Spartan camp, and kept his position until he was joined by his countrymen the next morning. Both Argos and Sparta claimed the victory for their respective champions, and the dispute after all was decided by a general conflict, in which the Spartans were the conquerors, though not without much slaughter on both sides. The brave Othryades, ashamed to return home as the single survivor of the three hundred, fell upon his own sword on the field of battle.


This defeat decided the possession of Thyrea, which did not again pass, until a very late period of Grecian history, under (he power of Argos. The preliminary duel of three hundred, with its uncertain issue, though well established as to the general fact, was represented by the Argeians in a manner totally different from the above story, which seems to have been current among the Lacedaemonians. But the most remarkable circumstance is, that more than a century afterwards, when the two powers were negotiating for a renewal of the then expiring truce, the Argeians, still hankering after this their ancient territory, desired the Lacedaemonians to submit the question to arbitration; which being refused, they next stipulated for the privilege of trying the point in dispute by a duel similar to the former, at any time except during the prevalence of war or of epidemic disease. The historian tells us that the Lacedaemonians acquiesced in this proposition, though they thought it absurd, in consequence of their anxiety to keep their relations with Argos at that time smooth and pacific. But there is no reason to imagine that the real duel, in which Othryades contended, was considered as absurd at the time when it took place, or during the age immediately succeeding. It fell in with a sort of chivalrous pugnacity which is noticed among the attributes of the early Greeks, and also with various legendary exploits, such as the single combat of Echemus and Hyllus, of Melanthus and Xanthus, of Menelaus and Paris, etc. Moreover, the heroism of Othryades and his countrymen was a popular theme for poets, not only at the Spartan gymnopaedia, but also elsewhere, and appears to have been frequently celebrated. The absurdity attached to this proposition, then, during the Peloponnesian war, in the minds even of the Spartans, the most old-fashioned and unchanging people in Greece, is to be ascribed to a change in the Grecian political mind, at and after the Persian war. The habit of political calculation had made such decided progress among them, that the leading states especially had become familiarized with something like a statesmanlike view of their resources, their dangers, and their obligations. How lamentably deficient this sort of sagacity was during the Persian invasion, will appear when we come to describe that imminent crisis of Grecian independence : but the events of those days were well calculated to sharpen it for the future, and the Greeks of the Peloponnesian war had become far more refined political schemers than their forefathers. And thus it happened that the proposition to settle a territorial dispute by a duel of chosen champions, admissible and even becoming a century before, came afterwards to be derided as childish.

The inhabitants of Kynuria are stated by Herodotus to have been Ionians, but completely Dorized through their long subjection to Argos, by whom they were governed as Perioeki. Pausanias gives a different account of their race, which he traces to the eponymous hero Kynurus, son of Perseus : but he does not connect them with the Kynurians whom he mentions in another place as a portion of the inhabitants of Arcadia. It is evident that, even in the time of Herodotus, the traces of their primitive descent were nearly effaced. He says they were “Orneates and Perioeki” to Argos; and it appears that the inhabitants of Orneae also, whom Argos had reduced to the same dependent condition, traced their eponymous hero to an Ionic stock, Orneus, the son of the Attic Erechtheus. Strabo seems to have conceived the Kynurians as occupying originally, not only the frontier district of Argolis and Laconia, wherein Thyrea is situated, but also the northwestern portion of Argolis, under the ridge called Lyrkeium, which separates the latter from the Arcadian territory of Stimphalus. This ridge was near the town of Orneae, which lay on the border of Argolis near the confines of Phlius; so that Strabo thus helps to confirm the statement of Herodotus, that the Orneates were a portion of Kynurians, held by Argos along with the other Kynurians in the condition of dependent allies and Perioeki, and very probably also of Ionian origin.


The conquest of Thyrea (a district valuable to the Lacedaemonians, as we may presume from the large booty which the Argeians got from it during the Peloponnesian war) was the last territorial acquisition made by Sparta. She was now possessed of a continuous dominion, comprising the whole southern portion of the Peloponnesus, from the southern bank of the river Nedon on the western coast, to the northern boundary of Thyreatis on the eastern coast. The area of her territory, including as it did both Laconia and Messenia, was equal to two-fifths of the entire peninsula, all governed from the single city, and for the exclusive purpose and benefit of the citizens of Sparta. Within all this wide area there was not a single community pretending to independent agency. The townships of the Perioeki, and the villages of the Helots, were each individually unimportant; nor do we hear of any one of them presuming to treat with a foreign state : both consider themselves as nothing else but subjects of the Spartan ephors and their subordinate officers. They are indeed discontented subjects, hating as well as fearing their masters, and not to be trusted if a favorable opportunity for secure revolt presents itself. But no individual township or district is strong enough to stand up for itself, while combinations among them are prevented by the habitual watchfulness and unscrupulous precautions of the ephors, especially by that jealous secret police called the Krypteia, to which allusion has already been made.

Not only, therefore, was the Spartan territory larger and its population more numerous than that of any other state in Hellas, but its government was also more completely centralized and more strictly obeyed. Its source of weakness was the discontent of its Perioeki and Helots, the latter of whom were not like the slaves of other states imported barbarians from different countries, and speaking a broken Greek, but genuine Hellens, of one dialect and lineage, sympathizing with each other, and as much entitled to the protection of Zeus Hellanius as their masters, from whom, indeed, they stood distinguished by no other line except the perfect training, individual and collective, which was peculiar to the Spartans. During the period on which we are at present dwelling, it does not seem that this discontent comes sensibly into operation; but we shall observe its manifestations very unequivocally after the Persian and during the Peloponnesian war.

To such auxiliary causes of Spartan predominance we must add another, the excellent military position of Sparta, and the unassailable character of Laconia generally. On three sides that territory is washed by the sea, with a coast remarkably dangerous and destitute of harbors; hence Sparta had nothing to apprehend from this quarter until the Persian invasion and its consequences, one of the most remarkable of which was, the astonishing development of the Athenian naval force. The city of Sparta, far removed from the sea, was admirably defended by an almost impassable northern frontier, composed of those districts which we have observed above to have been conquered from Arcadia, Karyatis, Skiritis, Maleatis, and Beleraminatis. The difficulty as well as danger of marching into Laconia by these mountain passes, noticed by Euripides, was keenly felt by every enemy of the Lacedaemonians, and has been powerfully stated by a first-rate modern observer, Colonel Leake. No site could be better chosen for holding the key of all the penetrable passes than that of Sparta. This well-protected frontier was a substitute more than sufficient for fortifications to Sparta itself, which always maintained, down to the times of the despot Nabis, its primitive aspect of a group of adjacent hill-villages rather than a regular city.

When, along with such territorial advantages, we contemplate the personal training peculiar to the Spartan citizens, as yet undiminished in their numbers, combined with the effect of that training upon Grecian sentiment, in inspiring awe and admiration, we shall not be surprised to find that, during the half-century which elapsed between the year 600 BC and the final conquest of Thyreatis from Argos, Sparta had acquired and begun to exercise a recognized ascendency over all the Grecian states. Her military force was at that time superior to that of any of the rest, in a degree much greater than it afterwards came to be; for other states had not yet attained their maximum, and Athens in particular was far short of the height which she afterwards reached. In respect to discipline as well as number, the Spartan military force had even at this early period reached a point which it did not subsequently surpass; while in Athens, Thebes, Argos, Arcadia, and even Elis (as will be hereafter shown), the military training in later days received greater attention, and improved considerably. The Spartans (observes Aristotle) brought to perfection their gymnastic training and their military discipline, at a time when other Greeks neglected both the one and the other : their early superiority was that of the trained men over the untrained, and ceased in after-days, when other states came to subject their citizens to systematic exercises of analogous character or tendency. This fact, the early period at which Sparta attained her maximum of discipline, power, and territory, is important to bear in mind, when we are explaining the general acquiescence which her ascendency met with in Greece, and which her subsequent acts would certainly not have enabled her to earn. That acquiescence first began, and became a habit of the Grecian mind, at a time when Sparta had no rival to come near her, when she had completely shot ahead of Argos, and when the vigor of the Lycurgean discipline had been manifested in a long series of conquests, made during the stationary period of other states, and ending only, to use the somewhat exaggerated phrase of Herodotus, when she had subdued the greater part of Peloponnesus.

Our accounts of the memorable military organization of Sparta are scanty, and insufficient to place the details of it clearly before us. The arms of the Spartans, as to all material points, were not different from those of other Greek hoplites. But one grand peculiarity is observable from the beginning, as an item in the Lycurgean institutions. That lawgiver established military divisions quite distinct from the civil divisions, whereas in the other states of Greece, until a period much later than that which we have now reached, the two were confounded, the hoplites or horsemen of the same tribe or ward being marshaled together on the field of battle. Every Lacedaemonian was bound to military service from the age of twenty to sixty, and the ephors, when they sent forth an expedition, called to arms all the men within some given limit of age. Herodotus tells us that Lycurgus established both the syssitia, or public mess, and the enomoties and triakads, or the military subdivisions peculiar to Sparta.


The triakads are not mentioned elsewhere, nor can we distinctly make out what they were; but the enomoty was the special characteristic of the system, and the pivot upon which all its arrangements turned. It was a small company of men, the number of whom was variable, being given differently at twenty-five, thirty-two, or thirty-six men, drilled and practised together in military evolutions, and bound to each other by a common oath. Each enomoty had a separate captain, or enomotarch, the strongest and ablest soldier of the company, who always occupied the front rank, and led the enomoty when it marched in single file, giving the order of march, as well as setting the example. If the enomoty was drawn up in three, or four, or six files, the enomotarch usually occupied the front post on the left, and care was taken that both the front-rank men and the rear-rank men, of each file, should be soldiers of particular merit.

It was upon these small companies that the constant and severe Lacedaemonian drilling was brought to act. They were taught to march in concert, to change rapidly from line to file, to wheel right or left in such manner as that the enomotarch and the other protostates, or front-rank men, should always be the persons immediately opposed to the enemy. Their step was regulated by the fife, which played in martial measures peculiar to Sparta, and was employed in actual battle as well as in military practice; and so perfectly were they habituated to the movements of the enomoty, that, if their order was deranged by any adverse accident, scattered soldiers could spontaneously form themselves into the same order, each man knowing perfectly the duties belonging to the place into which chance had thrown him

Above the enomoty were several larger divisions, the pentekostys, the lochus, and the mora, of which latter there seem to have been six in all. Respecting the number of each division, and the proportion of the larger to the smaller, we find statements altogether different, yet each resting upon good authority, so that we are driven to suppose that there was no peremptory standard, and that the enomoty comprised twenty-five, thirtytwo, or thirty-six men; the pentekostys, two or four enomoties; the lochus, two or four pentekosties, and the mora, four hundred, five hundred, six hundred, or nine hundred men, at different times, or according to the limits of age which the ephors might prescribe for the men whom they called into the field.

What remains fixed in the system is, first, the small number, though varying within certain limits, of the elementary company called enomoty, trained to act together, and composed of men nearly of the same age, in which every man knew his place; secondly, the scale of divisions and the hierarchy of officers, each rising above the other, the enomotarch, the pentekonter, the lochage, and the polemarch, or commander of the mora, each having the charge of their respective divisions. Orders were transmitted from the king, as commander-in-chief, through the polemarchs to the lochages, from the lochages to the pentekonters, and then from the latter to the enomotarchs, each of whom caused them to be executed by his enomoty. As all these men had been previously trained to the duties of their respective stations, the Spartan infantry possessed the arrangements and aptitudes of a standing army. Originally, they seem to have had no cavalry at all, and when cavalry was at length introduced into their system, it was of a very inferior character, no provision having been made for it in the Lycurgean training. But the military force of the other cities of Greece, even down to the close of the Peloponnesian war, enjoyed little or no special training, having neither any small company like the enomoty, consisting of particular men drilled to act together, no fixed and disciplined officers, nor triple scale of subordination and subdivision.


Gymnastics, and the use of arms, made a part of education everywhere, and it is to be presumed that no Grecian hoplite was entirely without some practice of marching in line and military evolutions, inasmuch as the obligation to serve was universal and often enforced. But such practice was casual and unequal, nor had any individual of Argos or Athens a fixed military place and duty. The citizen took arms among his tribe, under a taxiarch, chosen from it for the occasion, and was placed in a rank or line wherein neither his place nor his immediate neighbors were predetermined. The tribe appears to have been the only military classification known to Athens, and the taxiarch the only tribe officer for infantry, as the phylarch was for cavalry, under the general-in-chief. Moreover, orders from the general were proclaimed to the line collectively by a herald of loud voice, not communicated to the taxiarch so as to make him responsible for the proper execution of them by his division. With an arrangement thus perfunctory and unsystematized, we shall be surprised to find how well the military duties were often performed: but every Greek who contrasted it with the symmetrical structure of the Lacedaemonian armed force, and with the laborious preparation of every Spartan for his appropriate duty, felt an internal sentiment of inferiority, which made him willingly accept the headship of "these professional artists in the business of war", as they are often denominated.

It was through the concurrence of these various circumstances that the willing acknowledgment of Sparta as the leading state of Hellas became a part of Grecian habitual sentiment, during the interval between about 600 BC and 547 BC. During this period too, chiefly, Greece and her colonies were ripening into a sort of recognized and active partnership. The common religious assemblies, which bound the parts together, not only acquired greater formality and more extended development, but also became more numerous and frequent, while the Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean games were exalted into a national importance, approaching to that of the Olympic. The recognized superiority of Sparta thus formed part and parcel of the first historical aggregation of the Grecian states. It was about the year 547 BC, that Croesus of Lydia, when pressed by Cyrus and the Persians, solicited aid from Greece, addressing himself to the Spartans as confessed presidents of the whole Hellenic body. And the tendencies then at work, towards a certain degree of increased intercourse and cooperation among the dispersed members of the Hellenic name, were doubtless assisted by the existence of a state recognized by all as the first, a state whose superiority was the more readily acquiesced in, because it was earned by a painful and laborious discipline, which sill admired, but none chose to copy.

Whether it be true, as O. Müller and other learned men conceive, that the Homeric mode of fighting was the general practice in Peloponnesus and the rest of Greece anterior to the invasion of the Dorians, and that the latter first introduced the habit of fighting with close ranks and protended spears, is a point which cannot be determined. Throughout all our historical knowledge of Greece, a close rank among the hoplites, charging with spears always in hand, is the prevailing practice; though there are cases of exception, in which the spear is hurled, when troops seem afraid of coming to close quarters. Nor is it by any means certain, that the Homeric manner of fighting ever really prevailed in Peloponnesus, which is a country eminently inconvenient for the use of war-chariots. The descriptions of the bard may perhaps have been founded chiefly upon what he and his auditors witnessed on the coast of Asia Minor, where chariots were more employed, and where the country was much more favorable to them. We have no historical knowledge of any military practice in Peloponnesus anterior to the hoplites with close ranks and protended spears.


One Peloponnesian state there was, and one alone, which disdained to acknowledge the superiority or headship of Lacedaemon. Argos never forgot that she had once been the chief power in the peninsula, and her feeling towards Sparta was that of a jealous, but impotent, competitor. By what steps the decline of her power had taken place, we are unable to make out, nor can we trace the succession of her kings subsequent to Pheidon. It has been already stated that, about 669 BC, the Argeians gained a victory over the Spartans at Hysiae, and that they expelled from the port of Nauplia its preexisting inhabitants, who found shelter, by favor of the Lacedaemonians, at the port of Mothone, in Messenia. Damokratidas was then king of Argos. Pausanias tells us that Meltas, the son of Lakides, was the last descendant of Temenus who succeeded to this dignity; he being condemned and deposed by the people. Plutarch, however, states that the family of the Herakleids died out, and that another king, named Aegon, was chosen by the people at the indication of the Delphian oracle. Of this story, Pausanias appears to have known nothing. His language implies that the kingly dignity ceased with Meltas, wherein he is undoubtedly mistaken, since the title existed, though probably with very limited functions, at the time of the Persian war. Moreover, there is some ground for presuming that the king of Argos was even at that time a Herakleid, since the Spartans offered to him a third part of the command of the Hellenic force, conjointly with their own two kings.

The conquest of Thyreatis by the Spartans deprived the Argeians of a valuable portion of their Perioekis, or dependent territory; but Orneae, and the remaining portion of Kynuria, still continued to belong to them; the plain round their city was very productive; and except Sparta, there was no other power in Peloponnesus superior to them. Mycenae and Tiryns, nevertheless, seem both to have been independent states at the time of the Persian war, since both sent contingents to the battle of Plataea, at a time when Argos held aloof and rather favored the Persians. At what time Kleonae became the ally, or dependent, of Argos, we cannot distinctly make out. During the Peloponnesian war, it is numbered in that character along with Orneae; but it seems not to have lost its autonomy about the year 470 BC, at which period Pindar represents the Kleonaeans as presiding and distributing prizes at the Nemean games. The grove of Nemea was less than two miles from their town, and they were the original presidents of this great festival, a function of which they were subsequently robbed by the Argeians. in the same manner as the Pisatans had been treated by the Eleians with reference to the Olympic Agon. The extinction of the autonomy of Kleonae and the acquisition of the presidency of the Nemean festival by Argos, were doubtless simultaneous, but we are unable to mark the exact time; for the statement of Eusebius, that the Argeians celebrated the Nemean festival as early as the 53d Olympiad, or 568 BC, is contradicted by the more valuable evidence of Pindar.


Of Corinth and Sicyon it will be more convenient to speak when we survey what is called the Age of the Tyrants, or Despots; and of the inhabitants of Achaia (who occupied the southern coast of the Corinthian gulf, westward of Sicyon, as far as Cape Araxus, the north-western point of Peloponnesus), a few words exhaust our whole knowledge, down to the time at which we are arrived. These Achaeans are given to us as representing the ante-Dorian inhabitants of Laconia, whom the legend affirms to have retired under Tisamenus to the northern parts of Peloponnesus, from whence they expelled the preexisting Ionians and occupied the country. The race of their kings is said to have lasted from Tisamenus down to Ogygus, how long we do not know. After the death of the latter, the Achaean towns formed each a separate republic, but with periodical festivals and sacrifice at the temple of Zeus Homarius, affording opportunity of settling differences and arranging their common concerns. Of these towns, twelve are known from Herodotus and Strabo, Pellene, Aegira, Aegas, Bura, Helike, Aegium, Rhypes, Patrae, Pharae, Olenus, Dyme, Tritaea. But there must originally have been some other autonomous towns besides these twelve; for in the 23d Olympiad, Ikarus of Hyperesia was proclaimed as victor, and there seems good reason to believe that Hyperesia, an old town of the Homeric Catalogue, was in Achaia.

It is affirmed that, before the Achaean occupation of the country, the Ionians had dwelt in independent villages, several of which were subsequently aggregated into towns thus Patrae was formed by a coalescence of seven villages, Dyme from eight (one of which was named Teuthea), and Aegium also from seven or eight. But all these towns were small, and some of them underwent a farther junction one with the other; thus Aegae was joined with Aegeira, and Olenus with Dyme. All the authors seem disposed to recognize twelve cities, and no more, in Achaia; for Polybius, still adhering to that number, substitutes Leontium and Keryneia in place of Aegae and Rhypes; Pausanias gives Keryneia in place of Patrae. We hear of no facts respecting these Achaean towns until a short time before the Peloponnesian war, and even then their part was inconsiderable.

The greater portion of the territory comprised under the name of Achaia was mountain, forming the northern descent of those high ranges, passable only through very difficult gorges, which separate the country from Arcadia to the south, and which throw out various spurs approaching closely to the gulf of Corinth. A strip of flat land, with white clayey soil, often very fertile, between these mountains and the sea, formed the plain of each of the Achaean towns, which were situated for the most part upon steep outlying eminences overhanging it. From the mountains between Achaia and Arcadia, numerous streams flow into the Corinthian gulf, but few of them are perennial, and the whole length of coast is represented as harborless.