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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book IV   


to annoy Boeotia that they crossed the frontier and built a fort in
our country; and they are therefore, I imagine, our enemies wherever
we may come up with them, and from wheresoever they may have come to
act as enemies do. And if any one has taken up with the idea in
question for reasons of safety, it is high time for him to change
his mind. The party attacked, whose own country is in danger, can
scarcely discuss what is prudent with the calmness of men who are in
full enjoyment of what they have got, and are thinking of attacking
a neighbour in order to get more. It is your national habit, in your
country or out of it, to oppose the same resistance to a foreign
invader; and when that invader is Athenian, and lives upon your
frontier besides, it is doubly imperative to do so. As between
neighbours generally, freedom means simply a determination to hold
one's own; and with neighbours like these, who are trying to enslave
near and far alike, there is nothing for it but to fight it out to the
last. Look at the condition of the Euboeans and of most of the rest of
Hellas, and be convinced that others have to fight with their
neighbours for this frontier or that, but that for us conquest means
one frontier for the whole country, about which no dispute can be
made, for they will simply come and take by force what we have. So
much more have we to fear from this neighbour than from another.
Besides, people who, like the Athenians in the present instance, are
tempted by pride of strength to attack their neighbours, usually march
most confidently against those who keep still, and only defend
themselves in their own country, but think twice before they grapple
with those who meet them outside their frontier and strike the first
blow if opportunity offers. The Athenians have shown us this
themselves; the defeat which we inflicted upon them at Coronea, at the
time when our quarrels had allowed them to occupy the country, has
given great security to Boeotia until the present day. Remembering
this, the old must equal their ancient exploits, and the young, the
sons of the heroes of that time, must endeavour not to disgrace
their native valour; and trusting in the help of the god whose
temple has been sacrilegiously fortified, and in the victims which
in our sacrifices have proved propitious, we must march against the
enemy, and teach him that he must go and get what he wants by
attacking someone who will not resist him, but that men whose glory it
is to be always ready to give battle for the liberty of their own
country, and never unjustly to enslave that of others, will not let
him go without a struggle."
By these arguments Pagondas persuaded the Boeotians to attack the
Athenians, and quickly breaking up his camp led his army forward, it
being now late in the day. On nearing the enemy, he halted in a
position where a hill intervening prevented the two armies from seeing
each other, and then formed and prepared for action. Meanwhile
Hippocrates at Delium, informed of the approach of the Boeotians, sent
orders to his troops to throw themselves into line, and himself joined
them not long afterwards, leaving about three hundred horse behind him
at Delium, at once to guard the place in case of attack, and to
watch their opportunity and fall upon the Boeotians during the battle.
The Boeotians placed a detachment to deal with these, and when
everything was arranged to their satisfaction appeared over the
hill, and halted in the order which they had determined on, to the
number of seven thousand heavy infantry, more than ten thousand
light troops, one thousand horse, and five hundred targeteers. On
their right were the Thebans and those of their province, in the
centre the Haliartians, Coronaeans, Copaeans, and the other people
around the lake, and on the left the Thespians, Tanagraeans, and
Orchomenians, the cavalry and the light troops being at the
extremity of each wing. The Thebans formed twenty-five shields deep,
the rest as they pleased. Such was the strength and disposition of the
Boeotian army.
On the side of the Athenians, the heavy infantry throughout the
whole army formed eight deep, being in numbers equal to the enemy,

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