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Catastrophes of the place
By Athenians under Tolmides, 456-455 BC
During this year (456 B.C.) Tolmides, who was commander of the naval forces and vied with both the valour and fame of Myronides, was eager to accomplish a memorable deed. Consequently, since in those times no one had very yet laid waste Laconia, he urged the Athenian people to ravage the territory of the Spartans, and he promised that by taking one thousand hoplites aboard the triremes he would with them lay waste Laconia and dim the fame of the Spartans. When the Athenians acceded to his request, he then, wishing to take with him secretly a larger number of hoplites, had recourse to the following cunning subterfuge. The citizens thought that he would enrol for the force the young men in the prime of youth and most vigorous in body; but Tolmides, determined to take with him in the campaign not merely the stipulated one thousand, approached every young man of exceptional hardihood and told him that he was going to enrol him; it would be better, however, he added, for him to go as a volunteer than be thought to have been compelled to serve under compulsion by enrolment. When by this scheme he had persuaded more than three thousand to enrol voluntarily and saw that the rest of the youth showed no further interest, he then enrolled the thousand he had been promised from all who were left. When all the other preparations for his expedition had been made, Tolmides set out to sea with fifty triremes and four thousand hoplites, and putting in at Methone in Laconia, he took the place; and when the Lacedaemonians came to defend it, he withdrew, and cruising along the cost to Gytheium, which was a seaport of the Lacedaemonians, he seized it, burned the city and also the dockyards of the Lacedaemonians, and ravaged its territory.
This extract is from: Diodorus Siculus, Library (ed. C. H. Oldfather, 1989). Cited Apr 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
- Perseus: Diodorus Siculus, Library (ed. C. H. Oldfather, 1989).
By Epaminondas, in 371 B.C.
And wherever the Thebans encamped they at once threw down in front of their lines the greatest possible quantity of the trees which they cut down, and in this way guarded themselves; the Arcadians, however, did nothing of this sort, but left their camp behind them and turned their attention to plundering the houses. After this, on the third or fourth day of the invasion, the horsemen advanced to the race-course in the sanctuary of Poseidon Gaeaochus by divisions, the Thebans in full force, the Eleans, and all the horsemen who were there of the Phocians, Thessalians, or Locrians. And the horsemen of the Lacedaemonians, seemingly very few in number, were formed in line against them. Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians had set an ambush of the younger hoplites, about three hundred in number, in the house of the Tyndaridae, and at the same moment these men rushed forth and their horsemen charged. The enemy, however, did not await their attack, but gave way. And on seeing this, many of the foot-soldiers also took to flight. But when the pursuers stopped and the army of the Thebans stood firm, the enemy encamped again. It now seemed somewhat more certain that they would make no further attempt upon the city; and in fact their army departed thence and took the road toward Helos and Gytheium. And they burned such of the towns as were unwalled and made a three days' attack upon Gytheium, where the Lacedaemonians had their dockyards. There were some of the Perioeci also who not only joined in this attack, but did regular service with the troops that followed the Thebans.
This extract is from: Xenophon, Hellenica. Cited Apr 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlink
A few days after the sea-fight, Philopoemen and his band, waiting for a moonless night, burnt down the camp of the Lacedaemonians at Gythium. Thereupon Nabis caught Philopoemen himself and the Arcadians with him in a disadvantageous position. The Arcadians, though few in number, were good soldiers, and Philopoemen, by changing the order of his line of retreat, caused the strongest positions to be to his advantage and not to that of his enemy. He overcame Nabis in the battle and massacred during the night many of the Lacedaemonians, so raising yet higher his reputation among the Greeks. After this Nabis secured from the Romans a truce for a fixed period, but died before this period came to an end, being assassinated by a man of Calydon, who pretended that he had come about an alliance, but was in reality an enemy who had been sent for this very purpose of assassination by the Aetolians.
This extract is from: Pausanias. Description of Greece (ed. W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., & H.A. Ormerod, 1918). Cited Apr 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
- Perseus: Pausanias, Description of Greece, Arcadia
By the Romans, in 195 B.C.