It is not sufficient that I succeed—all others must fail. — Ghengis Khan

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




The Theban Friends

Although all the Greek cities were to be free by the treaty of Antalcidas, the Spartans kept the Messenians under their sway; and, as they were still the most powerful people in Greece, they saw that the other cities did not infringe upon their rights in any way.

Under pretext of keeping all their neighbors in order, the Spartans were always under arms, and on one occasion even forced their way into the city of Thebes. The Thebans, who did not expect them, were not ready to make war, and were in holiday dress.

They were all in the temple, celebrating the festival of Demeter, the harvest goddess; and when the Spartans came thus upon them, they were forced to yield without striking a single blow, as they had no weapons at hand.

The Spartans were so afraid lest the best and richest citizens should try to make the people revolt, that they exiled them all from Thebes, allowing none but the poor and insignificant to remain.

To keep possession of the city which they had won by this trick, the Spartans put three thousand of their best warriors in the citadel, with orders to defend and hold it at any price.

Among the exiled Thebans there was a noble and wealthy man called Pelopidas. He had been sorely wounded in a battle some time before, and would have died had he not been saved by a fellow-citizen named Epaminondas, who risked his own life in the rescue.

This man, too, was of noble birth, and was said to be a descendant of the men who had sprung from the dragon teeth sown by Cadmus, the founder of Thebes. Epaminondas however, was very poor; and wealth had no charms for him, for he was a disciple of Pythagoras, a philosopher who was almost as celebrated as Socrates.

Now, although Epaminondas was poor, quiet, and studious, and Pelopidas was particularly fond of noise and bustle, they became great friends and almost inseparable companions. Pelopidas, seeing how good and generous a man his friend was, did all he could to be like him, and even gave up all his luxurious ways to live plainly too.

He therefore had plenty of money to spare, and this he spent very freely for the good of the poor. When his former friends asked why he no longer cared for his riches, he pointed to a poor cripple near by, and said that money was of importance only to unhappy men like that one, who could do nothing for themselves.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province