The Story of the Greeks
Page: 83He was not, however, tall and strong, like most of his fellow-citizens, but puny and very lame. His small size and bad health had not lessened his courage, however, and he was always ready to plan a new campaign or to lead his men off to war.
When it became known that Artaxerxes was about to march against the Greek cities in Ionia, to punish them for upholding his brother Cyrus, and for sending him the ten thousand soldiers who had beat such a masterly retreat, Agesilaus made up his mind to go and help them.[Pg 186]
There was no prospect of fighting at home just then, so the Spartan warriors were only too glad to follow their king to Asia. Agesilaus had no sooner landed in Asia Minor, than the Greek cities there gave him command over their army, bidding him defend them from the wrath of Artaxerxes.
Now, although the Persian host, as usual, far outnumbered the Greek army, Agesilaus won several victories over his enemies, who were amazed that such a small and insignificant-looking man should be at the same time a king and a great general.
They were accustomed to so much pomp and ceremony, and always saw their own king so richly dressed, that it seemed very queer to them to see Agesilaus going about in the same garments as his men, and himself leading them in battle.
We are told that Agesilaus was once asked to meet the Persian general Phar-na-ba´zus, to have a talk or conference with him,—a thing which often took place between generals of different armies.
The meeting was set for a certain day and hour, under a large tree, and it was agreed that both generals should come under the escort of their personal attendants only.
Agesilaus, plainly clad as usual, came first to the meeting place, and, sitting down upon the grass under[Pg 187] the tree, he began to eat his usual noonday meal of bread and onions.