The Story of the Greeks

Page: 84

Pharnabazus." title="Agesilaus and Pharnabazus." /> Agesilaus and Pharnabazus.

A few moments later the Persian general arrived in rich attire, attended by fan and parasol bearer, and by servants bringing carpets for him to sit upon, cooling drinks to refresh him, and delicate dishes to tempt his appetite.

At first Pharnabazus fancied that a tramp was camping under the tree; but when he discovered that this plain little man was really Agesilaus, King of Sparta, and the winner of so many battles, he was ashamed of his pomp, sent away his attendants, and sat down on the ground beside the king.

They now began an important talk, and Pharnabazus was filled with admiration when he heard the short but noble answers which Agesilaus had for all his questions. He was so impressed by the Spartan king, that he shook hands with him when the interview was ended.

Agesilaus was equally pleased with Pharnabazus, and told him that he should be proud to call him friend. He invited him to leave his master, and come and live in Greece, where all noble men were free.

Pharnabazus did not accept this invitation, but renewed the war, whereupon Agesilaus again won several important victories. When the Persian king heard that all his soldiers could not get the better of the Spartan king, he resolved to try the effect of bribery.

He therefore sent a messenger to Athens to promise this city and her allies a very large sum of money provided that they would rise up in revolt against Sparta, and thus force Agesilaus to come home.[Pg 189]


The Athenians hated the Spartans, and were only waiting for an excuse to make war against them: so they were only too glad to accept the bribe which Artaxerxes offered, and were paid with ten thousand Persian coins on which was stamped the figure of an archer.

As soon as the Spartan ephors heard that the Athenians had revolted, they sent a message to Agesilaus to tell him to come home. The Spartan king was about to deal a crushing blow to the Persians, but he was forced to obey the summons. As he embarked he dryly said, "I could easily have beaten the whole Persian army, and still ten thousand Persian archers have forced me to give up all my plans."

The Thebans joined the Athenians in this revolt, so Agesilaus was very indignant against them too. He energetically prepared for war, and met the combined Athenian and Theban forces at Coronea, where he defeated them completely.

The Athenians, in the mean while, had made their alliance with the Persians, and used the money which they had received to strengthen their ramparts, as you have seen, and to finish the Long Walls, which had been ruined by the Spartans ten years before.

All the Greek states were soon in arms, siding with the Athenians or with the Spartans; and the contest continued until everybody was weary of fighting. There was, besides, much jealousy among the people themselves, and even the laurels of Agesilaus were envied.[Pg 190]

The person who was most opposed to him was the Spartan An-tal´ci-das, who, fearing that further warfare would only result in increasing Agesilaus' popularity and glory, now began to advise peace. As the Greeks were tired of the long struggle, they sent Antalcidas to Asia to try to make a treaty with the Persians.

Without thinking of anything but his hatred of Agesilaus, Antalcidas consented to all that the Persians asked, and finally signed a shameful treaty, by which all the Greek cities of Asia Minor and the Island of Cy´prus were handed over to the Persian king. The other Greek cities were declared independent, and thus Sparta was shorn of much of her power. This treaty was a disgrace, and it has always been known in history by the name of the man who signed it out of petty spite.


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.