After nine years of banishment these exiles returned, and the result was an oligarchical reaction in the chief cities of Boeotia. To recover these prisoners the Athenians consented to evacuate Boeotia, and by this surrender they lost their hold on central Greece, as far as Thermopylae.
In Boeotia for instance Rome had, if not to instigate, at least to permit, a political murder, because the Romans had resolved to withdraw their troops from Greece and, consequently, could not prevent the Greeks friendly to Rome from seeking their remedy in the usual manner of the country. But Rome herself also suffered from the effects of this indecision.
And this is what Agesilaus was much blamed for, a long time after; it being thought, that, by his continual incursions into Boeotia, he made the Thebans a match for the Lacedaemonians; and therefore Antalcidas, seeing him wounded one day, said to him, that he was very well paid for taking such pains to make the Thebans good soldiers, whether they would or no.
Animal paintings of this order are found scattered over the Greek world with special centres or schools in such places as Cyprus, Boeotia, or Chalcis. The very name for a painter in Greek, zoographos, recalls the attention paid to living forms.
But now the Lacedaemonians invading Boeotia with a great army, the Athenians, affrighted at the danger, declared themselves no allies to Thebes, and prosecuting those that stood for the Boeotian interest, executed some, and banished and fined others: and the cause of Thebes, destitute of allies, seemed in a desperate condition.
Nearly three hundred were found to prefer surrender to death; these were conveyed to Athens and were an invaluable asset for bargaining a future peace. A further success was the capture of Nisaea, the port of Megara, in 424, but an attempt to propagate democracy in Boeotia ended in a severe defeat at Delium; the fate of Plataea was a bad advertisement in an oligarchically governed district.
That the poetry which penetrated Hellenic life was not wanting in Boeotia we have proof enough in the existence of the Sacred Band, that goodly fellowship of friends which seems to have united what Hallam has called the three strongest motives to enthusiastic action that have appeared in history, patriotism, chivalric honour, and religion.
Would a battle lost in Boeotia be so fatal to Athens as one lost in our own territory and under our own walls? Phocion. You may remember that when you were eagerly urging this argument I desired you to consider, not where we should fight, but how we should be conquerors; for, if we were vanquished, all sorts of evils and dangers would be instantly at our gates. Aristides.
It was not safe at Olynthus to advocate Philip's cause, without the Olynthian people sharing the benefit by possession of Potidaea. It was not safe to advocate Philip's cause in Thessaly, without the people of Thessaly sharing the benefit, by Philip's expelling their tyrants and restoring the Pylaean Synod. It was not safe at Thebes, until he restored Boeotia to them, and destroyed the Phocians.
A resolution was then proposed, by Dicaearchus of Plataea, for forming a treaty of friendship with the Roman people, which was read; and no one daring to offer any opposition, it was received and passed by the suffrages of all the states of Boeotia. When the assembly broke up, Quinctius made no longer stay at Thebes than the sudden accident to Attalus made necessary.