Agesilaus, on his arrival at Sparta, was received with the most lively demonstrations of gratitude and esteem, and became hence- forward the sole director of Spartan policy.
Thus in less than two months the Lacedaemonians had fought two battles on land, and one at sea; namely, those of Corinth, Coronea, and Cnidus. But, though they had been victorious in the land engagements, they were so little decisive as to lead to no important result; whilst their defeat at Cnidus produced the most disastrous consequences. It was followed by the loss of nearly all their maritime empire, even faster than they had acquired it after the battle of AEgospotami. For as Conon and Pharnabazus sailed with their victorious fleet from island to island, and from port to port, their approach was everywhere the signal for the flight or expulsion of the Spartan harmosts.
In the spring of the following year (B.C. 393) Conon and Pharnabazus sailed to the isthmus of Corinth, then occupied as a central post by the allies. The appearance of a Persian fleet in the Saronic gulf was a strange sight to Grecian eyes, and one which might have served as a severe comment on the effect of their suicidal wars. Conon dexterously availed himself of the hatred of Pharnabazus towards Sparta to procure a boon for his native city. As the satrap was on the point of proceeding homewards, Conon obtained leave to employ the seamen in rebuilding the fortifications of Piraeus and the long walls of Athens. Pharnabazus also granted a large sum for the same purpose; and Conon had thus the glory of appearing, like a second Themistocles, the deliverer and restorer of his country. Before the end of autumn the walls were rebuilt. Having thus, as it were, founded Athens a second time, Conon sailed to the islands to lay again the foundations of an Athenian maritime empire.
During the remainder of this and the whole of the following year (B.C. 392) the war was carried on in the Corinthian territory.
One of the most important events at this time was the destruction of a whole Lacedaemonian MORA, or battalion, by the light-armed mercenaries of the Athenian Iphicrates. For the preceding two years Iphicrates had commanded a body of mercenaries, consisting of peltasts, [So called from the pelta, or kind of shield which they carried.] who had been first organised by Conon after rebuilding the walls of Athens. For this force Iphicrates introduced those improved arms and tactics which form an epoch in the Grecian art of war. His object was to combine as far as possible the peculiar advantages of the hoplites and light-armed troops. He substituted a linen corslet for the coat of mail worn by the hoplites, and lessened the shield, while he rendered the light javelin and short sword of the peltasts more effective by lengthening them both one-half These troops soon proved very effective. After gaining several victories he ventured to make a sally from Corinth, and attacked a Lacedaemonian mora in flank and rear. So many fell under the darts and arrows of the peltasts that the Lacedaemonian captain called a halt, and ordered the youngest and most active of his hoplites to rush forward and drive off the assailants. But their heavy arms rendered them quite unequal to such a mode of fighting; nor did the Lacedaemonian cavalry, which now came up, but which acted with very little vigour and courage, produce any better effect. At length the Lacedaemonians succeeded in reaching an eminence, where they endeavoured to make a stand; but at this moment Callias arrived with some Athenian hoplites from Corinth, whereupon the already disheartened Lacedaemonians broke and fled in confusion, pursued by the peltasts, who committed such havoc, chasing and killing some of them even in the sea, that but very few of the whole body succeeded in effecting their escape.
The maritime war was prosecuted with vigour. Thrasybulus, and after his death Iphicrates, were successful upon the coast of Asia Minor, and made the Athenians again masters of the Hellespont. Under these circumstances the Lacedaemonians resolved to spare no efforts to regain the good will of the Persians. Antalcidas, the Lacedaemonian commander on the Asiatic coast, entered into negotiations with Tiribazus, who had succeeded Tithraustes in the satrapy of Ionia, in order to bring about a general peace under the mediation of Persia. Conducted by Tiribazus, Antalcidas repaired to the Persian court, and prevailed an the Persian monarch both to adopt the peace, and to declare war against those who should reject it. Antalcidas and Tiribazus returned to the coasts of Asia Minor, not only armed with these powers, but provided with an ample force to carry them into execution. In addition to the entire fleet of Persia, Dionysius of Syracuse had placed 20 triremes at the service of the Lacedaemonians; and Antalcidas now sailed with a large fleet to the Hellespont, where Iphicrates and the Athenians were still predominant. The overwhelming force of Antalcidas, the largest that had been seen in the Hellespont since the battle of AEgospotami, rendered all resistance hopeless. The supplies of corn from the Euxine no longer found their way to Athens: and the Athenians, depressed at once both by what they felt and by what they anticipated, began to long for peace. As without the assistance of Athens it seemed hopeless for the other allies to struggle against Sparta, all Greece was inclined to listen to an accommodation.
Under these circumstances deputies from the Grecian states were summoned to meet Tiribazus; who, after exhibiting to them the royal seal of Persia, read to them the following terms of a peace: "King Artaxerxes thinks it just that the cities in Asia and the islands of Clazomenae and Cyprus should belong to him. He also thinks it just to leave all the other Grecian cities, both small and great, independent--except Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros, which are to belong to Athens, as of old. should any parties refuse to accept this peace, I will make war upon them, along with those who are of the same mind, both by land and sea, with ships and with money." All the Grecian states accepted these terms.
This disgraceful peace, called the PEACE OF ANTALCIDAS, was concluded in the year B.C. 387. By it Greece seemed prostrated at the feet of the barbarians; for its very terms, engraven on stone and set up in the sanctuaries of Greece, recognised the Persian king as the arbiter of her destinies. Although Athens cannot be entirely exonerated from the blame of this transaction, the chief guilt rests upon Sparta, whose designs were far deeper and more hypocritical than they appeared. Under the specious pretext of securing the independence of the Grecian cities, her only object was to break up the confederacies under Athens and Thebes, and, with the assistance of Persia, to pave the way for her own absolute dominion in Greece.