From thence they fought their way through the country of the Taochi and Chalybes. They next reached the country of the Scythini, in whose territory they found abundance in a large and populous city called Gymnias. The chief of this place having engaged to conduct them within sight of the Euxine, they proceeded for five days under his guidance; when, after ascending a mountain, the sea suddenly burst on the view of the vanguard. The men proclaimed their joy by loud shouts of "The sea! the sea!" The rest of the army hurried to the summit, and gave vent to their joy and exultation in tears and mutual embraces. A few days' march through the country of the Macrones and Colchians at length brought them to the objects for which they had so often pined, and which many at one time had never hoped to see again --a Grecian city and the sea. By the inhabitants of Trapezus or Trebizond, on the Euxine, where they had now arrived, they were hospitably received, and, being cantoned in some Colchian villages near the town, refreshed themselves after the hardships they had undergone by a repose of thirty days.
The most difficult part of the return of the Ten Thousand was now accomplished, and it is unnecessary to trace the remainder of their route. After many adventures they succeeded in reaching Byzantium, and they subsequently engaged to serve the Lacedaemonians in a war which Sparta had just declared against the satraps Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus.
In the spring of B.C. 399, Thimbron, the Lacedaemonian commander, arrived at Pergamus, and the remainder of the Ten Thousand Greeks became incorporated with his army. Xenophon now returned to Athens, where he must have arrived shortly after the execution of his master Socrates. Disgusted probably by that event, he rejoined his old comrades in Asia, and subsequently returned to Greece along with Agesilaus.
THE SUPREMACY OF SPARTA, B.C. 404-371.
After the fall of Athens, Sparta stood without a rival in Greece. In the various cities which had belonged to the Athenian empire Lysander established an oligarchical Council of Ten, called a DECARCHY or Decemvirate, subject to the control of a Spartan HARMOST or governor. The Decarchies, however, remained only a short time in power, since the Spartan government regarded them with jealousy as the partisans of Lysander; but harmosts continued to be placed in every state subject to their empire. The government of the harmosts was corrupt and oppressive; no justice could be obtained against them by an appeal to the Spartan authorities at home; and the Grecian cities soon had cause to regret the milder and more equitable sway of Athens.
On the death of Agis in B.C. 398, his half-brother Agesilaus was appointed King, to the exclusion of Leotychides, the son of Agis. This was mainly effected by the powerful influence of Lysander, who erroneously considered Agesilaus to be of a yielding and manageable disposition and hoped by a skilful use of those qualities to extend his own influence, and under the name of another to be in reality king himself.
Agesilaus was now forty years of age, and esteemed a model of those virtues more peculiarly deemed Spartan. He was obedient to the constituted authorities, emulous to excel, courageous, energetic, capable of bearing all sorts of hardship and fatigue, simple and frugal in his mode of life. To these severer qualities he added the popular attractions of an agreeable countenance and pleasing address. His personal defects at first stood in the way of his promotion. He was not only low in stature, but also lame of one leg; and there was an ancient oracle which warned the Spartans to beware of "a lame reign." The ingenuity of Lysander, assisted probably by the popular qualities of Agesilaus, contrived to overcome this objection by interpreting a lame reign to mean not any bodily defect in the king, but the reign of one who was not a genuine descendant of Hercules. Once possessed of power, Agesilaus supplied any defect in his title by the prudence and policy of his conduct; and, by the marked deference which he paid both to the Ephors and the senators, he succeeded in gaining for himself more real power than had been enjoyed by any of his predecessors.
The affairs of Asia Minor soon began to draw the attention of Agesilaus to that quarter. The assistance lent to Cyrus by the Spartans was no secret at the Persian court; and Tissaphernes, who had been rewarded for his fidelity with the satrapy of Cyrus in addition to his own, no sooner returned to his government than he attacked the Ionian cities, then under the protection of Sparta. A considerable Lacedaemonian force under Thimbron was despatched to their assistance, and which, as related in the preceding chapter, was joined by the remnant of the Greeks who had served under Cyrus. Thimbron, however, proved so inefficient a commander, that he was superseded at the end of 399 or beginning of 398 B.C., and Dercyllidas appointed in his place. But though at first successful against Pharnabazus in AEolis, Dercyllidas was subsequently surprised in Caria in such an unfavourable position that he would have suffered severely but for the timidity of Tissaphernes, who was afraid to venture upon an action. Under these circumstances an armistice was agreed to for the purpose of treating for a peace (397 B.C.).