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.

Under pretext of keeping all their neighbors in order, the Spartans were always under arms, and on one occasion even forced their way into the city of Thebes. The Thebans, who did not expect them, were not ready to make war, and were in holiday dress.