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Encyclopedia > Epaminondas
Epaminondas
c. 418 BC – 362 BC

Epaminondas
Allegiance Thebes
Battles/wars Battle of Leuctra
For information about the modern board game of the same name, see Epaminondas (game). For the children's book character, see Epaminondas and His Auntie.

Epaminondas (Greek: Ἐπαμεινώνδας) (c. 418 BC–362 BC) was a Theban general and statesman of the 4th century BC who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics. In the process he broke Spartan military power with his victory at Leuctra and liberated the Messenian helots, a group of Peloponnesian Greeks who had been enslaved under Spartan rule for some 200 years. Epaminondas reshaped the political map of Greece, fragmented old alliances, created new ones, and supervised the construction of entire cities. He was militarily influential as well, inventing and implementing several major battlefield tactics. Image File history File links Epam1. ... Thebes (in Demotic Greek: Θήβα — Thíva, Katharevousa: — ThÄ“bai or Thívai) is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. ... Combatants Thebes Sparta Commanders Epaminondas Cleombrotus I † Strength 6,000–7,000 10,000–11,000 Casualties Unknown About 2,000 {{{notes}}} Leuctra was a vildlage of Boeotia in the territory of Thespiae, chiefly noticeable for the battle fought in its neighborhood in 371 BC between the Thebans and the... Epaminondas is an abstract strategy board game invented by Robert Abbott and originally introduced in Sid Sacksons A Gamut of Games as Crossings. ... Epaminondas and his Auntie is a book for young children written by Sara Cone Bryant and illustrated by Inez Hogan. ... Thebes (in Demotic Greek: Θήβα — Thíva, Katharevousa: — ThÄ“bai or Thívai) is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. ... A General is an officer of high military rank. ... The Ancient Greek world, circa 550 BC Ancient Greece is the period in Greek history which lasted for around one thousand years and ended with the rise of Christianity. ... A polis (πολις) — plural: poleis (πολεις) — is a city, or a city-state. ... Sparta (Doric: , Attic: ) is a city in southern Greece. ... Combatants Thebes Sparta Commanders Epaminondas Cleombrotus I † Strength 6,000–7,000 10,000–11,000 Casualties Unknown About 2,000 {{{notes}}} Leuctra was a vildlage of Boeotia in the territory of Thespiae, chiefly noticeable for the battle fought in its neighborhood in 371 BC between the Thebans and the... Messenia (Greek: , in Modern Greek Messinia; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a prefecture in the Peloponnese, a region of Greece. ... Helots were Peloponnesian Greeks who were enslaved under Spartan rule. ... Peloponnesos (Greek: Πελοπόννησος, sometime Latinized as Peloponnesus or Anglicized as The Peloponnese) is a large peninsula in Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Isthmus of Corinth. ...


The Roman orator Cicero called him "the first man of Greece", but Epaminondas has fallen into relative obscurity in modern times. The changes Epaminondas wrought on the Greek political order did not long outlive him, as the cycle of shifting hegemonies and alliances continued unabated. A mere 27 years after his death, a recalcitrant Thebes was obliterated by Alexander the Great. Thus Epaminondas—who had been praised in his time as an idealist and liberator—is today largely remembered for a decade (371 to 362 BC) of campaigning that sapped the strength of the great land powers of Greece and paved the way for the Macedonian conquest. The Roman Forum was the central area around which ancient Rome developed. ... Orator is a Latin word for speaker (from the Latin verb oro, meaning I speak or I pray). In ancient Rome, the art of speaking in public (Ars Oratoria) was a professional competence especially cultivated by politicians and lawyers. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of, if not the most successful military commanders in history. ...

Contents

Historical record

Although Epaminondas was a historically significant figure of his time there is comparatively little information about his life available to modern scholars, and no one ancient historian gives a complete picture. Some of the notable biographies include works by Nepos, Pausanias, Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus and Xenophon; not all of them have survived to the present day.


Cornelius Nepos's biography of Epaminondas was short, and a few more scraps of information can be found in Pausanias's Description of Greece. Plutarch wrote a biography, but it has been lost; however, some details of Epaminondas' life and works may be found in Plutarch's Lives of Pelopidas and Agesilaus. Within the narrative histories of the time, Diodorus Siculus preserves a few details, while Xenophon, who idolized Sparta and its king Agesilaus, avoids mentioning Epaminondas wherever possible and does not even note his presence at the Battle of Leuctra. Both narrative historians do provide details about the historical events of Epaminondas' time. Furthermore, not all of the ancient sources that deal directly with his life are considered entirely reliable. These issues may have contributed to a modern situation in which Epaminondas is virtually unknown, particularly in comparison to near-contemporaries like the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great and the Athenian general Alcibiades.[1] Cornelius Nepos (c. ... Pausanias (Greek: ) was a Greek traveller and geographer of the 2nd century A.D., who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. ... Mestrius Plutarchus (c. ... Diodorus Siculus (c. ... Xenophon, Greek historian Xenophon (In Greek , c. ... Agesilaus II, or Agesilaos II, king of Sparta, of the Eurypontid family, was the son of Archidamus II and Eupolia, and younger step-brother of Agis II, whom he succeeded about 401 BC. Agis had, indeed, a son Leotychides, but he was set aside as illegitimate, current rumour representing him... Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of, if not the most successful military commanders in history. ... Alcibiades Alcibiades Cleiniou Scambonides (also Alkibiades) (Greek: Αλκιβιάδης Κλεινίου Σκαμβωνίδης)¹ (c. ...


Youth, education and personal life

Epaminondas' father Polymnis was an impoverished scion of an old Theban noble family. Nonetheless, Epaminondas received an excellent education; his musical teachers were among the best in their disciplines, as was his dance instructor. Most notably, his philosophy instructor Lysis of Tarentum (who had come to live with Polymnis in his exile) was one of the last major Pythagorean philosophers. Epaminondas was devoted to Lysis and was noted for his excellence in philosophical studies. Lysis of Tarentum (died ca. ... The Pythagoreans were a Hellenic organization of astronomers, musicians, mathematicians, and philosophers who believed that all things are, essentially, numeric. ...

Epaminondas saving Pelopidas at Mantinea.
Epaminondas saving Pelopidas at Mantinea.

Not merely an academic, Epaminondas was noted for his physical prowess, and in his youth he devoted much time to strengthening and preparing himself for combat. In 385 BC in a skirmish near the city of Mantinea, Epaminondas, at great risk to his own life, saved the life of his future colleague Pelopidas, an act thought to have cemented the life-long friendship between the two. Throughout his career he would continue to be noted for his tactical skill and his marked capacity for hand-to-hand combat. Image File history File links Epaminondas1. ... Image File history File links Epaminondas1. ... Mantinea is a city in the central Peloponnese that was the site of two significant battles in Classical Greek history. ... Pelopidas (d. ...


Epaminondas never married and as such was subject to criticism from countrymen who believed he was duty-bound to provide the country with the benefit of sons as great as himself. In response Epaminondas said that his victory at Leuctra was a daughter destined to live forever. He is known, however, to have had several young male lovers, a standard pedagogic practice in ancient Greece, and one that Thebes in particular was famous for; Plutarch records that the Theban lawgivers instituted the practice "to temper the manners and characters of the youth."[2] An anecdote told by Cornelius Nepos indicates that Epaminondas was intimate with a young man by the name of Micythus. Plutarch also mentions two of his beloveds (eromenoi): Asopichus, who fought together with him at the battle of Leuctra, where he greatly distinguished himself;[3] and Caphisodorus, who fell with Epaminondas at Mantineia and was buried by his side. [4]. Pederastic courtship scene Athenian black-figure amphora, 5th c. ... Cornelius Nepos (c. ... In the pederastic tradition of Classical Athens, the eromenos (Greek ἐρόμενος, pl. ...


Epaminondas lived his entire life in near-poverty, refusing to enrich himself by taking advantage of his political power. Cornelius Nepos notes his incorruptibility, describing his rejection of a Persian ambassador who came to him with a bribe. In the tradition of the Pythagoreans, he gave freely to his friends and encouraged them to do likewise with each other. These aspects of his character contributed greatly to his renown after his death.[5] Cornelius Nepos (c. ... The Persepolis Ruins The Achaemenid dynasty (Old Persian:Hakamanishiya, Persian: هخامنشیان) - was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire. ... Bribery is the practice of offering a professional money or other favours in order to circumvent ethics in a variety of professions. ...


Early career

Epaminondas lived at a particularly turbulent point in Greek and Theban history. Following the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC, Sparta had embarked upon an aggressively unilateralist policy towards the rest of Greece and quickly alienated many of its former allies. Thebes, meanwhile, had greatly increased its own power during the war and sought to gain control of the other cities of Boeotia (the region of ancient Greece northwest of Attica). This policy, along with other disputes, brought Thebes into conflict with Sparta. By 395 BC Thebes, alongside Athens, Corinth, and Argos, found itself arrayed against Sparta (a former ally) in the Corinthian War. That war, which dragged on inconclusively for eight years, saw several bloody Theban defeats at Spartan hands. By the time of its conclusion, Thebes had been forced to check its expansionist ambitions and return to its old alliance with Sparta. Combatants Delian League led by Athens Peloponnesian League led by Sparta Commanders Pericles Cleon Nicias Alcibiades Archidamus II Brasidas Lysander The Peloponnesian War (431 BC–404 BC) was an Ancient Greek military conflict fought by Athens and its empire and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. ... Unilateralism is an antonym for multilateralism. ... Two important places in antiquity were called Thebes: Thebes, Greece – Thebes of the Seven Gates; one-time capital of Boeotia. ... Boeotia or Beotia (//, (Greek Βοιωτια; see also list of traditional Greek place names) was the central area of ancient Greece. ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα, Athína IPA: ) is the capital and largest city of Greece and the birthplace of democracy. ... Corinth, or Korinth (Greek: Κόρινθος, Kórinthos; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a Greek city-state, on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece. ... Argos (Greek: Άργος, Árgos, IPA argos) is a city in Greece in the Peloponnese near Nafplio, which was its historic harbor, named for Nauplius. ... Combatants Sparta, Peloponnesian League Athens, Argos, Corinth, Thebes, and other allies Commanders Agesilaus and others Numerous The Corinthian War (395 BC-387 BC) was an ancient Greek military conflict between Sparta and four allied states, Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos, which were initially backed by Persia. ...


In 382 BC, however, the Spartan commander Phoebidas made a strategic error that would soon turn Thebes against Sparta for good and pave the way for Epaminondas' rise to power. Passing through Boeotia on campaign, Phoebidas took advantage of civil strife within Thebes to secure entrance to the city for his troops. Once inside, he seized the Cadmea (the Theban acropolis), and forced the anti-Spartan party to flee the city. Epaminondas, although associated with that faction, was allowed to remain; he was believed to be nothing more than a harmless, impoverished philosopher.[6] Phoebidas was a Spartan general who, in 382 BC, seized the Theban acropolis, giving Sparta control over Thebes. ... Acropolis in Athens. ...


Theban coup

In the years following the Spartan takeover, the Thebans exiled by the new government regrouped at Athens and prepared, with the covert support of the Athenians, to retake their city. They communicated with Epaminondas, who began preparing young men inside Thebes for a coup attempt. In 379 BC a small group of exiles, led by Pelopidas, infiltrated the city and assassinated the leaders of the pro-Spartan government. Epaminondas and Gorgidas led a group of young men who broke into armories, took weapons, and surrounded the Spartans on the Cadmea, assisted by a force of Athenian hoplites (heavy infantry). In the Theban assembly the next day, Epaminondas and Gorgidas brought Pelopidas and his men before the audience and exhorted the Thebans to fight for their freedom. The assembly responded by acclaiming Pelopidas and his men as liberators. Fearing for their lives, the Spartan garrison surrendered and were evacuated. The Thebans of the pro-Spartan party were also allowed to surrender; they were subsequently killed by the victorious insurgents.[7] Gorgidas was a Theban military leader of the Sacred Band of Thebes, an elite corps of paired Theban homosexual lovers. ... A hoplite armed with a spear. ...


After the coup

When news of the uprising at Thebes reached Sparta, an army under Agesilaus was dispatched to subdue the restive city. The Thebans refused to meet the Spartan army in the field, instead occupying a stronghold outside the city; the Spartans ravaged the countryside but nonetheless departed, leaving Thebes independent.[8] In short order the Thebans were able to reconstitute their old Boeotian confederacy in a new, democratic form. The cities of Boeotia united as a federation with an executive body composed of seven generals, or Boeotarchs, elected from seven districts throughout Boeotia. This political fusion was so successful that henceforth the names Theban and Boeotian were used interchangeably in a nod to the newfound solidarity of the region. Agesilaus II, or Agesilaos II (Greek Ἀγησιλάος), king of Sparta, of the Eurypontid family, was the son of Archidamus II and Eupolia, and younger step-brother of Agis II, whom he succeeded about 401 BC. Agis had, indeed, a son Leotychides, but he was set aside as illegitimate, current rumour representing... Confederacy may refer to: A form of government, synonymous with confederation or alliance, formed as a union of political organizations, differing from a republic in that the separate political units retain sovereignty themselves; some examples follow: Confederate States of America (commonly called The Confederacy) Confederate Ireland of 1642-1649 Canadian... Democracy is a form of government under which the power to alter the laws and structures of government lies, ultimately, with the citizenry. ... Boeotarch was the title of the chief officers of the Boeotian Confederacy, founded in 379 BC after a rebellion freed the cities of Boeotia from Spartan dominance. ...


Seeking to squelch this new state, the Spartans invaded three times over the next seven years. At first fearing a head-to-head battle, the Boeotians eventually gained enough confidence to take the field and were able to fight the Spartans to a standstill. The advantage was furthered when, in 375 BC, an outnumbered force of Boeotians under Pelopidas cut their way through the heart of a Spartan phalanx during the Battle of Tegyra. Although Sparta remained the supreme land power in Greece, the Boeotians had demonstrated that they, too, were a martial threat and a politically cohesive power. At the same time, Pelopidas, an advocate of an aggressive policy against Sparta, had established himself as a major political leader in Thebes. In years to come, he would collaborate extensively with Epaminondas in designing Boeotian foreign policy.[9] A modern reconstruction of Greek hoplites forming a phalanx formation. ... At the Battle of Tegyra in 385 BC, a force of 300 Theban hoplites under Pelopidas cut their way through a larger Spartan force that had cut them off while they were marching back to Thebes. ...


371 BC

Peace conference of 371

No source states exactly when Epaminondas was first elected a Boeotarch, but by 371 BC he was in office and, the following year, leading the Boeotian delegation to a peace conference held at Sparta. A feeble attempt at a Common Peace had been made in 375, but desultory fighting between Athens and Sparta had resumed by 373 (at the latest). Thebes, meanwhile, was strengthening its confederation. By 371 Athens and Sparta were again war-weary, so a conference was called. There, Epaminondas caused a drastic break with Sparta when he insisted on signing not for the Thebans alone, but for all the Boeotians. Agesilaus refused to allow this, insisting that the cities of Boeotia should be independent; Epaminondas countered that if this were to be the case, the cities of Laconia should be as well. Irate, Agesilaus struck the Thebans from the document. The delegation returned to Thebes, and both sides marshaled for war.[10] Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 420s BC 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC - 370s BC - 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC 330s BC 320s BC 376 BC 375 BC 374 BC 373 BC 372 BC - 371 BC - 370 BC 369 BC 368... Common Peace (Κοινη Ειρηνη, or Koine Eirene) was the term used in ancient Greece for a peace treaty that simultaneously declared peace between all the combatants in a war. ... Agesilaus II, or Agesilaos II (Greek Ἀγησιλάος), king of Sparta, of the Eurypontid family, was the son of Archidamus II and Eupolia, and younger step-brother of Agis II, whom he succeeded about 401 BC. Agis had, indeed, a son Leotychides, but he was set aside as illegitimate, current rumour representing... Laconia (; see also List of traditional Greek place names), also known as Lacedaemonia, was in ancient Greece the portion of the Peloponnese of which the most important city was Sparta. ...


Leuctra

Main article: Battle of Leuctra
Top: Traditional hoplite order of battle and advance. Bottom: Epaminondas's strategy at Leuctra. The strong left wing advanced while the weak right wing retreated. The red blocks show the placement of the elite troops within each phalanx.
Top: Traditional hoplite order of battle and advance.
Bottom: Epaminondas's strategy at Leuctra. The strong left wing advanced while the weak right wing retreated. The red blocks show the placement of the elite troops within each phalanx.

Immediately following the failure of the peace talks, orders were sent out from Sparta to the Spartan king Cleombrotus, who was at the head of an army in the pastoral district of Phocis, commanding him to march directly to Boeotia. Skirting north to avoid mountain passes where the Boeotians were prepared to ambush him, Cleombrotus entered Boeotian territory from an unexpected direction and quickly seized a fort and captured several triremes. Marching towards Thebes, he camped at Leuctra, in the territory of Thespiae. Here, the Boeotian army came to meet him. The Spartan army contained some 10,000 hoplites, 700 of whom were the elite warriors known as Spartiates. The Boeotians opposite them numbered only 6,000, bolstered by a cavalry superior to that of the Peloponnesians.[11] Combatants Thebes Sparta Commanders Epaminondas Cleombrotus I † Strength 6,000–7,000 10,000–11,000 Casualties Unknown About 2,000 {{{notes}}} Leuctra was a vildlage of Boeotia in the territory of Thespiae, chiefly noticeable for the battle fought in its neighborhood in 371 BC between the Thebans and the... Image File history File links Leuctra. ... Image File history File links Leuctra. ... Cleombrotus (4?? BC-371 BC) was a Spartan King who ruled from 380 BC to 371 BC. Little is known of Cleombrtuss early life however he became king of Sparta after the death of his brother Aegisipolis II in 380 BC. Commanding the Spartan-Peloponesian army against the Thebans... Phocis (Greek, Modern: Φωκίδα, Ancient/Katharevousa: -s, also Phokida, Phokis) is an ancient district of central Greece. ... A Greek trireme Triremes (Greek Τριήρεις) are several different types of ancient warships. ... Leuctra was a village in ancient Greece, in Boetia, seven miles southwest of Thebes. ... Thespiae was an ancient Greek city in Boeotia. ... A hoplite armed with a spear. ... Spartiates were the elite warrior class of the rigidly hierarchical Spartan society. ...


In arranging his troops before the battle, Epaminondas utilized a strategy as yet unheard of in Greek warfare. Traditionally, a phalanx lined up for battle with the elite troops on the right flank—the "flank of honor." Thus, in the Spartan phalanx, Cleombrotus and his Spartiates were on the right, while the less experienced Peloponnesian allies were on the left. Needing to counter the Spartans' numerical advantage, Epaminondas implemented two tactical innovations. First, he and his Thebans lined up on the left, with the elite Sacred Band under Pelopidas on the extreme left flank. Second, recognizing that he could not extend his troops to match the width of the Peloponnesian phalanx without unacceptably thinning his line, he abandoned all attempt to match the Spartans in width. Instead, he deepened his phalanx on the left, making it fifty ranks deep instead of the conventional eight to twelve. When battle was joined, the strengthened flank was to march forward to attack at double speed, while the weaker flank was to retreat and delay combat. The tactic of the deep phalanx had been anticipated by Pagondas, another Theban general, who used a 25 man deep formation at the battle of Delium; the staggered line of attack, however, was a new innovation. Thus, Epaminondas had invented the military tactic of refusing one's flank.[12] The Sacred Band of Thebes (ancient Greek: Ιερός Λόχος τών Θηβών; ἱερὸς λόχος hieròs lókhos) was a troop of picked soldiers, numbering 150 pederastic couples, which formed the elite force of the Theban army in late-classical Greece. ... Pagondas (c. ... The Battle of Delium took place in 424 BC between the Athenians and the Boeotians, and ended with the siege of Delium in the following weeks. ...


The fighting opened with a cavalry encounter, in which the Thebans were victorious. The Spartan cavalry was driven back into the ranks of the phalanx, disrupting the order of the infantry. Seizing the advantage, the Boeotians pressed the attack. Cleombrotus was killed, and although the Spartans held on for long enough to rescue his body, their line was soon broken by the sheer force of the Theban assault. At a critical juncture, Pelopidas led the Sacred Band in an all-out assault, and the Spartans were soon forced to flee. The Peloponnesian allies, seeing the Spartans put to flight, also broke and ran, and the entire army retreated in disarray. Four thousand Peloponnesians were killed, while the Boeotians lost only 300 men. Most importantly, 400 of the 700 Spartiates on the scene were killed, a catastrophic loss that posed a serious threat to Sparta's future war-making abilities.


The 360s BC

Main article: Theban hegemony

The Theban Hegemony lasted from the Theban victory over the Spartans at Leuctra in 371 BC to their defeat of a coalition of Peloponnesian armies at Mantinea in 362 BC though Thebes sought to maintain its position until finally eclipsed by the rising power of Macedon in 346BC. Externally, the...

First Invasion of the Peloponnese

Ancient Greece.
Ancient Greece.

For about a year after the victory at Leuctra, Epaminondas occupied himself with consolidating the Boeotian confederacy, compelling the previously Spartan-aligned polis of Orchomenos to join the league. In late 370 BC, however, as the Spartans under Agesilaus attempted to discipline their newly restive ally Mantinea, Epaminondas decided to capitalize on his victory by invading the Peloponnese and shattering Sparta's power once and for all. Forcing his way past the fortifications on the isthmus of Corinth, he marched southward toward Sparta, with contingents from Sparta's erstwhile allies flocking to him along the way. Image File history File links Epammap. ... Image File history File links Epammap. ... A king in Greek mythology, Orchomenus was the father of Elara. ... Agesilaus II, or Agesilaos II, king of Sparta, of the Eurypontid family, was the son of Archidamus II and Eupolia, and younger step-brother of Agis II, whom he succeeded about 401 BC. Agis had, indeed, a son Leotychides, but he was set aside as illegitimate, current rumour representing him... Mantinea is a city in the central Peloponnese that was the site of two significant battles in Classical Greek history. ... The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow landbridge which connects the Peloponnesos peninsula with the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. ...


In Arcadia he drove off the Spartan army threatening Mantinea, then supervised the founding of the new city of Megalopolis and the formation of an Arcadian League, modeled on the Boeotian confederacy. Moving south, he crossed the Evrotas River—the frontier of Sparta—which no hostile army had breached in historical memory. The Spartans, unwilling to engage the massive army in battle, lingered inside their city while the Thebans and their allies ravaged Laconia. Epaminondas briefly returned to Arcadia, then marched south again, this time to Messenia, a territory which the Spartans had conquered some 200 years before. There, Epaminondas rebuilt the ancient city of Messene on Mount Ithome, with fortifications that were among the strongest in Greece. He then issued a call to Messenian exiles all over Greece to return and rebuild their homeland. The loss of Messenia was particularly damaging to the Spartans, since the territory comprised one-third of Sparta's territory and contained half of their helot population. Ancient Megalopolis, or now Megalópoli (Μεγαλοπολη) is a town in the western part of the prefecture of Arcadia. ... The Arcadian League was a federal league of city-states in ancient Greece. ... The Evrótas (Greek: Ευρώτας) is a river in the Peloponnese in southern Greece. ... Laconia (; see also List of traditional Greek place names), also known as Lacedaemonia, was in ancient Greece the portion of the Peloponnese of which the most important city was Sparta. ... Messenia (Greek: , in Modern Greek Messinia; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a prefecture in the Peloponnese, a region of Greece. ... Messene (Greek: Μεσσήνη Messínî or Messénê ) was an ancient Greek city, the capital of Messenia (until the modern prefecture was created). ... Mount Ithome was is a mountain in Messenia, in Greece. ... Helots were Peloponnesian Greeks who were enslaved under Spartan rule. ...


In mere months, Epaminondas had created two new enemy states that opposed Sparta, shaken the foundations of Sparta's economy, and all but devastated Sparta's prestige. This accomplished, he led his army back home, victorious.[13]


Trial

Upon his return home, Epaminondas was greeted not with a hero's welcome but with a trial arranged by his political enemies. The charge—that he had retained his command longer than constitutionally permitted—was indisputably true; in order to accomplish all that he wished in the Pelopponese, Epaminondas had persuaded his fellow Boeotarchs to remain in the field for several months after their term of office had expired. In his defense Epaminondas merely requested that, if he be executed, the inscription regarding the verdict read:

Epaminondas was punished by the Thebans with death, because he obliged them to overthrow the Lacedaemonians at Leuctra, whom, before he was general, none of the Boeotians durst look upon in the field, and because he not only, by one battle, rescued Thebes from destruction, but also secured liberty for all Greece, and brought the power of both people to such a condition, that the Thebans attacked Sparta, and the Lacedaemonians were content if they could save their lives; nor did he cease to prosecute the war, till, after settling Messene, he shut up Sparta with a close siege.[14]

The jury broke into laughter, the charges were dropped, and Epaminondas was reelected as Boeotarch for the next year.


Later campaigns

In 369 BC Epaminondas again invaded the Peloponnese, but this time achieved little beyond winning Sicyon over to an alliance with Thebes. When he returned to Thebes, he was again put on trial, and again acquitted. Sicyon was an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea. ...


Despite his achievements, he was out of office the next year, the only time from the battle of Leuctra until his death that this was the case.[15] In this year, he served as a common soldier while the army marched into Thessaly to rescue Pelopidas, who had been imprisoned by Alexander of Pherae while serving as an ambassador. The commanders who led this expedition were outmaneuvered and forced to retreat to save their army. Back in Thebes, Epaminondas was reinstated in command and led the army straight back into Thessaly, where he outmaneuvered the Thessalians and secured the release of Pelopidas without a fight.[16] Alexander, tagus or despot of Pherae in Thessaly, ruled from 369 BC to 358 BC. He was the son and successor of the tyrant Jason of Pherae, who was assassinated in 370 BC. Alexanders tyranny caused the Aleuadae of Larissa to invoke the aid of Alexander II of Macedon...


In 366 BC a common peace was drawn up in a conference at Thebes, but negotiations could not resolve the hostility between Thebes and other states that resented its influence. The peace was never fully accepted, and fighting soon resumed.[17] In the spring of that year, Epaminondas returned to the Peloponnese for a third time, seeking on this occasion to secure the allegiance of the states of Achaea. Although no army dared to challenge him in the field, the democratic governments he established there were short-lived, as pro-Spartan aristocrats soon returned to the cities, reestablished the oligarchies, and bound their cities ever more closely to Sparta.[18] Achaea (Greek: , Achaïa; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is an ancient province and a present prefecture of Greece, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese, stretching from the mountain ranges of Erymanthus and Cyllene on the south to a narrow strip of fertile land on the...


Throughout the decade after the Battle of Leuctra, numerous former allies of Thebes defected to the Spartan alliance or even to alliances with other hostile states. As early as 371, the Athenian assembly had reacted to the news of Leuctra with stony silence. Thessalian Pherae, a reliable ally during the 370s, similarly turned against its newly dominant ally in the years after that battle. By the middle of the next decade, even some Arcadians (whose league Epaminondas had established in 369) had turned against him. Only the Messenians remained firmly loyal. Pherae was an ancient Greek city in Thessaly. ...


Boeotian armies campaigned across Greece as opponents rose up on all sides; in 364 BC Epaminondas even led his state in a challenge to Athens at sea.[19] In that same year, Pelopidas was killed while campaigning against Alexander in Thessaly. His loss deprived Epaminondas of his greatest Theban political ally.[20]


Battle of Mantinea

A relief of the death of Epaminondas, by David d'Angers.
A relief of the death of Epaminondas, by David d'Angers.

In the face of this increasing opposition to Theban dominance, Epaminondas launched his final expedition into the Peloponnese in 362 BC. The immediate goal of the expedition was to subdue Mantinea, which had been opposing Theban influence in the region. As he approached Mantinea, however, Epaminondas received word that so many Spartans had been sent to defend Mantinea that Sparta itself was almost undefended. Seeing an opportunity, Epaminondas marched his army towards Laconia at top speed. The Spartan king Archidamus was alerted to this move by a runner, however, and Epaminondas arrived to find the city well-defended. Hoping that his adversaries had denuded the defenses of Mantinea in their haste to protect Sparta, he countermarched back to his base at Tegea and dispatched his cavalry to Mantinea, but a clash outside the walls with Athenian cavalry foiled this strategy as well. Realizing that a hoplite battle would be necessary if he wanted to preserve Theban influence in the Peloponnese, Epaminondas prepared his army for combat.[21] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1043x770, 159 KB) Summary Frieze of the death of Epaminondas. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1043x770, 159 KB) Summary Frieze of the death of Epaminondas. ... Pierre Jean David (1789-1856), usually called David dAngers, French sculptor, was born at Angers on the 12th of March 1789. ... Combatants Thebes, Arcadia and Boeotia League Sparta, Elis, and Mantinea league Commanders Epaminondas† Agesilaus II Strength Casualties {{{notes}}} The Battle of Mantinea was fought in 362 BC between the Thebans, led by Epaminondas and supported by the Arcadians and the Boeotians, and the Spartans, led by King Agesilaus II and... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC 370s BC 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC 330s BC 320s BC 310s BC 367 BC 366 BC 365 BC 364 BC 363 BC 362 BC 361 BC 360 BC 359... Archidamus III, the son of Agesilaus II, was king of Sparta from 360 BC to 338 BC. In 343 BC, the Spartan colony Tarentum asked for Spartas help in the war against the Italic populations. ...


What followed on the plain in front of Mantinea was the largest hoplite battle in Greek history. Nearly every state participated on one side or the other. With the Boeotians stood a number of allies: the Tegeans, Megalopolitans, and Argives chief among them. On the side of the Mantineans and Spartans stood the Athenians, Eleans, and numerous others. The infantries of both armies were 20,000 to 30,000 strong. As at Leuctra, Epaminondas drew up the Thebans on the left, opposite the Spartans and Mantineans with the allies on the right. On the wings he placed strong forces of cavalry strengthened by infantry. Thus, he hoped to win a quick victory in the cavalry engagements and begin a rout of the enemy phalanx. Elis, or Eleia (Greek, Modern: Ήλιδα Ilida, Ancient/Katharevousa: Ήλις, also Ilis, Doric: Άλις) is an ancient district within the modern prefecture of Ilia. ...


The battle unfolded as Epaminondas had planned. The stronger forces on the wings drove back the Athenian and Mantinean cavalry opposite them and began to attack the flanks of the enemy phalanx. In the hoplite battle, the issue briefly hung in the balance, but then the Thebans on the left broke through against the Spartans, and the entire enemy phalanx was put to flight. It seemed that another decisive Theban victory on the model of Leuctra was about to unfold until, as the victorious Thebans set off in pursuit of their fleeing opponents, Epaminondas was mortally wounded. He died shortly thereafter.


As news of Epaminondas' death on the field of battle was passed from soldier to soldier, the allies across the field ceased in their pursuit of the defeated troops—a testament to Epaminondas's centrality to the war effort. Xenophon, who ends his history with the battle of Mantinea, says of the battle's results

When these things had taken place, the opposite of what all men believed would happen was brought to pass. For since well-nigh all the people of Greece had come together and formed themselves in opposing lines, there was no one who did not suppose that if a battle were fought, those who proved victorious would be the rulers and those who were defeated would be their subjects; but the deity so ordered it that both parties set up a trophy as though victorious and neither tried to hinder those who set them up, that both gave back the dead under a truce as though victorious, and both received back their dead under a truce as though defeated, and that while each party claimed to be victorious, neither was found to be any better off, as regards either additional territory, or city, or sway, than before the battle took place; but there was even more confusion and disorder in Greece after the battle than before.[22]

With his dying words, Epaminondas is said to have advised the Thebans to make peace, as there was no one left to lead them. After the battle a common peace was arranged on the basis of the status quo. Status Quo are an English rock band whose music is charcterised by a strong boogie line. ...


Legacy

Isaak Walraven. The death bed of Epaminondas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Isaak Walraven. The death bed of Epaminondas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Extant biographies of Epaminondas universally describe him as one of the most talented men produced by the Greek city-states in their final 150 years of independence. In military affairs he stands above every other tactician in Greek history, with the possible exception of Philip of Macedon, although modern historians have questioned his larger strategic vision.[23] His innovative strategy at Leuctra allowed him to defeat the vaunted Spartan phalanx with a smaller force, and his novel decision to refuse his right flank was the first recorded successful use of a battlefield tactic of this sort. Many of the tactical changes that Epaminondas implemented would also be used by Philip of Macedon, who in his youth spent time as a hostage in Thebes and may have learned directly from Epaminondas himself.[24] Victor Davis Hanson has suggested that Epaminondas's early philosophical training may have contributed to his abilities as a general.[25] Image File history File links Epaminond. ... Image File history File links Epaminond. ... Philip II of Macedon: victory medal (niketerion) struck in Tarsus, 2nd c. ... American historian Victor Davis Hanson on C-SPAN Victor Davis Hanson (born 1953 in Fowler, California) is a military historian, columnist, political essayist and former Classics professor, best known as a scholar of ancient warfare as well as a commentator on modern warfare. ...


In matters of character, Epaminondas was above reproach in the eyes of the ancient historians who recorded his deeds. Contemporaries praised him for disdaining material wealth, sharing what he had with his friends, and refusing bribes. One of the last heirs of the Pythagorean tradition, he appears to have lived a simple and ascetic lifestyle even when his leadership had raised him to a position at the head of all Greece.


In some ways Epaminondas dramatically altered the face of Greece during the 10 years in which he was the central figure of Greek politics. By the time of his death, Sparta had been humbled, Messenia freed, and the Peloponnese completely reorganized. In another respect, however, he left behind a Greece no different than that which he had found; the bitter divides and animosities that had poisoned international relations in Greece for over a century remained as deep as or deeper than they had been before Leuctra. The brutal internecine warfare that had characterized the years from 432 BC onwards continued unabated until the rise of Macedon ended it forever.


At Mantinea, Thebes had faced down the combined forces of the greatest states of Greece, but the victory brought it no spoils. With Epaminondas removed from the scene, the Thebans returned to their more traditional defensive policy, and within a few years, Athens had replaced them at the pinnacle of the Greek political system. No Greek state ever again reduced Boeotia to the subjection it had known during the Spartan hegemony, but Theban influence faded quickly in the rest of Greece. Finally, at Chaeronea in 338 BC, the combined forces of Thebes and Athens, driven into each others' arms for a desperate last stand against Philip of Macedon, were crushingly defeated, and Theban independence was put to an end. Three years later, heartened by a false rumor that Alexander the Great had been assassinated, the Thebans revolted; Alexander squashed the revolt, then destroyed the city, slaughtering or enslaving all its citizens. A mere 27 years after the death of the man who had made it preeminent throughout Greece, Thebes was wiped from the face of the Earth, its 1,000-year history ended in the space of a few days.[26] Period in classical Greek history. ... Combatants Macedon Athens, Thebes Commanders Philip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great Chares of Athens, Lysicles of Athens, Theagenes of Boeotia Strength 32,000 infantry 2,000 cavalry 35,000 Casualties Unknown 1,000 Athenians killed 254 Boetians killed 2,000 captured The Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), fought near... Philip II of Macedon (Macedonia) (382 BC - 336 BC), King of Macedon (ruled 359 BC - 336 BC), was the father of Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) and Philip III of Macedon. ... Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of, if not the most successful military commanders in history. ...


Epaminondas, therefore, is remembered both as a liberator and a destroyer. He was celebrated throughout the ancient Greek and Roman worlds as one of the greatest men of history. Cicero eulogized him as "the first man, in my judgement, of Greece[27]," and Pausanias records an honorary poem from his tomb: This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

By my counsels was Sparta shorn of her glory,
And holy Messene received at last her children.
By the arms of Thebes was Megalopolis encircled with walls,
And all Greece won independence and freedom.[28]

Epaminondas's actions were certainly welcomed by the Messenians and others whom he assisted in his campaigns against the Spartans. Those same Spartans, however, had been at the center of resistance to the Persian invasions of the 5th century BC, and their absence was sorely felt at Chaeronea; the endless warfare in which Epaminondas played a central role weakened the cities of Greece until they could no longer hold their own against their neighbors to the north. As Epaminondas campaigned to secure freedom for the Boeotians and others throughout Greece, he brought closer the day when all of Greece would be subjugated by an invader. Victor Davis Hanson has suggested that Epaminondas may have planned for a united Greece composed of regional democratic federations, but even if this assertion is correct, no such plan was ever implemented. For all his noble qualities, Epaminondas was unable to transcend the Greek city-state system, with its endemic rivalry and warfare, and thus left Greece more war-ravaged but no less divided than he found it.


References

  • Atheneus, Deipnosophists ISBN 0-674-99302-0
  • Diodorus Siculus, Library From the Perseus Project.
  • Fine, John V.A. The Ancient Greeks: A critical history (Harvard University Press, 1983) ISBN 0-674-03314-0
  • Hanson, Victor Davis. The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny. (The Free Press, 1999) ISBN 0-385-72059-9
  • Hornblower, Simon, and Antony Spawforth ed., The Oxford Classical Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2003) ISBN 0-19-866172-X
  • Cornelius Nepos, Lives From ccel.org
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece From the Perseus Project.
  • Plutarch, Parallel Lives From MIT.
  • Plutarch, Moralia ISBN 0-674-99467-1
  • Xenophon: Hellenica From the Perseus Project.

Diodorus Siculus (c. ... American historian Victor Davis Hanson on C-SPAN Victor Davis Hanson (born 1953 in Fowler, California) is a military historian, columnist, political essayist and former Classics professor, best known as a scholar of ancient warfare as well as a commentator on modern warfare. ... Cornelius Nepos (c. ... Pausanias (Greek: ) was a Greek traveller and geographer of the 2nd century A.D., who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. ... Mestrius Plutarchus (c. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... Xenophon, Greek historian Xenophon (In Greek , c. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ Victor Davis Hanson, The Soul of Battle
  2. ^ Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas
  3. ^ Atheneus, Deipnosophists, 605-606
  4. ^ Plutarch, Dialogue on Love (Moralia 761)
  5. ^ All otherwise unsourced information in this section from Cornelius Nepos, Life of Epaminondas
  6. ^ All information in this section from J.V. Fine, The Ancient Greeks: A Critical History
  7. ^ Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas
  8. ^ Xenophon, Hellenica 5.4.10-19
  9. ^ All details regarding Boeotian confederation and politics from Hanson, The Soul of Battle
  10. ^ Plutarch, Life of Agesilaus
  11. ^ For these events and the description of the battle itself, see Diodorus, Library 15.52-56, Xenophon, Hellenica 6.4.4-20, and Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas. For a synthesis, see Fine, The Ancient Greeks.
  12. ^ Hanson, The Soul of Battle
  13. ^ For the invasion and liberation of Messene, see Diodorus, Library 15.66, Xenophon, Hellenica 6.5.27-32, and Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas. For a synthesis, see Fine, The Ancient Greeks.
  14. ^ Cornelius Nepos, Life of Epaminondas
  15. ^ Fine, The Ancient Greeks
  16. ^ Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas
  17. ^ Fine, The Ancient Greeks
  18. ^ Xenophon, Hellenica 7.1.41-43
  19. ^ Fine, The Ancient Greeks
  20. ^ Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas
  21. ^ For these this campaign and the battle of Mantinea, see Diodorus, Library 15.82-89, Xenophon, Hellenica 7.5.9-27, and Plutarch, Life of Agesilaus. For a synthesis, see Fine, The Ancient Greeks.
  22. ^ Xenophon, Hellenica 7.5.26
  23. ^ James F. Lazenby, "Epaminondas," from The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Hornblower, Simon, and Antony Spawforth ed.
  24. ^ Hanson, The Soul of Battle
  25. ^ Hanson, The Soul of Battle
  26. ^ Fine, The Ancient Greeks
  27. ^ Hanson, The Soul of Battle
  28. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.15.6

External links

January 30 is the 30th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Image File history File links LinkFA-star. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
epaminondas (1116 words)
Epaminondas formed up his Theban phalanx and massed them up to fifty men deep and arrayed them on the left of the line opposite the Spartans, with his Boeotian allies in escelon to the rear.
Epaminondas was killed nine years later at Mantinea (362) when the Spartans tried to beat the Theban alliance by allying with Athens.
Epaminondas was a symbol of great patriotism and sacrifice and like the Roman Cincinnatus never gained reward from his position or victories.
Epaminondas - LoveToKnow 1911 (558 words)
At the instigation of the Peloponnesian states which armed against Sparta in consequence of this battle, Epaminondas in 370 led a large host into Laconia; though unable to capture Sparta he ravaged its territory and dealt a lasting blow at Sparta's predominance in Peloponnesus by liberating the Messenians and rebuilding their capital at Messene.
Turning his attention to the growing maritime power of Athens, Epaminondas next equipped a fleet of 100 triremes, and during a cruise to the Propontis detached several states from the Athenian confederacy.
Epaminondas himself received a severe wound during the combat, and died soon after the issue was decided.
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