Greek Warfare: From the Battle of Marathon to the Conquests of Alexander the Great

By Lee L. Brice | Go to book overview

P

Pelopidas

Pelopidas was one of the Theban generals and politicians most responsible for the emergence of Theban hegemony from 371 to 362 BCE, when Thebes established itself briefly as the preeminent power in Greece. Pelopidas and his friend Epameinondas were responsible for many of the military and political victories of Thebes during that era.

Pelopidas, the son of Hippoclus, was born into a wealthy and influential Theban family in the late fifth century. Little is known with certainty of his education although it was probably typical of elite Greeks. In 384, Pelopidas fought and was wounded while serving in a Theban unit sent to assist Sparta at Mantinea.

A pro-Spartan faction took control of Thebes in 382 and exiled Pelopidas along with others deemed dangerous. Pelopidas organized the exiles to return secretly to the city in 379 where they killed the leaders of the pro-Spartan party and forced the Spartan garrison to surrender. Pelopidas gathered Theban defenses against an immediate Spartan counterattack. In recognition for his part in liberating Thebes, the Thebans elected him one of seven magistrates (boeotarchs), the highest office in the city, which he held 13 times during his career. In addition, he also served several years as the commander of the Sacred Band, an elite Theban unit made up of 150 male couples.

In 375, Pelopidas scored an important victory at Tegyra. Encountering a considerably larger Spartan force, Pelopidas ordered an immediate attack into the enemy center. The Thebans broke through the middle of the Spartan line, inflicting great casualties. In 371, employing Epameinondas’ new tactics at Leuctra, Theban infantry including Pelopidas and the

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Greek Warfare: From the Battle of Marathon to the Conquests of Alexander the Great
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xiii
  • A 1
  • B 23
  • C 27
  • D 43
  • E 53
  • G 57
  • H 77
  • I 83
  • J 89
  • K 91
  • L 93
  • M 99
  • N 115
  • P 117
  • S 155
  • T 173
  • W 189
  • X 207
  • Documents 211
  • Chronology 269
  • Glossary 287
  • Bibliography 291
  • Editor and Contributors 299
  • Categorical Index 301
  • Index 305
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