- John F. Lazenby
ExtractTheban general, famous for his victories at the battles of *Leuctra and *Mantinea. Of his early career little is known. He is said to have been a pupil of *Lysis (1) of Tarentum, and to have saved the life of *Pelopidas at Mantinea, presumably during the Spartan siege in 385, but played a minor role in the liberation of Thebes in 379, and in the subsequent rebuilding of the *Boeotian Confederacy. However, by 371 he was one of the boeotarchs (Boeotian federal officials), and, as such, represented Thebes at the peace conference in Sparta, walking out when *Agesilaus refused to allow him to take the oath on behalf of the Boeotians as a whole.Although all seven boeotarchs were at Leuctra, Epaminondas was clearly regarded as the architect of victory, and was re-elected for 370. Late in the year he went to the aid of the *Arcadians, and was largely responsible for the crucial decision to press on with the invasion of the Spartan homeland—the first in historical times—and, above all, to free *Messenia.
- Greek History and Historiography