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Epaminondas began to shine with inextinguishable luster. He had every

quality requisite in a popular hero. He was a man of the people. To the

intellectual acquirements most prized in his own country-music, dancing,

and gymnastic skill-he added the best accomplishments of Athenian

learning. By the study of Pythagoras and Socrates he had familiarized

himself with the best aspects of Greek thought. To the gifts of

persuasive eloquence he added personal virtue, and to courage of the most

heroic pattern the highest military genius ever produced in Greece.

After the failure of Cleombrotus and Sphodrias, the now aged Agesilaus

himself took the field to restore the fortunes of Sparta. In B. C. 378 he

invaded Boeotia with a large army. The country was ravaged to the gates

of Thebes, but no decisive .battle was fought, nor did the Spartans

manifest any extreme anxiety to incur the hazard of a general engagement.

In the next year the same scenes were witnessed and the same results

reached, except that Agesilaus was injured in his lame leg and for

several seasons disabled from command. The campaign of B. C. 376 was

entrusted to Cleombrotus, but the Thebans met him in the passes of the

Cithaeron and he was obliged to retire without crossing the Boeotian


During this same year the Athenian fleets under Chabrias and Phocion

gained complete control of the seas. The Spartan squadron commanded by

Pollio was defeated off Naxos, and on the western coast the islands of

Cephellenia and Corcyra were recovered for the league. So great was the

success of the allied navy that by the close of the year there was less

cause to apprehend danger from the fleet of Sparta than from the

privateers of AEgina. But for a growing jealousy between Thebes and

Athens every thing would have foretokened the complete triumph of the


The years B. C. 375 and 374 were marked by still greater successes of the

Theban arms. In the former summer Pelopidas gained a decisive victory

over the Spartans at the town of Tegyra. The troops of Orchomenus had

begun an invasion of Locris, and at the same time Pelopidas undertook the

capture of Orchomenus; but both leaders were foiled in the objects of

their campaigns. In returning, however, the Thebans fell in with the

enemy near Tegyra, and although greatly inferior in numbers Pelopidas did

not hesitate to join battle. Depending upon the splendid Theban phalanx

known as the Sacred Band, he boldly made the onset, and when a messenger

big with alarm ran to him and cried out, "We are fallen into the midst of

the enemy," he coolly replied, "Why then the enemy are fallen into the

midst of us!" The result of the battle was ruinous to the Lacedaemonians.

Both of their generals were killed, and the losses in the ranks were very

severe. All of the region round about, with the exception of Orchomenus

and Chaeronea, was detached from Spartan rule.

By this stage of the war it had become with Thebes not so much a.

question of independence as how far she might extend her influence.

Phocis was the first state against which she felt called to take up arms.

The Phocians had refused to pay the tribute levied by the congress of the

confederacy, and felt comparatively safe in doing so because of the

support of her ancient allies, the Athenians. The latter, offended at the

attitude of Thebes, proposed peace to the Spartans, and terms were at

once agreed upon. But the treaty was broken almost as soon as made, and

hostilities continued.

After a few years of varying successes, the desire for a settlement

became general throughout Greece. Antalcidas was again dispatched (B. C.

372) to the court of Persia to represent that Thebes, by the restoration

of the Boeotian confederacy, had violated the terms of the treaty

dictated by the Great King, and to ask his intervention. This proceeding

quickened the desire for peace on the part of the democratic states; for

they greatly preferred to settle the affairs of Greece without the aid or

interference of Persia. In furtherance of such a desire a conference was

held at Sparta in the spring of B. C. 371, and after considerable

discussion the conditions of peace-known as the Peace of Callias from the

name of the Athenian ambassador-were agreed to by the deputies.