UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
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
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.