Ellopos Home

Home of the European Prospect

Home of the European Prospect
Start ||| The Philosophical Europe ||| The Political Progress ||| European Witness ||| EU News
European Forum ||| Special Homages: Meister Eckhart / David Copperfield

THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY

From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

II. THE GREAT AGE OF THE GREEK REPUBLICS TO 362 B.C.

Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


» Contents of this Chapter
Page 22

BATTLE OF LEUCTRA, 371 B.C.

The Thebans had now recovered their independence. Eight years later they totally defeated a superior Peloponnesian force at the battle of Leuctra and brought the supremacy of Sparta to an end. This engagement from a military standpoint is one of the most interesting in ancient history. Epaminondas, the skilful Theban commander, massed his best troops in a solid column, fifty men deep, and hurled it with terrific force against the Spartan ranks. The enemy, drawn up twelve men deep in the customary formation, could not withstand the impact of the Theban column; their lines gave way, and the fight was soon won. The battle destroyed once for all the legend of Spartan invincibility.

PELOPIDAS AND EPAMINONDAS

The sudden rise of Thebes to the position of the first city in Greece was the work of two men whose names are always linked together in the annals of the time. In Pelopidas and Epaminondas, bosom friends and colleagues, Thebes found the heroes of her struggle for independence. Pelopidas was a fiery warrior whose bravery and daring won the hearts of his soldiers. Epaminondas was both an able general and an eminent statesman. No other Greek, save perhaps Pericles, can be compared with him. Even Pericles worked for Athens alone and showed no regard for the rest of Greece. Epaminondas had nobler ideals and sought the general good of the Hellenic race. He fought less to destroy Sparta than to curb that city's power of doing harm. He aimed not so much to make Thebes mistress of an empire as to give her a proper place among Greek cities. The Thebans, indeed, sometimes complained that Epaminondas loved Hellas more than his native city.

BATTLE OF MANTINEA, 362 B.C.

By crippling Sparta, Epaminondas raised Thebes to a position of supremacy. Had he been spared for a longer service, Epaminondas might have realized his dream of bringing unity and order into the troubled politics of his time. But circumstances were too strong for him. The Greek states, which had accepted the leadership of Athens and Sparta, were unwilling to admit the claims of Thebes to a position of equal power and importance. The period of Theban rule was filled, therefore, with perpetual conflict. Nine years after Leuctra Epaminondas himself fell in battle at Mantinea in the Peloponnesus, and with his death ended the brief glory of Thebes.

 

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

 

THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY: Table of Contents

url: www.ellopos.net/politics/european-history/default.asp


IN PRINT

Rediscovering the Path to Europe Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

Learned Freeware

 

Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy

Home of the European Prospect

get updates 
RSS feed / Ellopos Blog
sign up for Ellopos newsletter:

Donations
 
 CONTACT   JOIN   SEARCH   HOME  TOP 

ELLOPOSnet