authority I shall give you the story, would admit that it was when
Pelopidas,Pelopidas and Epaminondas were
the chief Theban generals during their city's period of greatness
（371-362 B.C.）. In 371 they defeated Sparta at Leuctra and, in response to
an appeal from the Arcadians who then rose against Sparta, entered the Peloponnese in 370. Here they refounded
the town of Messene which the
Spartans had destroyed at the end of the 8th century B.C. （Dio. Sic. 15.56 and Dio.
Sic. 15.62-66）. Epaminondas conducted three further
invasions of the Peloponnese,
penetrating Laconia, but never
actually taking Sparta. It was
probably during the second of these that he founded Megalopolis, the new capital of
Spartan force in 375 B.C. and played a large part in the victory of
Leuctra. At Chaeronea they fought
to the last man and were buried by the highway from Phocis to Thebes with the figure of a lion
over their tomb. and Epaminondas and their compeers were in command.
It was then that Thebes won the battle of Leuctra, then that they invaded the
Spartans' country which, it was thought, could not be ravaged. During that
period they accomplished many fine achievements: founded Messene in the four hundredthMessenia
was first conquered about the year 700 B.C., so
that the figure 400th is a very rough estimate; 300th would be nearer. Cf.
Lyc. 1.62 and note. year after its
fall, gave the Arcadians self-government, and won a universal reputation.