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Epaminondas and Hannibal Compared

It seems to me that the courage and determination both of the Carthaginians and Romans at this crisis were truly remarkable; and merit quite as much admiration as the conduct of Epaminondas, which I will describe here for the sake of pointing the comparison.

He reached Tegea with the allies, and when he saw that

The rapid march of Epaminondas to Sparta and back again to Mantinea. See Xenophon, Hell. 7, 5, 8 sq. B. C. 362.
the Lacedaemonians with their own forces in full were come to Mantinea, and that their allies had mustered together in the same city, with the intention of offering the Thebans battle; having given orders to his men to get their supper early, he led his army out immediately after nightfall, on the pretext of being anxious to seize certain posts with a view to the coming battle. But having impressed this idea upon the common soldiers, he led them along the road to Lacedaemon itself; and having arrived at the city about the third hour of his march, contrary to all expectation, and finding Sparta destitute of defenders, he forced his way right up to the market-place, and occupied the quarters of the town which slope down to the river. Then however a contretemps occurred: a deserter made his way into Mantinea and told Agesilaus what was going on.
A Cretan warns Agesilaus.
Assistance accordingly arrived just as the city was on the point of being taken; and Epaminondas was disappointed of his hope. But having caused his men to get their breakfast along the bank of the Eurotas, and recovered them from their fatigue, he started to march back again by the same road, calculating that, as the Lacedaemonians and their allies had come to the relief of Sparta, Mantinea would in its turn be left undefended: which turned out to be the case. So he exhorted the Thebans to exert themselves; and, after a rapid night march, arrived at Mantinea about mid-day, finding it entirely destitute of defenders.

But the Athenians, who were at that time zealously supporting the Lacedaemonians in their contest with the Thebans, had arrived in virtue of their treaty of alliance; and just as the Theban vanguard reached the temple of Poseidon, seven stades from the town, it happened that the Athenians showed themselves, by design, as if on the brow of the hill overhanging Mantinea. And when they saw them, the Mantineans who had been left behind at last ventured to man the wall and resist the attack of the Thebans. Therefore historians are justified in speaking with some dissatisfaction of these events,1 when they say that the leader did everything which a good general could, but that, while conquering his enemies, Epaminondas was conquered by Fortune.

1 That is "blaming Fortune or Providence." Schw. quotes Xenophon Hellen. 7, 5, 12,ἔξεστι μὲν τὸ θεῖον αἰτιᾶσθαι.

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