aider and abettor of this device was Leandrias1
the Spartan, who had been exiled from
Lacedaemon and was then a member of the Theban expedition. He was produced in the assembly and
declared that there was an ancient saying amongst the Spartans, that they would lose the
supremacy when they should be defeated at Leuctra at the hands of the Thebans.
Certain local oracle-mongers likewise came up to Epameinondas, saying
that the Lacedaemonians were destined to meet with a great disaster by the tomb of the
daughters of Leuctrus and Scedasus for the following reasons.
Leuctrus was the person for whom this plain was named. His daughters and those of a certain
Scedasus as well, being maidens, were violated by some Lacedaemonian ambassadors. The outraged
girls, unable to endure their misfortune, called down curses on the country that had sent forth
their ravishers and took their lives by their own hands.2
Many other such occurrences were reported, and when
Epameinondas had convened an assembly and exhorted the soldiers by the appropriate pleas to
meet the issue, they all shifted their resolutions, rid themselves of their superstition, and
with courage in their hearts stood ready for the battle.
came also at this time to aid the Thebans an allied contingent from Thessaly, fifteen hundred
infantry, and five hundred horsemen, commanded by Jason.3
He persuaded both the
Boeotians and the Lacedaemonians to make an armistice and so to guard against the caprices of
When the truce came into effect, Cleombrotus set out
with his army from Boeotia, and there came to meet him another large army of Lacedaemonians and
their allies under the command of Archidamus,4
son of Agesilaus. For the Spartans, seeing the preparedness of the
Boeotians, and taking measures to meet their boldness and recklessness in battle, had
dispatched the second army to overcome by the superior number of their combatants the daring of
Once these armies had united, the Lacedaemonians
thought it cowardly to fear the valour of the Boeotians. So they disregarded the truce and with
high spirits returned to Leuctra. The Boeotians too were ready for the battle and both sides
marshalled their forces.