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There being no one in command of the wing, the heavy column led by Epameinondas bore down upon the Lacedaemonians, and at first by sheer force caused the line of the enemy to buckle somewhat; then, however, the Lacedaemonians, fighting gallantly about their king, got possession of his body, but were not strong enough to achieve victory. [2] For as the corps of elite outdid them in feats of courage, and the valour and exhortations of Epameinondas contributed greatly to its prowess, the Lacedaemonians were with great difficulty forced back; at first, as they gave ground they would not break their formation, but finally, as many fell and the commander who would have rallied them had died, the army turned and fled in utter rout. [3] Epameinondas' corps pursued the fugitives,1 slew many who opposed them, and won for themselves a most glorious victory. For since they had met the bravest of the Greeks and with a small force had miraculously overcome many times their number, they won a great reputation for valour. The highest praises were accorded the general Epameinondas, who chiefly by his own courage and by his shrewdness as a commander had defeated in battle the invincible leaders of Greece. [4] More than four thousand2 Lacedaemonians fell in the battle but only about three hundred Boeotians. Following the battle they made a truce to allow for taking up the bodies of the dead and the departure of the Lacedaemonians to the Peloponnese.

Such was the outcome of events relating to the battle of Leuctra.

1 In the account of the battle, Diodorus fails to give any hint of cavalry action (see Xen. Hell. 6.4.10-13) which was co-ordinated with the rapid advance of the Theban corps d'élite. This co-ordination (see Cary, Cambridge Ancient History, 6.82), more perhaps than the denseness of the corps and the echelon formation of the Thebans, was a new factor in fighting later developed by Macedon.

2 Diodorus probably is exaggerating. Xen. Hell. 6.4.15 says "almost a thousand."

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