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Although the Thebans had won a famous victory, they declared to the world that they were the losers because of the death of Pelopidas; for having lost such a remarkable man, they rightly judged the victory of less account than the fame of Pelopidas. Indeed he had done many great services to his country and had contributed more than any other man to the rise of Thebes. For in the matter of the return of the refugees,1 whereby he recaptured the Cadmeia, all men agree in attributing to him the principal credit for its success. And it turned out that this piece of good fortune was the cause of all the subsequent happy events. [2] In the battle by Tegyra,2 Pelopidas alone of the boeotarchs won victory over the Lacedaemonians, the most powerful of the Greeks, the first occasion when on account of the importance of the victory the Thebans erected a trophy over the Lacedaemonians. In the battle of Leuctra he commanded the Sacred Band,3 with which he charged the Spartans first and thus was the primary cause of the victory. In the campaigns about Lacedaemon, he commanded seventy thousand men, and in the very territory of Sparta erected a trophy of victory over the Lacedaemonians, who never in all previous time had seen their land plundered.4 [3] As ambassador to the Persian King he took Messene under his personal charge in the general settlement, and though for three hundred years it had been stripped of inhabitants, the Thebans established it again.5 At the end of his life, in the contest with Alexander who had an army far out-numbering his, he not only gained a glorious victory, but also met his death with a courage that made it renowned.6 [4] In his relations with his fellow citizens he was so favourably treated that from the return of the exiles to Thebes until his death he continued every year to hold the office of boeotarch,7 an honour accorded to no other citizen. So let Pelopidas, whose personal merits received the approbation of all, receive from us too the approbation of History. [5]

At the same time, Clearchus, who was a native of Heracleia on the Black Sea, set out to win a tyranny, and when he had achieved his purpose, he emulated the methods of Dionysius tyrant of Syracuse, and after becoming tyrant of Heracleia ruled with conspicuous success for twelve years.8 [6] While these things were going on Timotheus, the Athenian general, commanding a force of both infantry and ships, besieged and took Torone and Potidaea,9 and brought relief to Cyzicus,10 which was undergoing a siege.

1 But Diodorus does not mention Pelopidas in his account (chaps. 25, 26) of retaking the Cadmeia. (For this see Plut. Pelopidas 7-12).

2 A village of Boeotia near Orchomenus. The battle of Tegyra is described by Plut. Pelopidas 16 f. as a "sort of prelude" to that of Leuctra and one of Pelopidas' most glorious exploits.

3 See Plut. Pelopidas 18; 20.2; 23.2, 4, Nepos Pelopidas 4.2.

4 See chaps. 62.4 ff. and notes.

5 See Plut. Pelopidas 30.5; Xen. Hell. 7.1.35-36.

6 See chap. 80 and notes.

7 Confirmed by Plut. Pelopidas 34.5.

8 Clearchus had been a student of Isocrates and Plato. He was exiled from Heracleia a few years previous to 364 and had become a mercenary commander in the service of Persia. Called in by the council of Heracleia to combat the democracy, Clearchus placed himself at the head of the democratic movement, ousted the oligarchs, confiscated their property, freed their slaves, and set up a tyranny along the line of Dionysius of Syracuse. See Justin 16.4-5.

9 On Torone and Potidaea see Isoc. 15.108, 113 f. and Polyaenus 3.10.15.

10 The Theban fleet under Epameinondas had been operating during the summer of 364 in the Sea of Marmora and had caused Byzantium to withdraw from the Athenian confederacy (see chap. 79.1). At the arrival of Timotheus in the region, Epameinondas prudently withdrew and Timotheus recovered Byzantium and relieved the siege of Cyzicus. See Nepos Timotheus 1.3 and Glotz, Hist. gr. 3.170.

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  • Cross-references to this page (7):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (9):
    • Isocrates, Antidosis, 108
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 7.1.35
    • Cornelius Nepos, Pelopidas, 4.2
    • Cornelius Nepos, Timotheus, 1.3
    • Plutarch, Pelopidas, 16
    • Plutarch, Pelopidas, 18
    • Plutarch, Pelopidas, 30.5
    • Plutarch, Pelopidas, 34.5
    • Plutarch, Pelopidas, 7
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