But Pelopidas, although he was one of the youngest of the exiles kept inciting each man of them privately, and when they met together pleaded before them that it was neither right nor honourable for them to suffer their native city to be garrisoned and enslaved, and, content with mere life and safety, to hang upon the decrees of the Athenians, and to be always cringing and paying court to such orators as could persuade the people;
nay, they must risk their lives for the highest good, and take Thrasybulus and his bold valour for their example, in order that, as he once sallied forth from Thebes1
and overthrew the tyrants in Athens, so they in their turn might go forth from Athens and liberate Thebes. When, therefore, they had been persuaded by his appeals, they sent secretly to the friends they had left in Thebes, and told them what they purposed.
These approved their plan; and Charon, a man of the highest distinction, agreed to put his house at their disposal, while Phillidas contrived to have himself appointed secretary to Archias and Philip, the polemarchs. Epaminondas,2
too, had long since filled the minds of the Theban youth with high thoughts; for he kept urging them in the gymnastic schools to try the Lacedaemonians in wrestling, and when he saw them elated with victory and mastery, he would chide them, telling them they ought rather to be ashamed, since their cowardice made them the slaves of the men whom they so far surpassed in bodily powers.