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People - Ancient Greece: Pelopidas
Ancient Theban statesman and general.

Pelopĭdas in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898) (Πελοπίδας). A Theban general and statesman, son of Hippoclus. He was descended from a noble family, and inherited a large estate, of which he made a liberal use. He lived always in the closest friendship with Epaminondas, to whose simple frugality, as he could not persuade him to share his riches, he is said to have conformed his own mode of life. He took a leading part in expelling the Spartans from Thebes, B.C. 379; and from this time until his death there was not a year in which he was not intrusted with some important command. In 371 he was one of the Theban commanders at the battle of Leuctra, so fatal to the Lacedaemonians, and joined Epaminondas in urging the expediency of immediate action. In 369 he was also one of the generals in the first invasion of the Peloponnesus by the Thebans. (See Epaminondas.) In 368 Pelopidas was sent again into Thessaly, on two separate occasions, in consequence of complaints against Alexander of Pherae. On his first expedition Alexander of Pherae sought safety in flight, and Pelopidas advanced into Macedonia to arbitrate between Alexander II. and Ptolemy of Alorus. Among the hostages whom he took with him from Macedonia was the famous Philip, the father of Alexander the Great. On his second visit to Thessaly, Pelopidas went simply as an ambassador, not expecting any opposition, and unprovided with a military force. He was seized by Alexander of Pherae, and was kept in confinement at Pherae till his liberation in 367 by a Theban force under Epaminondas. In the same year in which he was released he was sent as ambassador to Susa to counteract the Lacedaemonian and Athenian negotiations at the Persian court. In 364 the Thessalian towns again applied to Thebes for protection against Alexander, and Pelopidas was appointed to aid them. His forces, however, were dismayed by an eclipse of the sun (June 13), and, therefore, leaving them behind, he took with him into Thessaly only three hundred horse. On his arrival at Pharsalus he collected a force which he deemed sufficient, and marched against Alexander, treating lightly the great disparity of numbers, and remarking that it was better as it was, since there would be more for him to conquer. At Cynoscephalae a battle ensued, in which Pelopidas drove the enemy from their ground, but he himself was slain as, burning with resentment, he pressed rashly forward to attack Alexander in person. The Thebans and Thessalians made great lamentations for his death, and the latter, having earnestly requested leave to bury him, celebrated his funeral with extraordinary splendour.

Pelopidas in Wikipedia Pelopidas (d. 364 BC) was an important Theban statesman and general in Greece. Biography Athlete and warrior He was a member of a distinguished family, and possessed great wealth which he expended on his friends, while content to lead the life of an athlete. In 384 he served in a Theban contingent sent to the support of the Spartans at Mantineia, where he was saved, when dangerously wounded, by the Arcadians. According to Plutarch's Life of Pelopidas, he ruined his inherited estate by showing constant care for the deserving poor of Thebes, taking pleasure in simple clothing, a spare diet, and the constant hardships of military life. People said that he was ashamed to spend more on himself than the lowest of the Thebans spent on himself. Once, when friends argued that he needed to care for his finances since he had a wife and children, and that money was a necessary thing, Pelopidas pointed to a blind, crippled pauper named Nicodemus and said, "Yes, necessary for Nicodemus." Upon the seizure of the Theban citadel by the Spartans (383 or 382) he fled to Athens, and took the lead in a conspiracy to liberate Thebes. Spartans had kingship in their home and were supportive of oligarchic governments in other cities, and vice versa, cities with oligarchic and not democratic political system supported Sparta. In 379 his party (the democratic) surprised and killed their chief political opponents in Thebes (members of the aristocratic party that supported the Spartans), and roused the people against the Spartan garrison, which surrendered to an army gathered by Pelopidas. He was a member of a distinguished family, and possessed great wealth which he expended on his friends, while content to lead the life of an athlete. In 384 he served in a Theban contingent sent to the support of the Spartans at Mantineia, where he was saved, when dangerously wounded, by the Arcadians. According to Plutarch's Life of Pelopidas, he ruined his inherited estate by showing constant care for the deserving poor of Thebes, taking pleasure in simple clothing, a spare diet, and the constant hardships of military life. People said that he was ashamed to spend more on himself than the lowest of the Thebans spent on himself. Once, when friends argued that he needed to care for his finances since he had a wife and children, and that money was a necessary thing, Pelopidas pointed to a blind, crippled pauper named Nicodemus and said, "Yes, necessary for Nicodemus." Upon the seizure of the Theban citadel by the Spartans (383 or 382) he fled to Athens, and took the lead in a conspiracy to liberate Thebes. Spartans had kingship in their home and were supportive of oligarchic governments in other cities, and vice versa, cities with oligarchic and not democratic political system supported Sparta. In 379 his party (the democratic) surprised and killed their chief political opponents in Thebes (members of the aristocratic party that supported the Spartans), and roused the people against the Spartan garrison, which surrendered to an army gathered by Pelopidas. Boeotarch In this and subsequent years he was elected boeotarch, and about 375 he routed a much larger Spartan force at the battle of Tegyra (near Orchomenus). This victory he owed mainly to the valour of the Sacred Band, an elite corps of 300 seasoned soldiers. At the battle of Leuctra (371 BC) he contributed greatly to the success of Epaminondas's new tactics by the rapidity with which he made the Sacred Band close with the Spartans. Epaminondas, an intuitive and genius general, used at Leuctra for the first time the oblique order in which you can win against a superior force by achieving a local superiority of numbers. Then, by winning in detail, one can hope to win in the whole. After the battle at Leuctra Thebes became the strongest city of Greece and Sparta withdrew as a leading city. In 370 BC he accompanied his close friend Epaminondas as boeotarch into Peloponnesus in order to humiliate Sparta even more. On their return, both generals were accused, unsuccessfully, of having retained their command beyond the legal term. In fact, the democrats and some aristocrats of Thebes acknowledged that Pelopidas and Epaminondas were the two most capable and important personalities of their city. Both were trying to establish a state that would unite Greece under the Theban hegemony. Thessalian campaign and death In 369, in response to a petition of the Thessalians, Pelopidas was sent with an army against Alexander of Pherae. After driving Alexander out, he passed into Macedon and arbitrated between two claimants to the throne. In order to secure the influence of Thebes, he brought home hostages, including the king's brother, afterwards Philip II. Philip learned there many tactics of the southern Greeks, both in politics and in war. Next year Pelopidas was again called upon to interfere in Macedonia, but, being deserted by his mercenaries, was compelled to make an agreement with Ptolemaeus of Alorus. On his return through Thessaly he was seized by Alexander of Pherae, and two expeditions from Thebes were needed to secure his release. In 367 BC Pelopidas went on an embassy to the Persian king and induced him to prescribe a settlement of Greece according to the wishes of the Thebans. In 364 BC he received another appeal from the Thessalian towns against Alexander of Pherae. Though an eclipse of the sun prevented his bringing with him more than a handful of troops, he overthrew the tyrant's far superior force on the ridge of Cynoscephalae. However, wishing to slay Alexander with his own hand, he rushed forward too eagerly and was cut down by the tyrantís guards.

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