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valry under Charon's command at Plataeae, a little before
the battle of Leuctra^ the method he propofed was
this, Androcydes of Cyzicus, had begun a picture of fome
other battle for the Thebans which he worked at in the
city of Thebes ; but when the revolt began, and the war
came on, he was obliged to leave the city; however,
the Thebans kept the picture, which was very nigh fi-
nifhed. Meneclides endeavoured to perfuade the people
to hang this picture in fome temple, or publick place,
with an infcription fignifying it to be one of Charon's
battles, hoping by that means to obfcure the glory of


General Iphicrates, who defigning feize on Cenchrea, which was the
to fecure the pafles, had forgot to moft commodious poft for hin-

316 the LIFE of

Pelopidas and Epaminondas. But (5) it was a ridiculous
and lenfelefs ambition to prefer one fmglc engagement,
wherein nothing confiderable was atchieved, and no
more flain on the Spartan fide than one Gerandas, an
obfcure citizen, and forty more, to fo many great and
noble victories. Pelopidas oppofed this motion, affirm-
ing it to be contrary to law, and infilling that it had
never been the cuftom of the Thebajis to honour any
private perfon on account of any publick fuccefs, but
to attribute the whole glory of all their victories to their
country. During this whole proceeding he highly ex-
tolled Charon, but at the fame time made it plainly ap-
pear that JVJeneclides was a turbulent and envious man,
and often afked the Thebans, if they had never before
done any thing that was great and excellent. The The-
bans hereupon laid a heavy fine on Meneclides, which
he being unable to pay, ufed his utmofl endeavours
ever after to difturb and overturn the government.
An account of fuch particulars is of ufe to give us an
infight into the lives and characters of men.

At that time Alexander (6) the tyrant of Phera: made
open war againft feveral parts of ThefTaly, and had en-
tertained a fecret defign to fubdue the whole , where-
upon the cities lent ambafladors to Thebes, to beg the
afliftance of fome troops and a General. Pelopidas
knowing that Epamindondas was detained by the Pele-
ponnefian war, offered himfelf to command in ThefTaly,
being loth that the fkill he had acquired in military af-
fairs mould lie ufelefs, and well knowing that wherever
Epaminondas commanded, there was no need of any
other General. He therefore marched with an amy
into Theflaly, where he foon reduced the city of Larifla ,
and when Alexander came to him in a fubmiflive man-
per, he endeavoured to reform him, and initead of a


tiering the paffage of the The- ' the houfe of one Charon," ira.f*

bans. Xufun rti. Which is not the

(5) This Charon feems to have way of fpeaking of perfons of

been a perfon of no diftindtion, note.

fince Xenophon mentioning the (6) He had lately poifoned his

confpirators he received into his uncle Polyphron, and fucceeded

koufe, fays, " that they went into him j this Polyphron had flain hk



tyrant, to render him a juft and merciful Prince but
finding him incorrigible and brutal, and receiving daily
complaints of his cruelty, lewdnefs and avarice, he be-
gan to treat him with ibme feverity ; upon which the
tyrant made his efcape privately with his guards. Pelo-
pidas having thus fecured the Theflalians from all dan
ger of tyranny, and left them in a good underftand-
ing among themfelvcs, marched for Macedonia, where
(7) Ptolemy was making war againft Alexander the King
of Macedon ^ and whither he had been invited by thote
two brothers, to decide their difputes, and ailift him
who mould appear to be injured. Pelopidas, imme-
diately upon his arrival, put an end to all their dif-
ferences, and recalled all fuch as had been banifhed;
and taking with him Philip, Alexander's brother, and
thirty youths of the chief families in Macedonia for ho-
ftages, he brought them to Thebes -, mewing the Gre-
cians what authority the Thebans had gained abroad by
the reputation of their arms, and the good opinion
every where conceived of their juftice and integrity.
This was that Philip who many years after made war
againft Greece, with a defign to conquer and enflave it.
He was then a boy, and was brought up at Thebes with
one Pammenes. Hence it was believed, that he pro-
pofed Epaminondas as his pattern, and that it was from
him he learned his military (kill and activity, which
were the lead parts of that great man's excellencies ;
but of his temperance, his juflice, his magnanimity,
and his clemency, which made him truly great, Philip
poffefled no (hare at all, either from nature or imita-

The year following, the Theflalians preferred a fecond
complaint againft Alexander thePherean, for difturbing
their peace, and forming defigns upon their cities. Pe-

brother Folydore. They were both three legitimate children, Alex-
brothers to Jafon, who having ander, Perdiccas, and Philip, and
been appointed General of the one natural fon, whofe name was
ThefTalians, turned tyrant, and Ptolemy. This laft made war a-
had reigned five years. Alexander gainft Alexander, flew him trca-
*vas the fon of Polydore. cherouflv,and reigned threeyear.s.
(7) Amrntas II. died and left

(8) They

The L I F E of

lopidas and Ifmenias were fent joint ambafladors thither <
but having no expectation of a war, they brought no
troops with them from Thebes, fo that things taking a
contrary turn to what they expected, they were com-
pelled to make ufe of Tbeltalians.

At the fame time there were frefh commotions in
Macedonia. Ptolemy had murdered Alexander, and feized
his kingdom. The deceafed King's friends fent for
Pelopidas, and he being willing to eipoufe their intereft,
but having no troops of his own at hand, immediately
raifed ibme mercenaries, with whom he marched againft
Ptolemy. When they came near one another, Ptolemy
found means to corrupt the mercenaries, and bring
them over to his fide ^ but yet fearing the very name
and reputation of Pelopidas, he came fubmiffively to
him as to a fuperior, endeavoured to pacify him by en-
treaties, and fblemnly promifed to keep the kingdom
for the dead King's brothers, and to efteem the friends
and enemies of Thebes as his own ; and as fecurity for
this, he gave his fon Philoxenus, and fifty of his compa-
nions, hoflages. Thefe Pelopidas fent to Thebes ; but
refenting the treachery of the mercenaries, and under-
ftanding that they had lodged the bed part of their
effects, together with their wives and children at Phar-
falus, he thought the feizing them would be a fufficient
revenge for the injury he had received. Whereupon
he alfembled fome Theflalian troops, and marched thi-
ther. He was no fboner arrived, but Alexander the
tyrant appeared before the place with a confiderable
army. Polopidas believing that he came thither to ju-
ftify himfelf, and anfwer the complaints that had been
made againft him, went to him together with Ifmenias,
without any further precaution ; not that they were ig-
norant of his being wicked and bloody, but they ima-
gined that the power and authority of Thebes, and their
own dignity and reputation would protect them from


(8) They were difpleafed at Corinth, againft fome troops that
him, becaufe in the laft expedi- difputed his paflage, he fpared
tion againft the Lacedaemonians, feveral that he might lawfully
after the battle that he fought near have put to the fword. Where-

P E L O P I D A S. 319

all violence. However as fcon as the tyrant faw them
alone, and unarmed, he took them prifonevs, and made
himfelf matter of Pharfalus.

This action filled the minds of all his fubjecls with
fears and jealoufies ; for they thought that after fo
flagrant and daring an injury, he would fpare no
body, but behave himfelf on all occafions, and to-
ward all perfons, as one quite defperate, who had
thrown off all regard to himfelf, and his own fafety.
When the Thebans heard the news of this outrage, they
were highly incenfed, and immediately fent an army
into Thetfaly ; and (8) Epaminondas happening at that
time to lie under their difpleafure, they made choice of
other Generals.

In the mean time, the tyrant brought Pelopidas to
Pherae, and at firft permitted every body that would to
fee him ; believing that this difaller would humble his
fpirit, and abate his courage. But when Pelopidas ad-
vifed the complaining Phereans to be comforted, alluring
them that the tyrant in a fhort time would meet with the
juft reward of his crimes, and fent to tell him, " that it
" was abfurd daily to torment and put to death Co many
" innocent worthy citizens, and to fpare him, who, he very
" well knew, if ever heefcaped out of his hands, would be
" fureto make him fuffer the punifhmenthe haddeferved."
The tyrant, furprized at this boldnefs and magnanimity,
anfwered, "Why is Pelopidas in fomuch hafte to die ?"
Which being told Pelopidas, he fent him this reply, " It
" is that thou oiayeft perifh fo much the fooner, by be-
" coming flill more hateful to the gods than thou art."

From ;hat time the tyrant forbad any one to fee or
difcourfe with him. But Thebe his wife, the daughter
of Jafon, having been informed by his keepers of the
great firmnefs and intrepidity of Pelopidas, had a defire
to fee and talk with him. When fhe came into the
prifon, (lie like a woman could not immediately per-
ceive his greatnefs and dignity amidil fuch an appear-

upon his enemies charged him and caufed him to be fent along;
with treachery, got him removed with their forces, as a private
from the government of Bceotia, perfon. Diodor, lib. xv.

(9) 5, e. For-

320 The L I F E of

ance of diftrefs ; but gueffing by the meannefs of his
attire and provision, that he was treated very unwor-
thily, (he fell a weeping. Pelopidas at firfl not know-
ing who (he was, flood amazed ; but when he under-
flood her quality he addrefled her by her father's name,
for Jafon and he had been intimate friends , and when
fhe laid, " I pity your wife ;" he replied, " And I you,
" who being at liberty can endure Alexander." This
faying touched Thebc to the quick ; for fhe was already
provoked by the cruelty and infolence of Alexander, who
befide all his other infamous behaviour had abufed her
younger brother to his luft. Going therefore often to
fee Pelopidas, and complaining freely to him of the
outrages (he had received, (he grew more and more
exafperated againft her hufband.

The Theban Generals who came into Theffaly did no-
thing at all i but either through ill fortune or bad con-
duct were obliged to make a difadvantageous and din-
honourable retreat. The Theban s fined each of them
ten thoufand drachmas, and fent Epaminondas with an
army to repair the difhonour.

The fame and reputation of Epaminondas gave new
life and courage to the Theflalians, and cccafioned
great infurrections among them, fo that from that
time the tyrant's affairs feemed to be in a very defpe-
rate condition ; fuch was the fear that had feized all
his officers and friends, fo forward were his fubjects
to revolt, and fo universal was the joy at the profpetl of
that vengeance that feemed ready to overtake him
for all his pafl crimes.

But Epaminondas preferring the fafety of Pelopidas to
his own reputation, and fearing, if he pufhed matters
to an extremity at firft, the tyrant might grow defpe-
rate, like a vvild bead, and turn all his fury againft
his prifoner, did not vigoroufly profecute the war, but
hovering flill over him with his army, he managed the
tyrant in fuch a manner as neither to leflen his fpirit
and refolution, nor yet to encreafe his fiercenefs and
cruelty ; for he very well knew his favage difpofition,
and the little regard he had to reafon and juftice. He


P E L O P I D A S.

was not ignorant that he had caufed fome men to be
buried alive, and others to be drefled in bears and boars
fkins, and then baited them with dogs, or (hot at them
for his diversion. At Melibcea and Scotufa,- two cities
which were in friendfhip and alliance with him, he fum-
moned the people to an aflembly, and having furrounded
t them with his guards, he put them all, young and old,
'to the fword. He confecrated the fpcar with which he
flew his uncle Polyphron ; and having crowned it with
garlands, offered facrifice to it as to a God, and gave it
the name of Tychon (9). Seeing a tragedian once act the
Troades of Euripides, he went haftily out of the theatre,
but fent to tell the aftor " not to be difturbed, but to go
" on with his part ; for he did not go out, from any con-
" tempt of him, but becaufe he was amamed his citizens
" fhould fee him, who never pitied thofe he murdered,
" weep at the fafferings of Hecuba and Andromache.

This cruel tyrant was terrified at the very name and
character of Epaminondas ;

And like the craven cock he bung his wings.

He difpatched an embaffy in all hafte to offer fatisfaftion ;
but Epaminondas refuted to admit fuch a man as an ally
to the Thebans he only allowed him a truce of thirty
days ; and having recovered Pelopidas and Ifmenias out
of his hands, he marched back with his army.

In the mean time the Thebans, having difcovered that
the Spartans and Athenians had fent ambafiadors to con-
clude a league with the King of Perfia, fent Pelopidas
on their part ; whofe eflablifhed reputation fully evi-
denced the wifdom of their choice. As foon as he
entered the Perfian dominions, he was univerfally known
and honoured; for the glory he had acquired in the
war with the Spartans, did not move flowly or ob-
fcurely ; but after the fame of the firfl battle at Leuc-
tra was gone abroad, the report of fome new victo-
ries continually following, exceedingly encreafed and
fpread his reputation. When he arrived at the Perfian


(9) i. e. Fortunate.

VOL. II. X (i) If

Z2.2 'The LIFE of

court, and was feen by the nobles and great officers tha
waited there, he became the object of their admiration
all of them faying, " This is the man who deprived tfu
" Lacedaemonians of theirempire both by feaand land, anc
" confined Sparta within the bounds of T ay getus and Eu-
" rotas ; that Sparta, which a little before, under the con-
"duct of Agefilaus, made war againft our great monarch
" and threatened the kingdoms of Sufa and Ecbatana.'
This greatly pleafed Artaxerxes, who made it his ftud)
to heighten his reputation, by doing him all imaginable
honours, on purpoie to mow that perfons of the mod di-
fttnguifhed and iiluftrious characters, made their court
and paid homage to him. But when he had both feen his
perfon, and heard his difcourfe, which was ftronger than
that of the Athenian, and plainer than that of the Spartan
ambafladors, he conceived a ftill greater efteem for him :
and as kings feldom conceal their inclinations, he made no
fecret of the great regard he had for him ; and this the other
ambafladors perceived. He feemed indeed to have done
Antalcides the Spartan (i) the greater! honour, by fending
him a perfumed garland which he himfelf had worn at an
entertainment. But though he did not indeed treat
Pelopidas after fo familiar and free a manner, the cufto-
mary prefents which he fent him, were as rich and mag-
nificent as poflible ; he likewife granted all the demands
he made ; which were, " that the Greeks mould be free
" and independent, that Meffene mould be re-peopled,
" and that the Thebans fliould be always reckoned the
King's hereditary friends.

Having received fo favourable an anfwer he returned
home, without accepting any other of the preients, than
what ferved as a pledge of the King's favour and good-

(i) If Plutarch means the Spar- ing improbable that a man in fo
tan ambafTador, he differs from mean a ftation fhould receive
Xenophon, who fays that his name prefents from the King of Perfia,,
was Euthicles. He likewife tells or fhould fpeak in the affembly of
us that Timagoras was the per- the people at Athens, Palmerius
fon whom the King efteemed next juftly reads c-axEj-pof*? or Shield-
to Petopidas. bearer, upon the authority of Har-
'(2) In the original he is called pocration and the fcholiaft of An-
o*3y*f o^o; or Porter. But it be- ftophanes, who both fay that Epi-


P E L O P I D A S.

will towards him ; and this behaviour of Pelopidas ag-
gravated the reproach which fell on the other ambaf-
fadors. The Athenians tried and executed Timagoras^
and indeed if they did it for receiving fo many prefents
from the King, their fentence was juft and reafonable ;
for he not only took gold and filvcr, but a rich bed,,
and ilaves to make it as if that had been an art un-
known to the Greeks. Befide this, he received four-
fcore cows, and look after them, as if he
wanted milk for fome 4iftemper ; and laft of all, when
he left the court, he was carried in a chair as far as the
fea-coaft, at the King's expence, who paid four talents
for his carriage. But it is probable the prefents he re-
ceived were not the principal caufe of the difpleafure
of the Athenians ; for when Epicrates (2) confeffed in a
publick aflembly of the people, that he himfelf had
received prefents from the King of Perfia, and talked
of propofing a decree, that inflead of chufing nine ar-
chons every year, twelve of the poorefl citizens fhould
be lent yearly as ambailadors to Perfia, to be enriched
by the King's prefents, the people only laughed at it.
What exafperated the Athenians moft, was, that the
Thebans had obtained all they defired (3) ; in which they
laid too little flrefs on the great reputation of Pelopidas,
not confidering that his fame had more weight, than
all the oratory of the other ambaiTadors, with a Prince
who always favoured the moft fuccefsful and victorious.

The affection and efteem of the Thebans for Pelopi-
das was not a little encreaied by this embafly, in which
he procured the freedom of Greece and the re-eftablifh-
ment of Meflene,

Alexander, the Pherean tyrant, returning at this time


crates was an orator who had ob- put Timagoras to death, which
tained the name of cratf$6fo( i was that Leon, his collegue in that
and the latter of them tells us embafly, had accufed him, at his
that his long beard gave occafion return, of refufing to lodge with
to this appellation. him, and of keeping a corre-

fpondence with Pelopidas. For,

(3) Plutarch does not give iis indeed he had confirmed all that
here the true reafon which Xeno- Pelopidas had faid to the advan-
phon affigns. why the Athenians rage of the Thebans,

Xz (4) H

L I F E 0/

to his natural difpofition, had deftroyed feveral cities
of Theflaly, and put garrifons into thofe of the Pthiotae,
the Achoeans, and the Magnefians ; who hearing that Pe-
lopidas was returned, fent deputies to Thebes, to defire
the afliftance of fome forces, and him for their General.
The readily granted their requeft. But when
all things were prepared, and the General was juft ready
to march, on a fudden the fun was eclipfed, and the
whole city of Thebes covered with darknefs at mid-day.
Pelopidas feeing the people much furprized at this phae-
nomenon, did not think fit to compel the army to
march while they were in fuch a confirmation, nor to
hazard the lives of feven thoufand of his fellow- citizens ;
but committing himfelf wholly to the Theflalians, and
taking with him only three hundred horfe, compofed
of Thebans and ftrangers, who offered themfelves as
voluntiers, he departed, contrary to the opinion of the
footh-fayers and the reft of the citizens, who endea-
voured to hinder him, believing that the eclipfe por-
tended fomething extraordinary, and boded ill to this
great man. But Pelopidas, befides being urged by his
refentment for the injuries he had received, hoped,
from the converfation he formerly had with Thebe, to
find great diforders and divifions in the tyrant's own
family. But that which excited him moft to this
undertaking was the glory of the adtion itfelf; for
his whole aim and ambition was, to let all the Gre-
cians fee, that at the fame time when the Spartans lent
officers and generals to Dionyfius the Sicilian tyrant, and
the Athenians were kept in pay by Alexander, and had
eredtsd a brazen flatue in honour of him, as a benefac-
tor, the Thebans were the only people that waged war
to fuccour the diflreiTed, and te exterminate all arbitrary
and inj uft government out of Greece.

Aft~r he had aflembled his forces at Pharfalus, he
marched againft the tyrant; who finding that Pelopidas
had but few Thebans, and that his own infantry was
more than double .the number, of the Theflalians, went
to meet him as far as the temple of Thetis : and when
it was told Pelopidas that the tyrant was advancing to-


wards him with a prodigious army, he faid, c So much
' the better, we mall beat fo many the more."

Near the place called Cynofcephalae there were two
fteep hills oppofite to one another, in the middle of the
plain. Both fides ftrove to get poflcflion of thefe two
hills with their foot, and at the fame time Pelopidas
ordered his horfe, which were very numerous and good,
to charge the enemy's cavalry, which they prefently
routed, and purfued over the plain. But Alexander had
gained the hills before the Theflalian foot could reach
them, and falling fiercely upon fucli of them as at-
tempted to force thofe afcents, he "killed the foremoft
of them, and wounded fo many of thofe that followed,
that they were obliged to give way. Pelopidas feeing
this, called back his horfe, and ordered them to attack
fuch of the enemy as ftill kept their ground; and taking
his fhield in his hand, made what hafte he could to
join thofe that fought about the hills ; and advancing
to the front filled his men with fuch courage and ala-
crity, that the enemy imagined they came with other
fpirits and other bodies to the onfet. They flood two
or three charges ; but when they found the Theflalian
foot ftill prefs forward, and perceived the horfe return-
ing from the purfuit, they began to give ground. Pe-
lopidas at the fame time viewing, from an afcent, the
enemy's army, which did not yet in reality fly, but be-
gan to fall into diforder. flopped for a while, cafling
his eyes every way to find out- Alexander. As foon as
he perceived him in the right wing, rallying and en-
couraging his mercenaries, he was no longer mailer of
himfelf, but inflamed at the fight, and facrificing both
his fafety and his duty as a General to his paflion, he
advanced far before his foldiers, crying out, and chal-
lenging the tyrant, who did not dare to meet him, but
retreating, hid himfelf amongfl his guards. The fore-
mofl of the mercenaries that came hand to hand were
cut down by Pelopidas, but others fighting at a di-
fiance, pierced his armour with their javelins, and mor-
tally wounded him. TheThefTalians feeing him in this
danger, made hafte from the hills to his ailiftance -,

X 3 but

326 ne LIP E of

but when they came to the place where he was, they
found him dead upon the ground. At the fame time
both horfe and foot prefiing hard upon the enemy en-
tirely routed them, purfuing them a great way, and
covering the plain with more than three thoufand dead
bodies. The Thebans who were then prefent expreifed
the greateft concern imaginable at Pelopidas's death> cal-
ling him their Father, Saviour, and Inflructor in every
thing that was great and honourable. And it is no won-
der they did fo, when the Theflalians and allies, after
they had exceeded by their edicts in his favour, the
greateft honours that are due to human virtues, gave
flill more undeniable proofs of their love to him by
their grief ; for the whole army, when they underftood
he was dead, neither put off their armour, unbridled
their horfes, nor dreifed their wounds, but notwith-
ftanding their heat and fatigue, ran all immediately to
him, as if he had been ftill alive, heaped up the fpoils
of the enemy about his dead body, and cut off their
horfes manes, and their own hair ; and many of them
when they retired to their tents, neither kindled a
fire nor toojs. any refremment ; but a general filence,
confternation and grief reigned throughout the army,
as if they had not gained a very great and glorious
victory, but had been defeated and enflaved by the

In all the cities through which his body was carried,
the magiftrates, young men, children, and priefls came
out to meet it with trophies, crowns, and golden armour.
And when the time of his interment was come the oldefi
rnen among the Theflalians, begged the Thebans to al-
low them to bury him. One of them upon this occafion

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