MORE WARS ( better than first )

Go down

MORE WARS ( better than first )

Post  dundek on Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:29 am

Battle of Plataea
479 BC

The reluctance, which Sparta showed after the battle of Thermopylae until a little before the battle of Plataea, did not help the Greek cause. But when finally she took the decision to engage seriously herself in the war, it did it in a great manner.
Five thousand citizens, each one attended by seven Helots, together with five thousand Lacedaemonian Perioikoi (each one attended by one light armed Helot) marched toward the Isthmos. This was a very large army and never in the past Sparta had sent such a big force in the field. At Isthmos, she was joined with the Peloponnesian allies and marched towards Megara. The army was joined there by three thousand Megarians and finally at Plataea with eight thousand Athenian hoplites. The city of Plataea also contributed six hundred hoplites, who came from Salamis, under the command of Aristeides. The number of Greek army were now thirty eight thousand hoplites, who with light armed troops and the Helots reached one hundred and ten thousand men. This number includes the eighteen hundred badly armed Thespians. There was no cavalry and the bow men were very few.
When Mardonios learned the approach of Lacedaemonians, he left Attica and by way of Dekeleia crossed the mount Parnes and entered Boeotia. Marching two days along the Asopos river, he encamped near the town of Plataea.
Greek Warrior The Greeks after consulting the Gods with sacrifices at Eleusis marched over the ridge of Kithairon mountain and descending from the northern side they saw the encamped Persian army in the valley of Asopos. King Pausanias who was waiting good omens from sacrifices held his troops from the attacks of the Persian cavalry, near Erythrae, where the ground is ragged and uneven, but even this did not prevent the commander Masistios to attack the Greeks. When the Megarians were in great danger suffering many losses, three hundred Athenian hoplites succeeded in repulsing the Persians, killing the tall and brave Masistios. His body was paraded in triumph, in a cart. This event encouraged Pausanias, who positioned the army on the plain, in a line at the right bank of Asopos.
When Mardonios learned the change in the position of the Greeks he ordered his army to be placed opposite to them on the other side of Asopos. Himself took the post in the left wing, facing the Lacedaemonians. The rest of his army consisting from Medized Greeks, fifty thousand strong, were opposite to Athenians. The center of Mardonios composed from Bactrians Sacae and Indians. The whole army was numbering three hundred thousand men.
For eight days the attack was delayed from both sides by unfavorable sacrifices. On the eight day Mardonios by the advice of the Theban leader Timagenidas cut off the supplies of the Greeks and captured a big supply in one of the passes of Kithaeron. Artabazos too, advised him to continue this line of harassing and wearing but Mardonios was impatient and ordered his cavalry to attack, which obtained possession of the fountain of Gargapheia.
Pausanias summoned the council of war and took the decision to retreat, to a place called the Island, which was two kilometers further and halfway between it and the town of Plataea. When Pausanias at night gave the order of retreat, some Spartans refused to move. Threats did nothing to persuade the Spartan captain Amomferatus, who took a huge rock and threw it at the feet of Pausanias, with the words: "with this pebble I give my vote not to fly".
Pausanias who had no time to lose since daybreak was near, he left Amompheratus and his lochos behind and hurried to the island. Mardonios ordered attack when he learned that the Greeks had retreated. His army passing the waters of Asopos started to throw arrows to the Greeks, who did not engage, even in this moment, in battle until they received a good omen from the sacrifices. Mardonios at the head of his one thousand bodyguards was in the front line fighting bravely, until he was struck down by the Spartan Aimnestos. When Mardonios fell the Persian army fled to their fortified camp. But this did not save them, the Greeks managed to enter and a great massacre took place. Only three thousand Persians who escaped, from the three hundred thousand, survived. The Greeks lost only one thousand and three hundred men.
In 464 BC, during the night, a powerful earthquake shook Sparta and the rest of Lacedaemon. The earth opened and the summits of mount Taygetos were torn. All the houses of Sparta fell down except five. This catastrophe continued for five days. At least twenty thousand Lacedaemonians lost their lives.

The Peloponnesian war I
431 - 421 BC

The unavoidable clash between Sparta and Athens came with an incident at the friendly to Athens city of Plataea. Archidamos invaded Attica in the spring of 431 BC without opposition, since Athens had taken the decision not to engage to a land battle with Sparta and thus started the Peloponnesian war, that lasted for 28 years. The first ten years of the war (431 - 421 BC) were named "Archidamios war" from the name of the able king of Sparta Archidamos.
On the side of Lacedaemonians were all the Peloponnesian states with the exception of Argos and Achaea which entered the war joining Sparta later. They were also the Boeotians, Megarians, Lokrians, Phokaeans, Leukadians, Ambrakiotes and Anaktorians. The coast states supplied ships, the Boeotians, Locrians and Phokians with cavarly.
On the side of Athens were the Plataeans, Chians, Lesbians, Messenians, Corkyraeans, Zakynthians, Akarnanians as well as the towns of the coast of Asia and Thrace and all the isles of Aegean, except Melos and Thera. The Athenian troops were 29,000 hoplites, 1200 horsemen and 1600 archers and her navy was 300 triremes without counting those of her allies. The Chians, Corkyraeans and Lesbians supplied shipping.
Archidamos forces which entered Attica consisted from about 60,000 to 100,000 men and at the beginning he tried unsuccessful attacks upon the fortress of Oenoe, on mount Kithairon, failing to take it. He then marched towards Eleusis, where he arrived at the middle of June 431 BC. After ravaging the Thracian plain he encamped at Acharnae, seven miles from Athens. In the meantime the Athenians had collected the population within the walls and had sent all the animals to Euboea. Archidamos evacuated Attica at the end of July and his army was dismantled immediately. Upon his departure the Athenians at the end of September, attacked Megara which they ravaged totally.
At the spring of 430 BC, Archidamos again invaded Attica, but in the meantime the plague had broken out in Athens. The Lacedaemonians with greater force ravaged all the neighborhood of Athens marching as far as the mines of Laurium. In their turn Athenians, with 100 triremes under the command of Knemos devastated the island of Zakynthos.
At the third year of the war (429 BC) Archidamos marched towards the city of Plataea and demanded to hand him over the city and their land properties, promising that after the war everything would be restored to them. The majority of Plataeans were in favor of the proposal, but Athenians exhorted them to hold out promising them assistance. After their refusal, Archidamos surrounded the small city of Plataea and the famous siege started. For three months Spartans tried everything to conquer the city but without success. They then decided to blockade and starve the population. The double walls of Plataea build by the SpartansFor this they surrounded Plataea with a double wall, but even this measure had no success. After two years, when the provisions of Plataea started to run short, 212 men escaped in a stormy December night. The rest of the population surrendered in 427 BC. They were put in trial before five Spartan judges and executed. The town of Plataea was transferred to Thebes, who after a few months destroyed all the private houses to the ground.
In the fourth and fifth year of the war Spartans again invaded Attica. In the sixth year of the war (426 BC) the Spartans did not invade Attica. A series of severe earthquakes and floods occurred in various parts of Greece. At Athens the plaque reappeared.
During the seventh year of the war the Lacedaemonian army under the command of Agis invaded Attica, but only for the sort time of fifteen days. Agis was recalled and marched towards Pylos, because the Athenians had established a military post at Pylos in Messenia. The Peloponnesian fleet that was in Corkyra under the command of Thrasymelidas, was also ordered to sail to Pylos. Thrasymelidas on arriving at Pylos with his fleet, he occupied the small but densely wooded island of Sfacteria with four hundred and twenty hoplites and their helots. Part of these men, two hundred and ninety-two, among them many belonging to chief families, were later captured by the Athenian Kleon and brought to Athens in chains, the rest had been killed after a severe conflict on the islet. The event surprised the Hellenic world who knew that Spartans never surrendered. Sparta was now in a bad position. The Messenians from Pylos together with the runaway helots were able to plunder the country, also Sparta could not invade Attica, knowing that the captured men would put immediately to death.
The eighth year of the war (424 BC) was disastrous for Athens. They defeated at the battle of Delium, by the Thebans. They also lost Thrace. After all these Athenians seriously considered the proposals for peace by Sparta.
At the same year one of the biggest crimes, committed in ancient Greece, occurred. Sparta pretending to give liberty to the most worthy Helots, who had fought bravely, selected two thousand of the best men and after honoring them and crowning them with garlands at a ceremony, slain them by secret orders from the Ephors. The reason being, that Sparta felt threatened from their increased power.
In the ninth year of the war (423 BC) a truce was signed for a year, on which a permanent peace would be prepared. But the negotiations were interrupted two days after the signing of the truce, when Athenians learned that Scione had revolted and was under the command of Brasidas. In August, an Athenian force by the command of Kleon was sent to Scione. At the battle that followed, both Kleon and Brasidas were killed and thus the obstacles for permanent peace seized to exist.
The Spartan king Pleistoanax and general Nikias of Athens, in the spring of 421 BC, signed a peace treaty for fifty years, the so-called peace of Nikias. The Spartan prisoners were returned and Athens was allowed to keep the cities of Anactorium, Sollium and Nisae. Not everybody was satisfied by the peace and the allies of Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, Megara and Eleans refused to ratify it.
During the peace between Sparta and Athens matters were far from being satisfactory. Her allies, Boeotians and Corinthians never accepted the peace and Athens refused to evacuate Pylos. Alkibiades of Athens persuaded both Achaea and Patrae to ally with Athens and helped Argos in the attack upon Epidauros, which they ravaged. Spartans could not accept all these and assembling a large army in which her allies were participating, invaded Argos and surrounded the Argive army. A battle was ready to start when two Argive oligarch leaders came to king Agis of Sparta and persuaded him to sign a truce for four months. A little later Alkibiades leading a force of one thousand hoplites and four hundred cavalry came to assist Argives and persuaded them to attack the city of Orchomenos in Arcadia. After they conquered Orchomenos they marched against Tegea. In the meantime king Agis, who had being blamed for the truce with the Argives, marched with a large force in the territory of Mantinea and positioned himself near the temple of Hercules. The Argives and their allies left the city of Mantinea and in a well chosen ground offered battle. King Agis was ready to attack them at this advantageous for the Argives ground, but when the Spartans came close, an old Spartan warrior told him, that with his act was trying "to heal one mischief by another". These words made him to withdraw his men. After this, the Argives took position in the plain and tried to attack them by surprise. The right section of the Argive army, which was consisted from the flower of aristocracy, a permanent body of one thousand chosen soldiers drilled and maintained by the city of Argos, were successful to route the Lacedaemonians, but Agis with the rest of his army which was more successful, he managed to win the battle (June 418 BC). Athenians lost two hundred hoplites included the generals Laches and Nikostratos, the Argives and their allies lost another nine hundred men. From the Lacedaemonian army only three hundred men lost. Even after all these, the peace of Nikias typically was still in existence.

Preparations before the battle

The Peloponnesian war II
415 - 404 BC

In 415 BC, in the expedition of Athenians in Syracuse, the Spartan general Gylippos with four ships came to the assistance of Syracuse. Though his force was small, he helped greatly Syracuse to win the war. He firstly captured the Athenian fort at Labdalum, that made him master of Epipolae and build fortifications. He then constructed a counter wall to intersect the Athenian lines at the north side. A little later he was reinforced by the arrival of thirty triremes. This small participation of Sparta in the war was of the outmost importance.
After the Athenian disaster in Syracuse, the war between Athens and Sparta became maritime. Lacedaemonians gave a better attention on their naval power. A new office, that of Navarchia, was risen. The Navarchos (Admiral) was even superior to the Ephors. In the beginning though Sparta had not much success.
In August of 411 BC, the Peloponnesian fleet commanded by Mindaros lost the naval battle at Kynossema. The Athenian fleet though smaller in force, in the straits of Sestos and Abydos, gained a complete victory.
In 410 BC, Alkibiades managed to capture the whole Peloponnesian fleet at Kyzicos. Mindaros was killed and the second in command Spartan sent a letter to the Ephors in Laconic form: "Ships gone; Mindaros dead; men starving; no idea what to do."
Spartans were so discouraged, that they sent the Ephor Endius to Athens for a peace agreement but the Athenians, who were influenced by the demagogue Kleophon, rejected the offer.
Spartans now appointed a new navarchos, the able man Lysander. When his turn of command expired, he was succeeded by Kallicratidas, who increased the number of ships of the Spartan fleet. There was a naval battle at the harbor of Mytelene with the Athenian fleet under Konon. The Athenians, who were outnumbered, lost the battle and thirty ships. Another forty ships were saved by bringing them ashore, near the walls of the town.
Kallicratidas then blockade the island. When the news arrived at Athens they sent a fleet of one hundred and ten triremes and they were reinforced with another forty later. The number of ships of Kallicratidas were one hundred and twenty. At the small island of Arginusae, the Athenian fleet met the Spartan and after a hard struggle defeated them (406 BC). The Lacedaemonians lost seventy seven ships and the rest were retreated at Chios and Phocaea. Kallicratidas was thrown overboard, when his ship was hit by another and perished. The Athenians lost only twenty five ships.
Though it was illegal for an admiral to have a second term, Lysander, with the title of Epistoleus (bearer of letters), took the command of the Spartan fleet. He immediately obtained large sums of money from Kyros, king of Persia, to rebuild the fleet and made siege on Lampsacus.
The Athenians, who came to help, arrived too late to save the city and took post at Aegospotamoi (Goat's river) close to the city of Lampsacus. Lysander who systematically avoided a naval battle, since his ships were outnumbered, he managed to capture the enemy fleet after treachery or negligence of the Athenians. All 4000 Athenian prisoners were put to death. This event substantially marked the end of Athens.

Expedition in Asia

After the fall of Athens, Sparta became the undisputed leader of Greece for 34 years. Her first move was to punish the Eleans, who along with Argos and Mantinea had taken the arms against them, during the war with Athens and also for the insults they had received when they excluded them from the games of Olympia. They demanded from Eleans to pay for the expenses of the war and resign their authority over the dependent townships in Trifylia. Eleans of course did not accept these demands and in 402 BC king Agis entered in their territory but unfavorable omens and an earthquake forced the Spartans to return home.
In the following year they invaded Elean again. After ravaging and plundering the territory, they forced them to a humiliating peace.
At 400 BC, king Agis died and he was succeeded by Agesilaos, who led an army into Asia.
It was the first time, that a Greek army had entered Asia, from the times of Agamemnon.
In 396 BC, he arrived and took command of the city of Ephesos. When the satrap Tissaphernes ordered him to quit Asia, Agesilaos fooled him and instead of attacking Caria, as was expected, he moved towards Phrygia, the satrapy of Arnavazos and reached Daskylium, where he was repulsed by the Persian cavalry. He then returned to Ephesos, where he prepared a cavalry.
Shortly later he again fooled Tissaphernes, making known that he would march toward Sardis. Tissaphernes who thought that this was another trick, dispersed his cavalry elsewhere and Agesilaos unopposed, he arrived at the river Pactolos, where a battle took place and the Persians were defeated.
In the meantime, Tissaphernes was assassinated and Tithrastes took his place, who persuaded Agesilaos to quit his satrapy for the sum of thirty talents. Agesilaos then moved to the satrapy of Artavazos now, whose magnanimity he appreciated and left his territory also and entered the plains of Thebes, close to the gulf of Eleus.
In 394 BC, during his preparations for a big expedition in the interior of Asia Minor, he was recalled home, because Sparta felt threatened.
Agesilaos during his expedition in Asia had been appointed Navarchos (admiral). He was the first man in Sparta to acquire so much power. He immediately started to prepare a new fleet of 120 triremes and put to the command his brother in law Pisander. In the beginning of August of the same year, half of Sparta's fleet was captured or destroyed by the Athenian fleet under Konon, in the peninsula of Knidos in Caria. Pisander who fought gallantry perished in the battle.
About the same time with the naval battle at Knidos there was another battle of Sparta against the joining forces of Thebes, Athens, Corinth and Argos fought in the territory of Corinth which Sparta won (battle of Corinth 394 BC).

Battle of Koronea

In August of 394 BC, king Agesilaos returned from the expedition in Asia and brought his army in the valley Koronea of Boeotia. From the other side Thebans, Athenians and their allies were ready for battle.
The two armies came silently close to each other. When they reached a distance of two hundred meters, the Thebans raised their usual paeans and started to run towards the Spartan army, who moved only when the Thebans came about one hundred meters close. Thebans quickly overpowered the opposite of them soldiers of Orchomenos, in the left wing, but Agesilaos, who had also success on the other side cut the Thebans from the rest of the army. Now Thebans were forced to attack the Spartans, in order to join with their allies. It was such the force of the impact of the two armies, that the spears broke. Pushing with shields each other, they only could use their daggers. Both armies fought desperately but Thebans made their way through braking the Spartan lines. King Agesilaos, though many times wounded was at the front ranks and fought with valor. The outcome of the battle though indecisive ended with victory of Sparta.
A few years later, the disgraceful peace of Antalkidas (387 BC) took place, in which Sparta was permitting the Persians to interfere in the affairs of Hellas. In the remark of someone, who said that Spartans were Medizing, Agesilaos replied "say rather that the Medes are Laconizing".

Occupation of Thebes

The city of Thebes, which had not taken any serious part in the Peloponnesian war, was prospering but as was usual with all the Greek cities, was torn inside from the fights of oligarchs and democrats.
That was the case, when Leontiades a prominent oligarch, asked for help from the near Thebes encamped Spartan army, under general Phoebidas (382 BC). Leontiades, in order to expel the democrats from Thebes, proposed to the general to take over Kadmeia, something which was accepted eagerly.
All these were happening during the celebration of Thesmophoria, when women alone were performing ceremonies to honor the founder of the city, Kadmos, and they were no males on the citadel. Phoebidas and his army entered Kadmeia, without any difficulties.
Ismenias, the leader of the democratic party was tried and executed. The oligarchs, with the help of the Spartan garrison, started confiscating and executing the democrats. Many of them found refuge at Athens. From there they started thinking how to free their city.
At first, they tried to get help especially from Athens, but soon they despaired and started designing various plots to liberate Thebes by themselves. Among the exiles they were many belonging to wealthy and noble families, such as Pelopidas, Damokleidas, Melon and others. They were in constant communication with other members which were still in Thebes, the most prominent of them being Phyllidas the secretary of the polemarch Archias and Charon.
Upon arrival of Phyllidas in Athens for official business it was arranged to provide the opportunity for the exiles to struck. Charon would provide shelter in his home. Phyllidas arranged a banquet for Archias and Philippus and promised them beautiful women for company.
In December of 379 BC, Pelopidas, Melon and five companions left Athens and disguised as rustics and hunters, entered the city of Thebes at night fall and hid in Charon's house. Together with other conspirators from Thebes, they totaled 48 persons. A spy of Archias, reported to him that they were rumors that some of the exiles were in town. Archias called Charon to give some answers. Charon though worried, went quickly to him and from his questions understood that he had no facts but only suspicions. He promised to look upon the matter and left.
Soon after a messenger from Athens came with a letter in which the full conspiracy was revealed. Archias, who by now was drunk, threw it aside, saying the famous words "Urgent business for tomorrow". Immediately after, the conspirators disguised as women entered the room and killed Archias and Philippus and everyone else who was there.
Phyllidas then sent Pelopidas, Kephisodorus and Damokleidas to Leontiades house. There was a hard fight in which Leontiades, a strong man, mortally wounded in the throat Kephisodorus. Pelopidas, after a long struggle in the narrow hall of his house, killed Leontiades. With the death of the two tyrants, the exiles from Athens returned.
Epameinondas with some of the young men broke open the armorer's shops and called the citizens to fight for their freedom. After all these, the Spartan garrison of 1500 men, left Thebes for Sparta (378 BC).
In 375 BC, near Tegyra, Pelopidas with the Theban Sacred Band defeated the Spartan army, though his troops were half in number. Being informed that the Spartan garrison in Orchomenos were visiting Lokris, he marched with the Sacred Band in order to give battle. He met them at Tegyra and thanks to his encouragement in a narrow pass he defeated them, killing both of the Lacedaemonian commanders. The rest of the Spartan army dispersed and fled. This was a heroic achievement by Pelopidas, taking in consideration the smaller number of his troops and the Spartan valor. It was this battle that gave confidence to Thebans to meet Spartans four years later in Leuctra.
In 372 BC, Antalkidas dispatched again in Persia asking them to intervene, when Thebes violated the peace by re-establishing the Boeotian confederation. Athens too was dissatisfied with Thebes, who recently had destroyed the city of Plataea. Negotiations for peace between Athens and Sparta started and in the congress which took place in 371 BC, in the city of Sparta, Thebes was invited too.
The Thebans, who wanted to take the oath for the treaty as head of the confederacy, refused to take it for their city alone and only the threat of war persuade them to consent. After that incident Sparta's first priority was to weaken Thebes, by breaking the Theban confederacy.
In the dissatisfied from the confederacy cities of Orchomenos and Thespiae, they installed a garrison.
To the city of Mantinea, who had helped Argos in the war with Sparta, they sent a messenger demanding to raze their walls. In their hesitation, Agesipolis did not wait and bringing an army he took Mantinea. Spartans demolished their fortification and reduced the city in the five villages, as it was in the past.

The battle of Leuctra
371 BC

In 371 BC, on the plain of Leuctra, Spartans were defeated again from the Theban Sacred Band, this time under the leadership of General Epameinondas, though the Theban forces were outnumbered by the Lacedaemonians, Epameinondas with a series of ingenious tactics and with the help of his supreme trained men of the Sacred Band defeated the invincible Spartan army. He arrayed the best men of his troops, fifty shields deep, opposite to the opponent right wing occupied by the Spartans, which were twelve shields deep, leaving his center and left wing weak and ordering them to stay momentarily out of action. The battle started with the engagement of Spartan and Theban cavalries, which ended quickly with the defeat of Spartans. Pelopidas leading the Sacred Band fell upon the Spartans with irresistible force but the Spartans fought bravely and at first were victorious. It was only when leading Spartans fell that the Spartan lines pushed and broke carrying away the rest of the army and driving them to the camp. King Kleombrotos of Sparta and many of his officers were killed. The rest of the army hardly had any serious fighting. From the 700 Spartans who took part in the battle, only 300 survived. The whole Hellas was in sock from the event, understanding that a new power had risen. At Argos, there was a revolution and the people put to death many of the upper class pro-spartan.
After the battle they sent heralds to Athens proclaiming their victory over the Spartans, but Athenians were not satisfied with the turn of events. Now they had a new superpower a few miles from Athens. They also sent a herald to Jason of Pherae in Thessaly. Jason upon hearing the news said he would come quickly in Thebes with triremes, but instead with great speed and passing through enemy territory he arrived in Boeotia. There the Theban leaders proposed him to attack the encamped Spartans and her allies. Jason and Epameinondas refused and managed to persuade them to let them go and thus saving Spartans from a bigger catastrophe. Spartans indeed soon left and at Aigosthena they met with Archidamos who was marching to help them. From there they returned home.
With the battle of Leuctra, the Hegemony of Greece passed from Sparta to Thebes, but for the short time of ten years. It did no good and as that of Sparta it hurt Greece greatly. Thebes had no experienced and knowledgeable men, nor her economy could withstand this. It failed as Sparta did, to unite the Greek cities and stop the blood bath of Greece. There was turmoil all over Peloponnese. The inhabitants of Mantinea in Arcadia, which had been broken in several villages, took back their capital and build new walls. In Tegea of Arcadia, the people formed an Arcadian federation. In two years time a powerful confederation was born that was including except the old alliances, Phokis, Locris, Aitolia and Euboea. After the battle of Leuctra, Thebes made again peace with Athens and wanted to destroy Orchomenos for being in alliance with the Spartans. The city was saved thanks to the great efforts of Epameinondas, but not for long. A few years later when Epameinondas was at an expedition in Byzantium, the city was razed, its male citizens were killed and the rest were sold in slavery. That, it was another big blunder by the Thebans.

Thebes invades Laconia

In Arcadia, an ally of Thebes, king Agesilaos of Sparta was ravaging its territories. In reply to this, Thebes sent an army under Epameinondas. When Agesilaos heard the news, he evacuated Arcadia and returned to Sparta, to protect her.
Upon Epameinondas arrival in Arcadia, he joined forces with members of the confederation from Arcadia, Argos and Elis. The total number of the army force was amounted to about fifty thousand men. The confederation pressed strongly Epameinondas, to invade Laconia, explaining to him that there was a general discontent and by this time many Perioikoi had revolted.
He was finally persuaded and in the autumn of 370 BC, invaded Laconia from four different routes, marching towards Sparta.
Only the Arcadians encountered serious resistance, by the Spartan Ischolaos at Ium, in the district Skiritis. Ischolaos and his divisions fell to the last man.
Finally, they all met at Sellasia, which they destroyed and burned and from there, they marched towards Sparta, which was saved from king Agesilaos, who had taken a series of defenses to protect the unwalled city.
Epameinondas who understood the danger of an attack towards the city in human loss, abandoned any further attempts to conquer the city. From there, burning and plundering villages, he marched towards the port and arsenal of Sparta, Gythium, which he attempted to conquer for three days, without success.
Epameinondas then returned to Arcadia and under his supervision a new city was built at the banks of the river Helisson, as the capital of the Arcadian confederation and it was named Megalopolis (the big city). In Megalopolis, a synod of deputies from all the towns of the confederation, was to meet periodically, to manage their affairs.
After this Epameinondas entered Messenia, in order to liberate her from the Spartans. In the mean time defection among the Perioikoi and Helots had already started. Epameinondas re founded Messene and in the hills of mount Ithome built excellent fortifications stretched for four miles, which are still preserved today. All of these had a devastating effect in the economy of Sparta, which lost half of its territory for ever and had no more the people to provide for its military.
In the meantime, Sparta had asked help from Athens. Iphicrates with an Athenian army of twenty thousand men, marched to Arcadia. Epameinondas hearing the news evacuated Laconia quickly and headed to Arcadia. The two armies, though close, did not engage in full battle. Iphicrates, who decided that his mission had been accomplished, returned to Athens.
Epameinondas too, returned to Thebes and he was put to a trial, because he extended the time of his expedition and also for being pacific and inactive. He defended himself successfully, increasing even more his popularity.
The accomplishments of his expedition were great. He weakened and humiliated Sparta and at the same time he increased the reputation of his army.
Because it was essential to communicate with her allies, in the spring of 369 BC, Epameinondas again tried to invade Peloponnese, but this time Athenians, Spartans and their allies were occupying the line of mount Onean and Kenchreae, in order to prevent him to enter Peloponnese. Epameinondas arrived and tried without success to make them fight in battle, even though his army was smaller. He encamped and a few hours before day break surprised them, by attacking and defeating the Spartan and Pellenian line. He was thus enabled to enter Peloponnese and join with his allies Arcadians, Elians and Argians. Sikyon deserted Sparta, after a vote taken by its people and admitted an harmost and a Theban garrison into its Acropolis. The same did Pellene. After the army ravaged the territories of Epidauros and Phleious, he tried by surprise to take the town of Corinth, but they defeated by the Athenian general Gavrias, who resisted with great skill. After this unsuccessful attempt, the Theban army returned home.
During the year of 368 BC, Epameinondas did not undertake any expedition into Peloponnese, instead Pelopidas with an army Theban force entered Thessaly, to protect Larissa from king Alexander of Macedonia. Pelopidas forced him to solicit peace, taking among the fifty hostages the future king of Macedonia, the son of Amyntas, Philip, who stayed for some years at the city of Thebes.
In 366 BC, Thebes enlarged the confederation by including cities of the Corinthian gulf and Achaia, but lost them again, when demanded that their oligarchic government ought to be deposed. That was a great mistake, showing the luck of experienced men.
In 364 BC, after insistence of Epameinondas, a large number of war ships were constructed and sailing them towards Hellispond. Epameinondas succeeded to win over Byzantium. Financial difficulties as well as luck of experience in maritime, put an end in the ambitions of Thebes.

The battle of Mantinea
362 BC

In 363 BC, in a surprising move Arcadians seized Olympia and stole their treasury. War broke with Elis but with the intervention of Thebes, Olympia was returned and peace followed. During the negotiations the Theban representative tried to arrest certain anti-Thebans. That had as result Mantinea and the rest of northern Arcadians, except Tegea, to turn over to Sparta. Athens which was monitoring the situation joined together with Elis. Thebes had no option but to send quickly Epameinondas with a big army against Mantinea. At Tegea about ten miles distance from Mantinea, he joined army with them but in unexpected move instead of Mantinea he marched towards Sparta. Unlike the first time this move would have taken by surprise Agesilaos who by this time was marching in a circular root to support Mantinea. But a Kretan spy in the Theban camp, trained in long distance running, informed Agesilaos who turned back. When Epameinondas reached Sparta and found out what had happened he moved quickly towards Mantinea before her allies arrival. It was probably really this his object and not of course to attack Sparta ,but not everything went according to his plan. By this time the Athenian army had just arrived. Now Epameinondas had no option but to engage himself in a pitched battle.
The two armies met before Mantinea in 362 BC. The Theban army, comprising from Thebans and Boeotians moved forward. The rest of the army was left behind in echelon formation with the exception of troops that kept a high ground in order to prevent out flagging from the right. As the army moved, Epameinondas turned quickly leftwards and near the slopes of the mountain and then he gave order to the soldiers to leave the arms down and rest. The Spartans and Mantineans thinking that Epameinondas had no intention to fight a battle, they broke lines.
Epameinondas, who was awaiting for this, ordered a quick attack. The massive Theban body fell upon Spartans and Mantineans with irresistible force breaking their lines and bringing confusion and chaos to the rest of the army.
The battle had been almost won when Epameinondas fell pierced by a spear in the breast. They lied him on a hill, waiting for the final outcome of the battle. Though the battle was won by Thebans, on Epameinondas order they made peace, when he learned that all his favorite generals had been perished in the battle.


Posts : 9
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2010-01-13
Age : 33
Location : Slovenia

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum