DEATH OF PELOPIDAS
THEBES was the main power in Greece after the brilliant
victory at Leuctra, and for a short time the city
managed to maintain its supremacy. By virtue of its
position, it decided the destiny of less powerful
cities; and when Alexander, tyrant of Thessaly,
became very cruel, the Thebans sent Pelopidas to
remonstrate with him.
Instead of treating the ambassador of the Thebans with
courtesy, however, the Thessalian tyrant loaded him
with heavy chains, put him in prison, and vowed he
would keep him there as long as he lived.
When the news of this outrage reached the Thebans, they
set out at once, under the guidance of two new
Bœotarchs, to deliver their beloved fellow-citizen.
Epaminondas, too, marched in the ranks; for, now that
 term of office was ended, he had contentedly
returned to his former obscure position.
The new Bœotarchs were unfortunately very poor
generals. They met the Thessalian army, but were
defeated and driven back. Indeed, the Thebans were soon
in such danger, that the soldiers revolted against
their generals, and begged Epaminondas again to take
As they were in great distress, Epaminondas could not
refuse to help them: so he assumed the command, and
beat such a skillful retreat that he brought them out
of the country in safety.
The following year, when again chosen Bœotarch,
Epaminondas made plans for a second campaign, and
marched into Thessaly to deliver his friend, who was
still a prisoner.
When Alexander the tyrant heard that Epaminondas was at
the head of the army, he was frightened, and tried to
disarm the wrath of the Thebans by setting Pelopidas
free, and sending him to meet the advancing army.
Of course, Epaminondas was very glad to see his friend;
but when he heard how cruelly Alexander treated all his
subjects, he nevertheless continued his march
northward, hoping to rid the country of such a bad
Just then the Spartans, in spite of their solemn
promise, suddenly rose up in arms against the Thebans;
and Epaminondas, leaving part of the army in Thessaly
with Pelopidas, hurried southward with the rest to put
down the revolt.
Pelopidas marched boldly northward, met the
Thessalians, and fought a fierce battle. When it was
 Thebans, although victorious, were very sad;
for their leader, Pelopidas, had been slain in the
midst of the fray.
Still, undaunted by his death, the army pursued the
Thessalians, and killed Alexander. Then, to show their
scorn for such a vile wretch, they dragged his body
through the mud, and finally flung it out of a palace
window into the courtyard, where it was torn to pieces
by his own bloodhounds.