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Full Version: Battle of Leuktra 371 BC
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Does any one know of any detailed accounts of the battle?
To reconstruct the battle you need:
Plutarch "Pelopidas"
Xenophon "Hellenica"
Justin "Epameinondas"
and Pausanias "Arkadika" "Viotika"

Kind regards
Thx
What about some non-classical sources? I think one of the benefits of modern commentaries is that they are often more accessible and balanced than the source material. Victor Davis Hanson has done some good stuff, but I'm not sure if this battle is covered in Connolly's "Greece and Rome at War" book.
Quote:To reconstruct the battle you need:
Plutarch "Pelopidas"
Xenophon "Hellenica"
Justin "Epameinondas"
and Pausanias "Arkadika" "Viotika"
Note that Xenophon is extremely biased.
So am I Big Grin
The name "Jona Lendering" did sound familiar. Superb website. I have it on my favorites
Quote:What about some non-classical sources?

You may read in some modern treatments that the Thebans formed in a "wedge". This is highly unlikely and probably suicidal with a force of hoplites bearing the aspis that cannot be brough around to the right side of the body with any facility.

The confusion stems from the fact that Xenophon compared the Theban deep phalanx to the ram of a ship, and this has been taken to mean a wedge- odd since they are also squared off!
Alas, our sources are rather scarce for this battle. So even modern accounts must be fairly brief.

It should also be noted that " wedge" shouldn't be taken too literally in most of our ancient sources, because the word is often used to describe a column ( as opposed to line), rather than a triangular shaped formation.
John K. Anderson, Military Theory and Practice in the Age of Xenophon, has a good account.
Quote:Note that Xenophon is extremely biased.

Not to put too fine a point on it: exactly.

More to the point, his bias is far often much more in what he chooses to remain absolutely silent on as much as what he chooses to write - and how he writes what he deems "appropriate". For instance, were it left to Xenophon, the world would not know Pelopidas and ditto Epaminondas. From memory I think the latter receives one mention and the former the same.

As well, we would be ignorant of Sparta’s "medizing". Xenophon is expansive in his treatment of Agesilaos - surely one of the most manipulative of Spartan kings, if not destructive - and is at his most fulsome in extolling his and, of course, Sparta's "panhellenic" actions in Asia in the early years of the fourth century. This is Xenophon at his admiring best. When that policy was utterly repudiated - through the negotiations of Antalcidas - resulting in the "Peace of Antalcidas" (better known as the "King's Peace"), Xenophon chooses to totally omit the Spartan's wholesale sell-out of the Greeks of Asia Minor to ensure its mainland empire. A practice which revived its sell-out to win the Peloponnesian War and which it maintained until its eventual irrelevancy.

He does not fail to note Thebes' part in the "common peace" in the wake of Leuktra though. It is here that he finally decides to mention the name of Sparta’s Leuktra nemesis; though only so as he can have Pelopidas noted in his history as a “medizerâ€
Maybe not the the right question in this topic but non the less:
Are there any modern scholars who published about the campaign of Agesilaus in Asia Minor and later in Greece ?? And where can i find it ??

What is do miss is a book like Peter Connolly's "Greece and Rome at war" in a version of "Sparta at war" with the same kind of illustrations !!! With an overview of its army (organization), training and tactics, campaigns, armour etc etc
Maybe a section of the Boeotian army can be included. But i fear this is wishful thinking on my part

kind regards
There is a book called ancient warfare, also another called Wars of ancient Greece...but will need to check at home to be sure.
Quote:When that policy was utterly repudiated - through the negotiations of Antalcidas - resulting in the "Peace of Antalcidas" (better known as the "King's Peace"), Xenophon chooses to totally omit the Spartan's wholesale sell-out of the Greeks of Asia Minor to ensure its mainland empire.

You say this like its a bad thing. Far-flung outposts of an empire are always the first to go when defense need cause contraction- a la the French overseas empire in the 18thc. If there is some "ungreek" blame, then it surely lay square on the shoulders of those greek states that caused Sparta to recoil from her expansion into Asia in the first place- even at the cost of Ionia. There is no question of "selling out" something which would have been impossible to defend given the new security requirements at home, and Spartans dying as close as Corinth to fellow greeks shows little interest in Pan-hellenism by her foes.

In a time before Alexander's megalomaniac romp to India, the idea of breaking a substantial portion of Anatolia away from the Persian empire, if only to hand it to a friendly Satrap, was ground breaking. Just rampaging through inland Persian territory in force was revolutionary and a huge tactical challenge fo a Greek army. Agiselaos' expidition should be viewed in its proper light and not with hindsight from Macedon.
Quote:
Quote:When that policy was utterly repudiated - through the negotiations of Antalcidas - resulting in the "Peace of Antalcidas" (better known as the "King's Peace"), Xenophon chooses to totally omit the Spartan's wholesale sell-out of the Greeks of Asia Minor to ensure its mainland empire.

You say this like its a bad thing. Far-flung outposts of an empire are always the first to go when defense need cause contraction...

I'd preface this by stating that the post was written in terms of addressing Xenophon's bias.

No, rather it is said baldy or unapologetically. My postings with respect to Sparta and her policies – from the late seventh century but particularly the late “classical periodâ€
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