Epaminondas [key], d. 362 b.c., Greek general of Thebes. He was a pupil of Lysias the Pythagorean, but his early life is otherwise obscure. As the Theban delegate to the peace conference of 371 b.c. he refused to surrender his claim to represent all Boeotia. Agesilaus II of Sparta therefore excluded Thebes from the peace. In the resulting war Epaminondas commanded the Boeotian troops. His thorough victory over the Spartans at Leuctra (371 b.c.) proved the effectiveness of his military innovations and earned him a reputation as one of the greatest tacticians of ancient times. Later he bolstered Boeotian power by building up Messenian independence from Sparta. In 367 b.c. he forced Alexander of Pherae to release the Theban general Pelopidas. In 362 b.c. he again commanded the Boeotians against the Spartans and was victorious at Mantinea, but he died in battle. His brilliant tactics in war were studied by both Philip II and Alexander the Great.
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