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tressed friends, they issued forth of Mantinea, not abiding so long as to refresh themselves or their horses with meat; and giving a lusty charge upon the enemy, who as bravely received them, after a long and hot fight, they remained masters of the field, giving by this victory a safe and easy retreat to all that were without the walls. The whole power of the Boeotians arrived in the place soon after this battle, whom the Lacedaemonians and their assistants were not far behind.
The great battle of Mantinea—The honourable death of Epaminondas, with bis
commendation. Epaminondas, considering that his commission was almost now expired, and that his attempts of surprising Sparta and Mantinea having failed, the impression of terror which his name had wrought in the Peloponnesians would soon vanish, unless by some notable act he should abate their courage in their first growth, and leave some memorable character of his expedition, resolved to give them battle; whereby he reasonably hoped both to settle the doubtful affections of his own associates, and to leave the Spartans as weak in spirit and ability as he found them, if not wholly to bring them into subjection. Having, therefore, warned his men to prepare for that battle, wherein victory should be rewarded with lordship of all Greece; and finding the alacrity of his soldiers to be such as promised the accomplishment of his own desire; he made show of declining the enemy, and intrenching himself in a place of more advantage, that so, by taking from them all expectation of fighting that day, he might allay the heat of their valour, and afterwards strike their senses with amazement, when he should come upon them unexpected. This opinion deceived him not; for with very much tumult, as in so great and sudden a danger, the enemy ran to arms, necessity enforcing their resolution, and the consequence of that day's service urging them to do as well as they might. The Theban army consisted of thirty thousand foot, and three thousand horse; the Lacedaemonians and their friends were short of this number, both in horse and foot, by a third part. The Mantineans (because the war was in their country) stood in the right wing, and with them the Lacedaemonians; the Athenians had the left wing; the Achaeans, Eleans, and others of less account, filled the body of the army. The Thebans stood in the left wing of their own battle, opposite to the Lacedaemonians, having by them the Arcadians; the Euboeans, Locrians, Sicyonians, Messenians, and Thessalians, with others, 'compounding the main battle; the Argives held the right wing. The horsemen on each part were placed in the flanks, only a troop of the Eleans were in rear. Before the footmen could join, the encounter of the horse on both sides was very rough, wherein finally the Thebans prevailed, notwithstanding the valiant resistance of the Athenians; who, not yielding to the enemy either in courage or skill, were overlaid with numbers, and so beaten upon by Thessalian slings that they were driven to forsake the place, and leave their infantry naked. But this retreat was the less disgraceful, because they kept themselves together, and did not fall back upon their own footmen; but finding the Theban horse to have given them over, and withal discovering some companies of foot, which had been sent about by Epaminondas to charge their 2 battle in the rear, they broke upon them, routed them, and hewed them all in pieces. In the mean season the battle of the Athenians had not only to do with the Argives, but was hardly pressed by the Theban horsemen, in such wise that it began to open, and was ready to turn back, when the Elean squadron of horse came up to the relief of it, and restored all on that part. With far greater violence did the Lacedaemonians and Thebans meet, these contending for dominion, the other for the maintenance of their ancient honour ; so that equal courage and equal loss on both sides made the hope and appearance of victory to either equally doubtful : unless perhaps the Lacedaemonians, being very firm abiders, might seem the more likely to prevail, as having borne the first brunt and fury of the onset, which was not hitherto remitted ; and being framed by discipline, as it were by nature, to excel in patience, whereof the Thebans, by practice of a few years, cannot be thought to have gotten a habit so sure and general. But Epaminondas perceiving the obstinate stiffness of the enemies to be
such as neither the bad success of their own horse nor all the force of the Boeotian army could abate so far as to make them give one foot of ground, taking a choice company of the most able men, whom he cast into the form of a wedge, or diamond, by the advantage of that figure against a squadron, and by his own exceeding virtue, accompanied with the great strength and resolution of them which followed him, did open their ranks, and cleave the whole battle in despite of all resistance. Thus was the honour of that day won by the Thebans, who may justly be said to have carried the victory, seeing that they remained masters of the ground whereon the battle was fought, having driven the enemy to lodge further off. For that which was alleged by the Athenians, as a token that the victory was partly theirs, the slaughter of those mercenaries upon whom they lighted by chance in their own flight, finding them behind their army, and the retaining of their dead bodies; it was a ceremony regardable only among the Greeks, and served merely for ostentation, showing that by the fight they had obtained somewhat, which the enemy could not get from them otherwise than by request. But the Thebans arrived at the general immediate end of battle, none daring to abide them in the field; whereof a manifest confession is expressed from them who forsake the place which they had chosen or accepted, as 3 indifferent for trial of their ability and prowess. This was the last work of the incomparable virtue of Epaminondas, who, being in the head of that warlike troop of men which broke the Lacedaemonian squadron, and forced it to give back in disarray, was furiously charged on the sudden by a desperate company of the Spartans, who all at once threw their darts at him alone ; whereby receiving many wounds, he nevertheless with a singular courage maintained the fight, using against the enemies many of their darts, which he drew out of his own body; till at length by a Spartan called Anticrates he received so violent a stroke with a dart, that the wood of it broke, leaving the iron and a piece of the truncheon in his breast. Hereupon he sunk down, and was soon conveyed out of the fight by his friends ; having by his fall somewhat animated the Spartans (who fain would have got his body), but much more inflamed with revengeful indignation the Thebans, who, raging at this heavy mischance, did with great slaughter compel their disordered enemies to leave the field ; though long they followed not the chase, being wearied more with the sadness of this disaster than with all the travail of the day. Epaminondas being brought into his tent, was told by the physicians that when the head of the dart should be drawn out of his body he must needs die. Hearing this, he called for his shield, 4 which to have lost was held a great dishonour. It was brought unto him. He bade them tell him which part had the victory. Answer was made, that the Boeotians had won the field. Then said he, “It is fair time for me to die;" and withal sent for Iolidas and Diophantes, two principal men of war that were both slain ; which being told him, he advised the Thebans to make peace whilst with advantage they might, for that they had none left that was able to discharge the office of a general. Herewithal he willed that the head of the weapon should be drawn out of his body; comforting his friends that lamented his death, and want of issue, by telling them that the victories of Leuctra and Mantinea were two fair daughters, in whom his memory should live.
So died Epaminondas, the worthiest man that ever was bred in that nation of Greece, and hardly to be matched in any age or country; for he equalled all others in the several virtues which in each of them were singular. His justice and sincerity, his temperance, wisdom, and high magnanimity, were no way inferior to his military virtue : in every part whereof he so excelled, that he could not properly be called a wary, a valiant, a politic, a bountiful or an industrious and a provident captain ; all these titles, and many other, being due unto him, which, with his notable discipline and good conduct, made a perfect composition of an heroic general. Neither was his private conversation unanswerable to those high parts, which gave him praise abroad : for he was grave, and yet very affable and courteous ; resolute in public business, but in his own particular easy, and of much mildness; a lover of his people, bearing with men's infirmities; witty and pleasant in speech, far from insolence; master of his own affections, and furnished with all
qualities that might win and keep love. To these graces were added great ability of body, much eloquence, and very deep knowledge in all parts of philosophy and learning; wherewith his mind being enlightened, rested not in the sweetness of contemplation, but broke forth into such effects as gave unto Thebes, which had evermore been an underling, a dreadful reputation among all people adjoining, and the highest command in Greece.
of the peace concluded in Greece after the battle of Mantinea-The voyage of Agesilaus
into Egypt-His death and qualities; with an examination of the comparison made between him and Pompey the Roman.
This battle of Mantinea was the greatest that ever had been fought in that country, between the naturals, and the last. For at Marathon and Plataea the populous armies of the barbarous nations gave rather a great fame than a hard trial to the Grecian valour ; neither were the practice of arms and art military so perfect in the beginnings of the Peloponnesian war as long continuance and daily exercise had now made them. The times following produced no actions of worth or moment, those excepted which were undertaken against foreign enemies, proving for the most part unfortunate. But in this last fight all Greece was interested, which never had more able soldiers and brave commanders, nor ever contended for victory with greater care of the success, or more obstinate resolution. All which notwithstanding, the issue being such as hath been related, it was found best for every particular estate that a general peaceshould be established, every one retaining what he presently had, and none being forced to depend upon another. The Messenians were by name comprised in this new league, which caused the Lacedaemonians not to enter into it. Their standing out hindered not the rest from proceeding to conclusion ; considering that Sparta was now too weak to offend her neighbours, and therefore night well be allowed to show that anger in ceremonies which had no power to declare itself in execution. This peace, as it gave some breath and refreshing to all the country, so to the cities of Athens