Hegemonylasted from the Theban victory over the Spartans at Leuctra in 371 BCto their defeat of a coalition of Peloponnesian armies at Mantineain 362 BCthough Thebes sought to maintain its position until finally eclipsed by the rising power of Macedonin 346 BC.
Externally, the way was paved for Theban ascendancy by the collapse of Athenian power in the
Peloponnesian War(431 - 404 BC) and the weakening of the Spartans by their oliganthropia (demographic decline) and the inconclusive Corinthian War(395 - 386 BC). Internally, the Thebans enjoyed two temporary military advantages:
#The leaders of the Theban oligarchy at the time,
Epaminondasand Pelopidas, were fully committed to an aggressive foreign policy and could be relied on to win any battle and
#The same leaders had instituted tactical improvements in the Theban heavy infantry (e.g. longer spears, the use of a wedge-shaped formation of spearmen), which had yet to catch on among their rivals.
The Thebans had traditionally enjoyed the hegemony of the
Boeotian League, the oligarchical federation of Aeolic-speaking Greeks to the immediate north-west of Athenian-dominated Attica. Their brief rise to power outside the Boeotian Plain began in 373 when the Boeotians defeated and destroyed of the town of Plataea, strategically important as the only Athenian ally in Boeotia. This was taken as a direct challenge by the previous hegemonic power, the Spartans, who gambled on restoring their waning ascendancy by a decisive defeat of the Thebans. At Leuctra, in Boeotia, the Thebans comprehensively defeated an invading Spartan army. Out of 1,000 Spartan citizens, 400 died at Leuctra. After this, the Thebans systematically dominated Greece. In the south, they invaded the Peloponnese to liberate the Messenians and Arcadians from Spartan overlordship and set up a pro-Theban Arcadian League to oversee Peloponnesian affairs. In the north, they invaded Thessaly, to crush the growing local power of Pheraeand took the future Philip II of Macedonhostage, bringing him to Thebes. Pelopidas, however was killed at Cynoscephalae, in battle against troops from Pherae (though the battle was actually won by the Thebans).
The Thebans overstretched themselves strategically and, in their efforts to maintain control of the north, their power in the south disintegrated. The Spartan king,
Agesilaus II, scraped together an army from various Peloponnesian towns dissatisfied with Theban rule and managed to kill but not defeat Epaminondasin the Battle of Mantinea, but not to re-establish any real Spartan ascendancy. This was if anything a Pyrrhic victory for both states. Sparta lacked the manpower and resources to make any real attempt at regaining her empire and Thebes had now lost both of the innovative leaders who had allowed her rise to dominanace and was similarly reduced in resources to the point where that dominance could, not be guaranteed. The Thebans sought to maintain their position through diplomacy and their influence at the Amphictyonic council in Delphi, but when this resulted in their former allies the Phocians seizing Delphi and beginning the Third Sacred War(c. 355), Thebes proved too exhuasted to bring any conclusion to the conflict. The war was finally ended in 346 BC, by the forces not of Thebes, or any of the city-states, but of Philip of Macedon, to whom the city-states had grown desperate enough to turn. This signalled the rise of Macedon within Greece and finally brought to an end a Theban Hegemony which had already been in decline.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Spartan hegemony — The city state of Sparta was the greatest military land power of classical Greek antiquity. During the classical period, Sparta owned, dominated or influenced the entire Peloponnese. Additionally, the defeat of the Athenians and the Delian League … Wikipedia
Ancient Greek warfare — This article aims to give an overview of warfare in the Ancient Greek Archaic and Classical periods (approximately 750 320 BC); dealing with the history, the changing nature of warfare and the developments in tactics and strategy during these… … Wikipedia
Classical Greece — The Parthenon, in Athens, a temple to Athena. History of Greece … Wikipedia
ancient Greek civilization — ▪ historical region, Eurasia Introduction the period following Mycenaean civilization, which ended in about 1200 BC, to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC. It was a period of political, philosophical, artistic, and scientific… … Universalium
Ancient Greece — The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, located on the Acropolis in Athens, is one of the most representative symbols of the … Wikipedia
Gorgidas — (Ancient Greek: Γοργίδας) was the first known Theban military leader of the Sacred Band of Thebes. Plutarch chronicled their exploits. Gorgidas, around 378 BC, first established the Sacred Band by choosing couples from his army. Plutarch in his… … Wikipedia
Corinthian War — Part of the Spartan hegemony Hoplites in combat … Wikipedia
Classical antiquity — Classical era redirects here. For the Classical period in music, see Classical period (music). The works of Homer mark the beginning of classical antiquity and were revered throughout the period … Wikipedia
Pelopidas — /peuh lop i deuhs/, n. died 364 B.C., Greek general and statesman of Thebes. * * * ▪ Theban statesman died 364 BC, Cynoscephalae, Thessaly [now in Greece] Theban statesman and general responsible, with his friend Epaminondas, for the brief… … Universalium
Leuctra, Battle of — ▪ Greek history [371 BC] (371 BC), battle fought on the plain of Leuctra (near modern Levktra) in southern Boeotia, in which a Boeotian army under Epaminondas defeated a Spartan army under King Cleombrotus. This Spartan defeat in the… … Universalium