Avoid popularity if you would have peace. — Abraham Lincoln

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




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 his 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 the lead.

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 ruler.

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 over, the 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.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province