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History => Ancient and Medieval History => Ancient & Medieval Battles => Topic started by: Duncan Head on March 24, 2022, 01:03:34 PM

Title: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Duncan Head on March 24, 2022, 01:03:34 PM
I have only posted the sources here, and may add some commentary in a later post.

Battle: Mantineia (or Mantinea), 362 BC
(For the first battle of Mantineia in 418, see ( There was a third battle, between Sparta and the Achaian League, in 207 BC.)

Mantineians, Spartans and allies: 20,000 foot and 2,000 horse (Diodoros)
Tegeians, Thebans and allies: 30,000 foot and 3,000 horse (Diodoros)

In 371 BC the Thebans led by Epameinondas defeated a Spartan army and broke Spartan hegemony over Greece. Subsequently Thebes tried to build up new alliances in the Peloponnese, encouraging the Arcadian cities to set up a League to support Thebes and contain Sparta.  When one of the larger Arcadian cities, Mantineia, left the League, Sparta and nearby Elis allied with Mantineia to attack the League and diminish Theban influence. He attempted to seize Sparta in the absence of its army, but was repulsed; as the Mantineian army was marching to assist Sparta he then attempted to seize the city of Mantineia, but was forestalled by the arrival of an Athenian contingent, sent to assist their old enemy Sparta against their even older bitter enemy Thebes. Epaminondas, frustrated by these failures, resolved to bring on a battle before he was obliged to return to Thebes.

Main sources:
1. Xenophon,
2. Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

Additional sources:
3. Pausanias,
Description of Greece
4. Cornelius Nepos, Life of Epaminondas
5. Justin, Epitome of the History of Pompeius Trogus
6. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers
7. Plutarch, Life of Agesilaus

A number of other sources that deal with events earlier in the campaign, notably the attempts on the cities of Sparta and Mantineia, are not included here.

Source 1: Xenophon, Hellenike VII.5.18-27 (Loeb translation)
[9] However, when he (Epameinondas) perceived that no city was coming over to him and that time was passing on, he decided that some action must be taken; otherwise, in place of his former fame, he must expect deep disgrace. When he became aware, therefore, that his adversaries had taken up a strong position in the neighbourhood of Mantinea and were sending after Agesilaus and all the Lacedaemonians, and learned, further, that Agesilaus had marched forth and was already at Pellene, he gave orders to his men to get their dinner and led his army straight upon Sparta. [10] And had not a Cretan by a kind of providential chance come and reported to Agesilaus that the army was advancing, he would have captured the city, like a nest entirely empty of its defenders. But when Agesilaus, having received word of this in time, had got back to the city ahead of the enemy, the Spartiatae posted themselves at various points and kept guard, although they were extremely few. For all their horsemen were away in Arcadia and likewise the mercenary force and three of the battalions (lochōn), which numbered twelve.

[11] Now when Epaminondas had arrived within the city of the Spartiatae, he did not attempt to enter at the point where his troops would be likely to have to fight on the ground-level and be pelted from the house-tops, nor where they would fight with no advantage over the few, although they were many; but after gaining the precise position from which he believed that he would enjoy an advantage, he undertook to descend (instead of ascending) into the city. [12] As for what happened thereupon, one may either hold the deity responsible, or one may say that nobody could withstand desperate men. For when Archidamus led the advance with not so much as a hundred men and, after crossing the very thing which seemed to present an obstacle, marched uphill against the adversary, at that moment the fire-breathers, the men who had defeated the Lacedaemonians, the men who were altogether superior in numbers and were occupying higher ground besides, did not withstand the attack of the troops under Archidamus, but gave way. [13] And those in the van of Epaminondas' army were slain, but when the troops from within the city, exulting in their victory, pursued farther than was fitting, they in their turn were slain; for, as it seems, the line had been drawn by the deity indicating how far victory had been granted them. Archidamus accordingly set up a trophy at the spot where he had won the victory, and gave back under a truce those of the enemy who had fallen there. [14] Epaminondas, on the other hand, reflecting that the Arcadians would be coming to Lacedaemon to bring aid, had no desire to fight against them and against all the Lacedaemonians after they had come together, especially since they had met with success and his men with disaster; so he marched back as rapidly as he could to Tegea, and allowed his hoplites to rest there, but sent his horsemen on to Mantinea, begging them to endure this additional effort and explaining to them that probably all the cattle of the Mantineans were outside the city and likewise all the people, particularly as it was harvest time.

[15] They then set forth; but the Athenian horsemen, setting out from Eleusis, had taken dinner at the Isthmus and, after having passed through Cleonae also, chanced to be approaching Mantinea or to be already quartered within the wall in the houses. And when the enemy were seen riding toward the city, the Mantineans begged the Athenian horsemen to help them, if in any way they could; for outside the wall were all their cattle and the labourers, and likewise many children and older men of the free citizens. When the Athenians heard this they sallied forth to the rescue, although they were still without breakfast, they and their horses as well. [16] Here, again, who would not admire the valour of these men also? For although they saw that the enemy were far more numerous, and although a misfortune had befallen the horsemen at Corinth, they took no account of this, nor of the fact that they were about to fight with the Thebans and the Thessalians, who were thought to be the best of horsemen, but rather, being ashamed to be at hand and yet render no service to their allies, just as soon as they saw the enemy they crashed upon them, eagerly desiring to win back their ancestral repute. [17] And by engaging in the battle they did indeed prove the means of saving for the Mantineans everything that was outside the wall, but there fell brave men among them; and those also whom they slew were manifestly of a like sort; for neither side had any weapon so short that they did not reach one another therewith. And the Athenians did not abandon their own dead, and they gave back some of the enemy's under a truce.

[18] As for Epaminondas, on the other hand, when he considered that within a few days it would be necessary for him to depart, because the time fixed for the campaign had expired, and that if he should leave behind him unprotected the people to whom he had come as an ally, they would be besieged by their adversaries, while he himself would have completely tarnished his own reputation — for with a large force of hoplites he had been defeated at Lacedaemon by a few, and defeated likewise in a cavalry battle at Mantinea, and through his expedition to Peloponnesus had made himself the cause of the union of the Lacedaemonians, the Arcadians, the Achaeans, the Eleans, and the Athenians — he thought for these reasons that it was not possible for him to pass by the enemy without a battle, since he reasoned that if he were victorious, he would make up for all these things, while if he were slain, he deemed that such an end would be honourable for one who was striving to leave to his fatherland dominion over Peloponnesus. [19] Now the fact that Epaminondas himself entertained such thoughts, seems to me to be in no wise remarkable — for such thoughts are natural to ambitious men; but that he had brought his army to such a point that the troops flinched from no toil, whether by night or by day, and shrank from no peril, and although the provisions they had were scanty, were nevertheless willing to be obedient, this seems to me to be more remarkable. [20] For at the time when he gave them the last order to make ready, saying that there would be a battle, the horsemen eagerly whitened their helmets at his command, the hoplites of the Arcadians painted clubs upon their shields, as though they were Thebans, and all alike sharpened their spears and daggers and burnished their shields. [21] But when he had led them forth, thus made ready, it is worthwhile again to note what he did. In the first place, as was natural, he formed them in line of battle. And by doing this he seemed to make it clear that he was preparing for an engagement; but when his army had been drawn up as he wished it to be, he did not advance by the shortest route towards the enemy, but led the way towards the mountains which lie to the westward and over against Tegea, so that he gave the enemy the impression that he would not join battle on that day.

[22] For as soon as he had arrived at the mountain, and when his battle line had been extended to its full length, he grounded arms at the foot of the heights, so that he seemed like one who was encamping. And by so doing he caused among most of the enemy a relaxation of their mental readiness for fighting, and likewise a relaxation of their readiness as regards their array for battle. It was not until he had moved along successive companies to the wing where he was stationed, and had wheeled them into line thus strengthening the mass formation of this wing, that he gave the order to take up arms and led the advance; and his troops followed. Now as soon as the enemy saw them unexpectedly approaching, no one among them was able to keep quiet, but some began running to their posts, others forming into line, others bridling horses, and others putting on breast-plates, while all were like men who were about to suffer, rather than to inflict, harm.

[23] Meanwhile Epaminondas led forward his army prow on, like a trireme, believing that if he could strike and cut through anywhere, he would destroy the entire army of his adversaries. For he was preparing to make the contest with the strongest part of his force, and the weakest part he had stationed far back, knowing that if defeated it would cause discouragement to the troops who were with him and give courage to the enemy. Again, while the enemy had formed their horsemen like a phalanx of hoplites — six deep and without intermingled foot soldiers — [24] Epaminondas on the other hand had made a strong column of his cavalry, also, and had mingled foot soldiers among them, believing that when he cut through the enemy's cavalry, he would have defeated the entire opposing army; for it is very hard to find men who will stand firm when they see any of their own side in flight. And in order to prevent the Athenians on the left wing from coming to the aid of those who were posted next to them, he stationed both horsemen and hoplites upon some hills over against them, desiring to create in them the fear that if they proceeded to give aid, these troops would fall upon them from behind.

Thus, then, he made his attack, and he was not disappointed of his hope; for by gaining the mastery at the point where he struck, he caused the entire army of his adversaries to flee. [25] When, however, he had himself fallen, those who were left proved unable to take full advantage thereafter even of the victory; but although the opposing phalanx had fled before them, their hoplites did not kill a single man or advance beyond the spot where the collision had taken place; and although the cavalry also had fled before them, their cavalry in like manner did not pursue and kill either horsemen or hoplites, but slipped back timorously, like beaten men, through the lines of the flying enemy. Furthermore, while the intermingled footmen and the peltasts, who had shared in the victory of the cavalry, did make their way like victors to the region of the enemy's left wing, most of them were there slain by the Athenians.

[26] When these things had taken place, the opposite of what all men believed would happen was brought to pass. For since well-nigh all the people of Greece had come together and formed themselves in opposing lines, there was no one who did not suppose that if a battle were fought, those who proved victorious would be the rulers and those who were defeated would be their subjects; but the deity so ordered it that both parties set up a trophy as though victorious and neither tried to hinder those who set them up, that both gave back the dead under a truce as though victorious, and both received back their dead under a truce as though defeated, and that while each party claimed to be victorious, [27] neither was found to be any better off, as regards either additional territory, or city, or sway, than before the battle took place; but there was even more confusion and disorder in Greece after the battle than before.

Source 2: Diodoros XV.84-89 (Loeb translation)
[84.1] Having learned from his captives that the Mantineians had come in full force to assist the Lacedaemonians, Epameinondas then withdrew a short distance from the city and encamped, and having given orders to prepare mess, he left some of the horsemen and ordered them to burn fires in the camp until the morning watch, while he himself set out with his army and hurried to fall suddenly on those who had been left in Mantineia. [2] Having covered much ground on the next day, he suddenly broke in on the Mantineians when they were not expecting it. However, he did not succeed in his attempt, although by his plan of campaign he had provided for every contingency, but, finding Fate opposed to him, contrary to his expectations he lost the victory. For just as he was approaching the unprotected city, one opposite side of Mantineia there arrived the reinforcements sent by Athens, six thousand in number with Hegesileôs their general, a man at that time renowned amongst his fellow citizens. He introduced an adequate force into the city and arrayed the rest of the army in expectation of a decisive battle. [3] And presently the Lacedaemonians and Mantineians made their appearance as well, whereat all got ready for the contest which was to decide the issue and summoned their allies from every direction. [4] On the side of the Mantineians were the Eleians, Lacedaemonians, Athenians, and a few others, who numbered all told more than twenty thousand foot and about two thousand horse. On the side of the Tegeans the most numerous and bravest of the Arcadians were ranged as allies, also Achaeans, Boeotians, Argives, some other Peloponnesians, and allies from outside, and all in all there were assembled above thirty thousand foot and not less than three thousand horse.

[85.1] Both sides eagerly drew together for the decisive conflict, their armies in battle formation, while the soothsayers, having sacrificed on both sides, declared that victory was foreshadowed by the gods. [2] In the disposition of forces the Mantineians with the rest of the Arcadians occupied the right wing with the Lacedaemonians as their neighbours and supporters, and next to these were Eleians and Achaeans; and the weaker of the remaining forces occupied the centre, while the Athenians filled the left. The Thebans themselves had their post on the left wing, supported by the Arcadians, while they entrusted the right to the Argives. The remaining multitude filled the middle of the line: Euboeans, Locrians, Sicyonians, Messenians, Malians, Aenianians, together with Thessalians and the remaining allies. Both sides divided the cavalry and placed contingents on each wing. [3] Such was the array of the armaments, and now as they approached one another, the trumpets sounded the battle charge, the armies raised the battle shout, and by the very volume of their cries betokened their victory. [4] Now as the Athenian horse attacked the Theban they suffered defeat not so much because of the quality of their mounts nor yet on the score of the riders' courage or experience in horsemanship, for in none of these departments was the Athenian cavalry deficient; but it was in the numbers and equipment of the light-armed troops and in their tactical skill that they were far inferior to their opponents. Indeed they had only a few javelin-throwers, whereas the Thebans had three times as many slingers and javelin-throwers sent them from the regions about Thessaly. [5] These people practised from boyhood assiduously this type of fighting and consequently were wont to exercise great weight in battles because of their experience in handling these missiles. Consequently the Athenians, who were continually being wounded by the light-armed and were harried to exhaustion by the opponents who confronted them, all turned and fled. [6] But having fled beyond the flanks, they managed to retrieve their defeat, for even in their retreat they did not break their own phalanx, and encountering simultaneously the Euboeans and certain mercenaries who had been dispatched to seize the heights nearby, they gave battle and slew them all. [7] Now the Theban horse did not follow up the fugitives, but, assailing the phalanx opposing them, strove zealously to outflank the infantry. The battle was a hot one; the Athenians were exhausted and had turned to flee, when the Eleian cavalry-commander, assigned to the rear, came to the aid of the fugitives and, by striking down many Boeotians, reversed the course of the battle. [8] So while the Eleian cavalry by their appearance in this fashion on the left wing retrieved the defeat their allies had sustained, on the other flank both cavalry forces lashed at one another and the battle hung for a short time in the balance, but then, because of the number and valour of the Boeotian and Thessalian horsemen, the contingents on the Mantineian side were forced back, and with considerable loss took refuge with their own phalanx.

[86.1] Now the cavalry battle had the foregoing issue. But when the infantry forces closed with the enemy in hand-to hand combat, a mighty, stupendous struggle ensued. For never at any other time when Greeks fought Greeks was such a multitude of men arrayed, nor did generals of greater repute or men more competent ever display such gallantry in battle. [2] For the most capable foot-soldiers of that time, Boeotians and Lacedaemonians, whose lines were drawn up facing one another, began the contest, exposing their lives to every risk. After the first exchange of spears in which most were shattered by the very density of the missiles, they engaged with swords. And although their bodies were all locked with one another and they were inflicting all manner of wounds, yet they did not leave off; and for a long time as they persisted in their terrible work, because of the superlative courage displayed on each side, the battle hung poised. [3] For each man, disregarding the risk of personal hurt, but desirous rather of performing some brilliant deed, would nobly accept death as the price of glory. [4] As the battle raged severely for a long time and the conflict took no turn in favour of either side, Epameinondas, conceiving that victory called for the display of his own valour also, decided to be himself the instrument to decide the issue. So he immediately took his best men, grouped them in close formation and charged into the midst of the enemy; he led his battalion in the charge and was the first to hurl his javelin, and hit the commander of the Lacedaemonians. Then, as the rest of his men also came immediately into close quarters with the foe, he slew some, threw others into a panic, and broke through the enemy phalanx. [5] The Lacedaemonians, overawed by the prestige of Epameinondas and by the sheer weight of the contingent he led, withdrew from the battle, but the Boeotians kept pressing the attack and continually slaying any men who were in the rear rank, so that a multitude of corpses was piled up.

[87.1] As for the Lacedaemonians, when they saw that Epameinondas in the fury of battle was pressing forward too eagerly, they charged him in a body. As missiles flew thick and fast about him, he dodged some, others he fended off, still others he pulled from his body and used to ward off his attackers. But while struggling heroically for the victory, he received a mortal wound in the chest. As the spear (doratos) broke and the iron point was left in his body, he fell of a sudden, his strength sapped by the wound. About his body a rivalry ensued in which many were slain on both sides, but at last with difficulty by their superiority in bodily strength, the Thebans wore the Lacedaemonians out. [2] As the latter turned and fled, the Boeotians pursued for a short time but turned back, considering it most essential to take possession of the bodies of the dead. So, when the trumpeters sounded recall for their men, all withdrew from battle and both sides set up trophies claiming the victory. [3] In fact the Athenians had defeated the Euboeans and mercenaries in the battle for the heights and were in possession of the dead; while the Boeotians, because they had overpowered the Lacedaemonians and were in possession of the dead, were for awarding the victory to themselves. 4 So for a long time neither side sent envoys to recover its dead, in order that it should not appear to yield the primacy; but later, when the Lacedaemonians were the first to have sent a herald to ask for the recovery of their dead, each side buried its own. [5] Epameinondas, however, was carried back to camp still living, and the physicians were summoned, but when they declared that undoubtedly as soon as the spear-point should be drawn from his chest, death would ensue, with supreme courage he met his end. [6] For first summoning his armour-bearer he asked him if he had saved his shield. On his replying yes and placing it before his eyes, he again asked, which side was victorious. At the boy's answer that the Boeotians were victorious, he said, "It is time to die," and directed them to withdraw the spear point. His friends press cried out in protest, and one of them said: "You die childless, Epameinondas," and burst into tears. To this he replied, "No, by Zeus, on the contrary I leave behind two daughters, Leuctra and Mantineia, my victories." Then when the spear point was withdrawn, without any commotion he breathed his last.

[88.1] For us who are wont to accord to the demise of great men the appropriate meed of praise, it would be most unfitting, so we think, to pass by the death of a man of such stature with no word of note. For it seems to me that he surpassed his contemporaries not only in skill and experience in the art of war, but in reasonableness and magnanimity as well. [2] For among the generation of Epameinondas were famous men: Pelopidas the Theban, Timotheüs and Conon,  also Chabrias and Iphicrates, Athenians all, and, besides, Agesilaüs the Spartan, who belonged to a slightly older generation. Still earlier than these, in the times of the Medes and Persians, there were Solon, Themistocles, Miltiades, and Cimon, Myronides, and Pericles and certain others in Athens, and in Sicily Gelon, son of Deinomenes, and still others. [3] All the same, if you should compare the qualities of these with the generalship and reputation of Epameinondas, you would find the qualities possessed by Epameinondas far superior. For in each of the others you would discover but one particular superiority as a claim to fame; in him, however, all qualities combined. For in strength of body and eloquence of speech, furthermore in elevation of mind, contempt of lucre, fairness, and, most of all, in courage and shrewdness in the art of war, he far surpassed them all. [4] So it was that in his lifetime his native country acquired the primacy of Hellas, but when he died lost it and constantly suffered change for the worse and finally, because of the folly of its leaders, experienced slavery and devastation. So Epameinondas, whose valour was approved among all men, in the manner we have shown met his death.

[89.1] The states of Greece after the battle, since the victory credited to them all was in dispute and they had proved to be evenly matched in the matter of valour, and, furthermore, were now exhausted by the unbroken series of battles, came to terms with one another. When they had agreed upon a general truce and alliance, they sought to include the Messenians in the compact. [2] But the Lacedaemonians, because of the irreconcilable quarrel with them, chose not to be parties to the truce and alone of the Greeks remained out of it.

Source 3: Pausanias, Description of Greece, IX.15.5
On reaching Mantineia with his army, he was killed in the hour of victory by an Athenian. In the painting at Athens of the battle of the cavalry the man who is killing Epaminondas is Grylus, the son of the Xenophon who took part in the expedition of Cyrus against king Artaxerxes and led the Greeks back to the sea.

Source 4: Cornelius Nepos, Life of Epaminondas, 9
(1) Finally, when commander at Mantinea, in the heat of battle he charged the enemy too boldly. He was recognised by the Lacedaemonians, and since they believed that the death of that one man would ensure the safety of their country, they all directed their attack at him alone and kept on until, after great bloodshed and the loss of many men, they saw Epaminondas himself fall valiantly fighting, struck down by a lance (sparo) hurled from afar. (2) By his loss the Boeotians were checked for a time, but they did not leave the field until they had completely defeated the enemy. (3) But Epaminondas, realising that he had received a mortal wound, and at the same time that if he drew out the head of the lance, which was separated from the shaft and fixed in his body, he would at once die, retained it until news came that the Boeotians were victorious. As soon as he heard that, he cried: "I have lived long enough, since I die unconquered." Then he drew out the iron and at once breathed his last. 

Source 5: Justin, Epitome of the History of Pompeius Trogus, IX.vii-viii
[VII] (After Epameinondas’ unsuccessful attempt to seize Sparta) But there was no long cessation of hostilities; for the Spartan youth, incited by the heroism and glorious deeds of the old men, could not be prevented from promptly engaging in the field. Just as victory inclined to the Thebans, Epaminondas, while he was discharging the duty, not only of a general, but of a gallant soldier, was severely wounded. When this was known, fear fell upon one side from deep concern, and amaze on the other from excess of joy; and both parties, as if by mutual agreement, retired from the field. [VIII] A few days after, Epaminondas died, and with him fell the spirit of the Theban state. For as, when you break off the point of a dart, you take from the rest of the steel the power of wounding, so when that general of the Thebans (who was, as it were, the point of their weapon) was taken off, the strength of their government was so debilitated, that they seemed not so much to have lost him as to have all died with him. They neither carried on any memorable war before he became their leader, nor were they afterwards remarkable for their successes, but for their defeats; so that it is certain that with him the glory of his country both rose and fell. Whether he was more estimable as a man or a general is undecided; for he never sought power for himself, but for his country, and was so far from coveting money, that he did not leave sufficient to pay for his funeral. Nor was he more desirous of distinction than of wealth; for all the appointments that he held were conferred on him against his will, and he filled his posts in such a manner that he seemed to add lustre to his honours rather than to receive it from them. His application to learning, and his knowledge of philosophy, were such, that it seemed wonderful how a man bred up in literature could have so excellent a knowledge of war. The manner of his death, too, was not at variance with his course of life; for when he was carried back half dead into the camp, and had recovered his breath and voice, he asked only this question of those that stood about him, "whether the enemy had taken his shield from him when he fell?" Hearing that it was saved, he kissed it, when it was brought to him, as the sharer of his toils and glory. He afterwards inquired which side had gained the victory, and hearing that the Thebans had got it, observed, "It is well," and so, as it were congratulating his country, expired.

Source 6: Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers
[53]Meanwhile the Athenians passed a decree to assist Sparta, and Xenophon sent his sons to Athens to serve in the army in defence of Sparta. [54] According to Diocles in his Lives of the Philosophers, they had been trained in Sparta itself. Diodorus came safe out of the battle without performing any distinguished service, and he had a son of the same name (Gryllus) as his brother. Gryllus was posted with the cavalry and in the battle which took place about Mantinea, fought stoutly and fell, as Ephorus relates in his twenty-fifth book, Cephisodorus being in command of the cavalry and Hegesilaus the strategos. In this battle Epaminondas also fell. On this occasion Xenophon is said to have been sacrificing, with a chaplet on his head, which he removed when his son's death was announced. But afterwards, upon learning that he had fallen gloriously, he replaced the chaplet on his head.

Source 7: Plutarch, Life of Agesilaus 35
Agesilaus 34 deals with Epameinondas’ failure to seize Sparta. Then:

[35.1] A few days afterwards a battle was fought near Mantinea, in which Epaminondas had already routed the van of the Lacedaemonians, and was still eagerly pressing on in pursuit of them, when Anticrates, a Spartan, faced him and smote him with a spear, as Dioscorides tells the story; but the Lacedaemonians to this day call the descendants of Anticrates "machaeriones," or swordsmen, because he used a sword for the blow. [2] For the Lacedaemonians were filled with such admiring love for him because of the fear in which they held Epaminondas while living, that they voted honours and gifts to Anticrates himself, and to his posterity exemption from taxes, an immunity which in my own day also is enjoyed by Callicrates, one of the descendants of Anticrates.
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: RichT on March 24, 2022, 04:33:55 PM
For the terrain, the current best guess (AFAIK) is the 'narrows' north of Tripoli (,+Greece/@37.5578757,22.4164634,2914m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x136010329dd53ba3:0xd362b5a068a2f4ef!8m2!3d37.616667!4d22.383333). Here's the  street view (,22.4024979,3a,75y,101.4h,90.12t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sYLN9qod-Z354aY2SVm-X3g!2e0!7i16384!8i8192).

The site is somewhat spoiled by modern buildings and by a dirty great motorway running across it, but it's still rewarding to visit. The wounded Epaminondas was supposedly carried onto the hill by modern Skope.

Mantineia itself is also a great site, the walls (though low) still show up well today (,22.3926826,1694m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x136010329dd53ba3:0xd362b5a068a2f4ef!2sMantineia+220+05,+Greece!3b1!8m2!3d37.616667!4d22.383333!3m4!1s0x136011c9b5522949:0x6b4ad20270cb95fd!8m2!3d37.5860799!4d22.4215434).
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Duncan Head on March 26, 2022, 07:36:47 PM
There’s another bit of Pausanias that’s relevant:

Source 3a: Pausanias, Description of Greece, VIII.11.5-10
[5] As you go along the road leading from Mantineia to Pallantium, at a distance of about thirty stades, the highway is skirted by the grove of what is called the Ocean, and here the cavalry of the Athenians and Mantineans fought against the Boeotian horse. Epaminondas, the Mantineans say, was killed by Machaerion, a man of Mantineia. The Lacedaemonians on their part say that a Spartan killed Epaminondas, but they too give Machaerion as the name of the man.

[6] The Athenian account, with which the Theban agrees, makes out that Epaminondas was wounded by Grylus. Similar is the story on the picture portraying the battle of Mantineia. All can see that the Mantineans gave Grylus a public funeral and dedicated where he fell his likeness on a slab in honour of the bravest of their allies. The Lacedaemonians also speak of Machaerion as the slayer, but actually at Sparta there is no Machaerion, nor is there at Mantineia, who has received honours for bravery.

[7] When Epaminondas was wounded, they carried him still living from the ranks. For a while he kept his hand to the wound in agony, with his gaze fixed on the combatants, the place from which he looked at them being called Skopē (Look) by posterity. But when the combat came to an indecisive end, he took his hand away from the wound and died, being buried on the spot where the armies met.

[8] On the grave stands a pillar, and on it is a shield with a serpent (drakonta) in relief. The serpent means that Epaminondas belonged to the race of those called the Spartoi, while there are slabs on the tomb, one old, with a Boeotian inscription, the other dedicated by the Emperor Hadrian, who wrote the inscription on it.

[9] Everybody must praise Epaminondas for being the most famous Greek general, or at least consider him second to none other. For the Lacedaemonian and the Athenian leaders enjoyed the ancient reputation of their cities, while their soldiers were men of a spirit, but the Thebans, whom Epaminondas raised to the highest position, were a disheartened people, accustomed to obey others.

[10] Epaminondas had been told before by an oracle from Delphi to beware of “ocean.” So he was afraid to step on board a man-of-war or to sail in a merchant-ship, but by “ocean” the god indicated the grove “Ocean” and not the sea.
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Chris on March 27, 2022, 12:10:37 PM
Thanks very much for the detailed information and sources, Duncan.

To be honest, having done Second Mantinea previously, I doubt if I will return for another visit.

I find myself awaiting the teased announcement of the selection for Battle Day 2024.

Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: RichT on March 27, 2022, 12:28:33 PM
Further on the location, although the modern village of Skope would seem to fix the location absolutely (with Pausanias' description), it's not quite that simple, given the 19th C habit of naming modern towns and villages retrospectively to match ancient accounts. Skope (the hill) was called Myrtikas until the 19th C, I believe. The location is quite plausible though.
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Duncan Head on April 02, 2022, 09:49:02 PM
I should really have finished going through Pausanias for relevant bits before posting, because there is more, though I am not sure how helpful it is.

Source 3b: Pausanias, Description of Greece, continued

[VIII.8.10] Fate decreed that the Thebans should restore the Mantineans from the villages to their own country after the engagement at Leuctra, but when restored they proved far from grateful. They were caught treating with the Lacedaemonians and intriguing for a peace with them privately without reference to the rest of the Arcadian people. So through their fear of the Thebans they openly changed sides and joined the Lacedaemonian confederacy, and when the battle took place at Mantineia between the Lacedaemonians and the Thebans under Epaminondas, the Mantineans joined the ranks of the Lacedaemonians.


[VIII.9.9] In the market-place is a bronze portrait-statue of a woman, said by the Mantineans to be Diomeneia, the daughter of Arcas, and a hero-shrine of Podares, who was killed, they say, in the battle with the Thebaus under Epaminondas. Three generations ago they changed the inscription on the grave and made it apply to a descendant of this Podares with the same name, who was born late enough to have Roman citizenship.

[VIII.9.10] In my time the elder Podares was honored by the Mantineans, who said that he who proved the bravest in the battle, of themselves and of their allies, was Grylus, the son of Xenophon; next to Grylus was Cephisodorus of Marathon, who at the time commanded the Athenian horse. The third place for valour they give to Podares.

Pausanias’s account of Mantineian history seems largely to be based on local traditions, and there has been some debate about how reliable it is, especially since Mantineia was destroyed and re-founded in the centuries between our battle and his time, so there is reason to doubt how much reliable information he genuinely had access to. There is a discussion in James Roy’s article “Pausanias and Hadrian, Mantinea and Bithynion” ( The monument to Podares survives, though there is some doubt ( as to whether it genuinely dates to the fourth century BC or is a later creation.

Presumably this story is the basis of the sentence in Wikipedia’s account of the battle that “The Mantinean leader Podares offered heroic resistance, but when he was killed the Mantinean hoplites fled the field”. In fact Pausanias does not name Podares as the commander of the Mantineians, though a general is probably more likely to be honoured than a rank=and-file hero, so it may be a good guess.
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Duncan Head on April 05, 2022, 04:20:06 PM
Source 8: Frontinus, Stratagems II.2.12
Epaminondas, leader of the Thebans, when about to marshal his troops in battle array against the Spartans, ordered his cavalry to engage in manoeuvres along the front. Then, when he had filled the eyes of the enemy with clouds of dust and had caused them to expect an encounter with cavalry, he led his infantry around to one side, where it was possible to attack the enemy's rear from higher ground, and thus, by a surprise attack, cut them to pieces.

Source 9: Polyaenus, Stratagems II.3.14
To gain the advantage of ground over the Lacedaemonians near Tegea, Epaminondas ordered the commander of his cavalry, with sixteen hundred men, to ride up and down, a small distance in front of the army. By this means they raised a cloud of dust, which prevented the enemy from observing his movements. Then he moved away, and took possession of the higher ground. When the Spartans saw his new position, they realised the reason for the movements of his cavalry, which they had been unable to understand beforehand.

Although the name of the battle is not mentioned (“near Tegea” is not completely wrong for Mantineia, though a bit misleading), it is generally accepted that this anecdote relates to the battle of Mantineia in 362. The dust-cloud would serve to cover Epaminondas’ redeployment from marching across the enemy front to offering battle, and also cover his left wing infantry’s deployment into its deep formation. If Diodoros (above, source 2) is correct that the Thebans and allies fielded about 3,000 cavalry, Polyaenus' 1,600 might represent the cavalry contingent from one wing of the army, presumably the leading, left, wing.
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Duncan Head on April 24, 2022, 03:12:18 PM
Source 10: Plutarch, Sayings of Kings and Commanders, Epaminondas 24
When in his last battle he had been wounded and carried into a tent, he called for Daiphantus, and next after him for Iolaidas, and, learning that the men were dead, he bade the Thebans to make terms with the enemy, since no general was left to them.

This is of no great value except to give possible names for two Theban subordinate commanders - and perhaps to hint at the scale of their losses.

Source 11: Plutarch, Apophthegmata Laconica (“Sayings of Spartans”); 214 C-D (or Agesilaos 75)
[C]In the battle of Mantineia he (Agesilaos) urged the Spartans to pay no attention to any of the others, but to fight against Epameinondas, for he said that only men of intelligence are valiant and may be counted upon to bring victory; if, therefore, they could make away with that one man, they would very easily reduce the others to subjection; for these were unintelligent and worthless. [D] And so it came to pass. For while the victory rested with Epameinondas, and the rout of the enemy was complete, as he turned and was cheering on his men, one of the Spartans struck him a fatal blow; and when he had fallen, Agesilaus's men, rallying from their flight, made the victory hang in the balance, and the Thebans showed themselves far inferior, and the Spartans far superior.

This may be the only ancient source that indicates that Agesilaos was actually present at Mantineia.
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Duncan Head on April 28, 2022, 11:59:59 AM
Source 12: Polybius XII.25f
This will be rendered still more evident from what I have now to say, particularly from certain passages in the history of Ephoros. This writer in his history of war seems to me to have had some idea of naval tactics, but to be quite unacquainted with fighting on shore. … But when he tells the story of the battle of Leuktra between the Thebans and Lakedaimonians, or again that of Mantineia between the same combatants, in which Epameinondas lost his life, if in these one examines attentively and in detail the arrangements and evolutions in the line of battle, the historian will appear quite ridiculous, and betray his entire ignorance and want of personal experience of such matters. The battle of Leuktra indeed was simple, and confined to one division of the forces engaged, and therefore does not make the writer's lack of knowledge so very glaring: but that of Mantineia was complicated and technical, and is accordingly unintelligible, and indeed completely inconceivable, to the historian. This will be rendered clear by first laying down a correct plan of the ground, and then measuring the extent of the movements as described by him.

Part of Polybios’ critical essay on previous historians. The work of the 4th-century historian Ephoros of Kyme is lost, but from what remains and from ancient comments he is thought to be valuable but somewhat fanciful. What is important here is that he is the main source used by Diodoros for much of the fourth century – our Source 2. Polybios, who was not contemporary with events but was a citizen of Megalopolis only 50 kilometres or so away and apparently knew the ground, would therefore discount much of Diodoros’ account. John Buckler (The Theban Hegemony, p.316 note 57) argues that “The movements that do not fit the topography are, in my opinion, especially those of the cavalry on the flanks” and “Diodoros’ cavalry engagement on the wings is another of Ephoros’ battle-pieces” – in other words, cliché’d and fanciful.
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Duncan Head on July 07, 2022, 09:10:33 PM
Source 13: Aischines, The Speech on the Embassy
My first experience in the field was in what is called “division service” (εν τοῖς μέρεσι, en tois meresi) when I was with the other men of my age and the mercenary troops of Alkibiades, who convoyed the provision train to Phleious. We fell into danger near the place known as the Nemean ravine, and I so fought as to win the praise of my officers. I also served on the other expeditions in succession, whether we were called out by age-groups or by divisions.

I fought in the battle of Mantineia, not without honour to myself or credit to the city. I took part in the expeditions to Euboea, and at the battle of Tamynae as a member of the picked corps (ἐν τοῖς ἐπιλέκτοις, en tois epilektois) I so bore myself in danger that I received a wreath of honour then and there, and another at the hands of the people on my arrival home…

The Athenian orator Aischines rehearses his patriotic credentials, in a speech given in 343 BC referring to an embassy to Macedonia in 347.

Yes, I realise that knowing the name of an individual hoplite in the Athenian ranks is probably not of much help in recreating the battle, but it’s nice to know.
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Jim Webster on July 08, 2022, 01:12:41 PM
But it's a useful reminder as to the status of the man in the hoplite ranks
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Chuck the Grey on July 08, 2022, 09:01:28 PM
But it's a useful reminder as to the status of the man in the hoplite ranks

Aeschylus' gravestone doesn't mention his theatrical fame, only his military service at Marathon. That speaks to his view that his service as a citizen soldier was more important that his dramatic awards. I've always liked that about the man.
Title: Re: Second Battle of Mantineia (362 BC)
Post by: Jim Webster on July 09, 2022, 05:22:46 AM
But it's a useful reminder as to the status of the man in the hoplite ranks

Aeschylus' gravestone doesn't mention his theatrical fame, only his military service at Marathon. That speaks to his view that his service as a citizen soldier was more important that his dramatic awards. I've always liked that about the man.

We find out almost by accident that Socrates was a Hoplite at the battle of Potidaea