The Thessalians now applied to Thebes; Pelopidas, who was sent to their assistance, was treacherously seized and thrown into prison (368), and it was necessary to send Epaminondas with a large army to secure his release.
He showed great heroism in the defence of Sparta against Epaminondas immediately before the battle of Mantineia (362).
In 370 B.C. Epaminondas besieged it unsuccessfully for three days.
The Phocian levy took part in Epaminondas' inroads into Peloponnesus, except in the final campaign of Mantinea (370-62), from which their contingent was withheld.
Callicratidas pronounced against the enslavement of Greeks by Greeks, but violated his own principle, to which, however, Epaminondas and Pelopidas appear to have been faithful.
After having withstood an attempt under Epaminondas to restore it to the Lacedaemonians, Byzantium joined with Rhodes, Chios, Cos, and Mausolus, king of Caria, in throwing off the yoke of Athens, but soon after sought Athenian assistance when Philip of Macedon, having overrun Thrace, advanced against it.
The influence of politics may be strongly traced in the literature of that time, for the first romances produced by the new school were all of a political character: Keikoku Bidan (Model for Statesmen, with Epaminondas for hero) by Yano Fumin; Seichubai(Plum-blossomsin snow) andKwakwan-o(Nightingale Among Flowers) by Suyehiro.
The next important event was the serious attempt on the part of Epaminondas to challenge the Athenian naval supremacy.
The expedition of Epaminondas in 363) that there was ground for suspecting disloyalty in many quarters.
After the battle of Leuctra, when the power of Thebes was founded by Epaminondas, Pelopidas went to Susa (367) and restored the old alliance between Persia and Thebes.
In the following campaign of 362 Mantineia, after narrowly escaping capture by the Theban general Epaminondas, became the scene of a decisive conflict in which the latter achieved Achaeans and jealousy of Megalopolis, was punished in 222 by a thorough devastation of the city, which was now reconstituted as a dependency of Argos and renamed Antigoneia.
MESSENE, an ancient Greek city, the capital of Messenia, founded by Epaminondas in 369 B.C., after the battle of Leuctra and the first Theban invasion of the Peloponnese.
The site was chosen by Epaminondas and lay on the western slope of the mountain which dominates the Messenian plain and culminates in the two peaks of Ithome and Eua.
After the second Messenian war (see Sparta) the conquered Messenians were reduced to the status of helots, from which Epaminondas liberated them three centuries later after the battle of Leuctra (371 B.C.).
On the other hand the lack of good harbours hindered its maritime development; and the Boeotian nation, although it produced great men like Pindar, Epaminondas, Pelopidas and Plutarch, was proverbially as dull as its native air.
Boeotian contingents fought in all the campaigns of Epaminondas, and in the later wars against Phocis (356-346); while in the dealings with Philip of Macedon the federal cities appear merely as the tools of Thebes.
After the battle of Leuctra (371 B.C.) Epaminondas invited the exiled Messenians scattered in Italy, Sicily, Africa and elsewhere to return to their country: the city of Messene was founded in 369 to be the capital of the country and, like Megalopolis in Arcadia, a powerful check on Sparta.
In 370 Agesilaus tried to restore Spartan prestige by an invasion of Mantinean territory, and his prudence and heroism saved Sparta when her enemies, led by Epaminondas, penetrated Laconia that same year, and again in 362 when they all but succeeded in seizing the city by a rapid and unexpected march.
In the consequent wars with Sparta the Theban army, trained and led by Epaminondas and Pelopidas, proved itself the best in Greece.
With the death of Epaminondas in 362 the city sank again to the position of a secondary power.