Battle of Mantinea (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Ground battle in the war between Tegea and Mantinea. Result: Theban victory eclipsed when Epaminondas died of his wounds after the battle.
When a dispute arose between the Peloponnese cities of Tegea and Mantinea, two rival coalitions were formed. Sparta and Athens joined the Mantineans, and Thebes and its Boeotian allies came to the assistance of Tegea. After failing to capture Sparta by surprise, Epaminondas, at the command of the Boeotian force, marched on Mantinea. The road to the city was blocked by an allied force under King Agesilaus II of Sparta. Agesilaus had assembled his troops across a mile-long plain flanked by steep ridges on both sides. When Epaminondas came upon this force, he ordered his men to march across the front and ground arms, giving the impression that he would not present battle that day. Suddenly, however, the Boeotian force attacked, with the phalanx advancing in oblique formation. Epaminondas’s loaded left wing (fifty ranks deep) crashed against the enemy right (twelve ranks deep), and Theban cavalry and peltasts (light troops) pinned down the enemy left and exposed the right flank. The Mantineans and their allies fled, but Epaminondas was mortally wounded. As news of Epaminondas’s death spread through the battlefield, the Thebans abandoned the pursuit of the enemy, thus failing to consolidate their victory.
(The entire section is 311 words.)
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