363 LEUCTRA 371BC: The Destruction of Spartan Dominance
The Battle of Leuctra, fought in early July in 371 BC, saw the destruction of the Spartan dominance of Greece and introduced several tactical innovations which are still studied and emulated to this day. Sparta's hegemony of Greece (which had been in effect since the Persian wars of 480/79 and especially since the Peloponnesian War in 431-404 BC) was wiped away in a single day of destruction. Sparta would never recover from the losses in manpower which were suffered at Leuctra.
Sparta's defeat created a power vacuum in Greece which several states attempted to fill (the Theban Hegemony and the resurgence of Athens) and gave rise to the dominance of Macedon in the 350s when Macedon would conquer Greece in 338 BC at the battle of Chaeronea. None of which would have been possible without the events at Leuctra.
The Theban phalanx at Leuctra, with its great depth of 50 ranks introduced new tactical thinking in Greek warfare and this thinking eventually led to the Macedonian phalanx of Philip and Alexander which conquered Greece and the Persian Empire less than 40 years later. The Theban commander at Leuctra, Epaminondas, also introduced the idea of drawing up his forces in echelon and fighting with a refused flank - something Alexander emulated in all of his major battles and which has been attempted at countless battles since.
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Updated as of 11/23/2023ABBREVIATIONS: dj-dust jacket, biblio-bibliography, b/w-black and white, illust-illustrations, b/c-book club addition.
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