Epaminondas: one of the few rulers ever to defeat the Spartans decisively, leading the Thebans to victory at the Battle of Leuctra!

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Epaminondas (418-362 BC) led the Thebans to an improbable victory over Cleombrotus and the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra. As a result of the victory, he liberated the Messenian helots from Spartan slavery. He was declared 'the first man of Greece'. 10 years after the victory at Leuctra, a Spartan spear pierced his chest, killing him in the Battle of Mantinea.