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Epaminondas
(418 - 362 BC) Greece

Epaminondas

Politician and general

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Epaminondas led Thebes in its greatest days in the fourth century. This great Theban general and statesman, loved his young comrades Asopichus and Cephisodorus. But the main, and lifelong lover of Epaminondas was Pelopidas. Epaminondas was a military genius, leader of the homosexual "Army of Lovers". The idea behind the "Army of Lovers" was that men would fight more bravely if they were in the company of their beloved. The theory held true for many years as the "Army" was victorious in many battles.

Pelopidas, was born into a rich family of Thebes. He could never persuade Epaminondas to accept his charity, so Pelopidas stepped down to join him in his simple way of life. Pelopidas was interested in athletics, while Epaminondas preferred learning. They remained together throughout their lives. Their affection started at a battle near Mantinea (384 BC), where Pelopidas was wounded seven times and fainted on a heap of dead men.

Epaminondas stepped up to save him and his amor from the enemy, and alone, held off a crowd until help arrived to save them both. Later Pelopidas became the commander of the Sacred Band, and Epaminondas was the commander-in-chief of the army. After being killed in the battle of Mantinea, he was buried in a tomb with Asopichus and Leuctra, two young soldiers who had been his lovers and who had also fallen in battle.

(See Plutarch: Life of Pelopidas)

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The statue is at Stowe Gardens, Buckingham, U.K.

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