We tried to make peace among the Greek city-states and they refused to abide by the rules of the treaty so we must show them they cannot disrespect Sparta. The battle will take place in 3 days on an open plain outside of Leuctra. I have heard Sparta has gather a decent amount of men to help fight this battle. I believe I heard we will be bringing 11,000 to the battlefield. I do not know how many we will face, but I do know that we will win and show those heathens never to disrespect Sparta again. I have talked to a blacksmith who is a good friend of my fathers and he has made me a great spear and armor.
Now all I must do is wait for the call to march towards the battlefield. Today is the day, we have received word that we are to gather and march towards the battlefield. I find the King and join in with the other personal body guards of his. While I wait to march out of Sparta, I try on my amour, it fits perfects and my spear feels perfect in my hand. My shield is heavy, but nothing | am not used to carrying. Within in the hour we get into formation and march out of Sparta. It was a good 2-day march to the battlefield and once we got there we could see that the Thebans had already set up camp across the plain.
As we arrive not far behind us come more been that had been donated to use from our allies. By high noon, we have our full army and camp is set up. My duty is to protect the king, so I stand guard at his tent and wait for further orders. On our arrival, the king had sent out scouts to gather information on the Theban army. They returned not long after and told the king that it looks as if the Theban army consisted of roughly 5,000 to 7,000 men. The king ordered me to spread the word throughout our army, which I did. I could see the confidence among the other soldiers when they were told the size of the Theban army.
I to was very confident in our victory, I had fought against larger armies and had been victorious. Now we are fighting an army that is smaller than us, my confidence was very high that day. If only I had known what the next day would bring. Later on in the evening | witnessed a group of our soldiers ride of towards the Thebans side of the plain. They were chasing down a group of men, I could not tell who they were, but could only assume they were enemies. Later these soldier return and I find out they were chasing down a group of non-soldiers and were confronted by a group of Theban cavalry.
During the encounter a great commander was killed. At this point, there was a lot of angry throughout our army. Many pushed to attack the Theban army now. The king denied this wish and told everyone to stay in the camp and make no advance on the Theban army until tomorrow. For there to be a victory, every must work together. There was still angry throughout our army, but everyone understood what the king had said and did not make advancements on the Theban army. That night was quiet, we all sat around eating well and drinking well.
We could see the fire and hear chatter coming from the Theban camp. It is odd to me, how at this moment we are almost the same. We are sitting here eating what could be our last meal and chatting with fellow companions about random things. I am sure that is what was going on in the Theban camp. We are all humans and we all also Greeks. Tomorrow all those similarities will not matter, it is a fight for life or death and only one will leave the battlefield victorious. After the meals and drinks, it was time to rest, tomorrow brings a big day. At sunrise, the king starts to assemble the army.
With the king and us personal body guards and a block of 8-12 men in front of us on the far-left side and the rest of the army lined up across the plain in blocks of 8-12 men. The king has the cavalry position themselves out front. Once everyone is set in place we stand and wait for the order to advance. I cannot see the Theban army, but only assume they are mocking our formations. There is a moment of nothing, but then the battle begins. There is an exchange of javelin and stone throwing between both armies. Unfortunately for both sides, this short attack caused limited damages.
I was far enough back in the formation, so I did not have to worry about being struck. I could see men raise their shields over their heads and javelins stick into the wood. Once this short barrage of thrown weapons was over, the king ordered our cavalry to push forward. The battle has begun, I was staring t us, but it was nothing unusual. I just had to wait, and protect the king from anyone who may push their way through our lines. My shield was up and ready, spear at my forearm. We created a good wall around the king for protection, there was no way that anyone was going to penetrate through the men in front of us and us.
Soon after the cavalry made there advance on the Thebans, something did not seem right. I could hear people screaming loud and could see that the formations in the center of the plain had been forced out of formation. It was then that I saw our cavalry retreating to our camp. Then I heard the clash of shields, spears and swords. The Theban cavalry had forced our cavalry to retreat causing our center lines to weaken. They then to that opportunity to attack the weakened spots. I was now more focused and anxious. They had caused havoc quickly in our lines and I was not expecting this to happen.
Not long after witnessed our retreating cavalry I saw something I have never seen before. general Epaminondas had not mimicked our formations, he lined himself up on our side of the plain and his block of soldier had to be 50 or more men deep. I was shocked and I could tell I was not the only one who was. I can feel and see the fear in the eyes of my companions. We were about to have the fight of our lives. The men in front of us greated a great shield and I could see the spears being thrusted from behind the wall. It was like waves of the ocean, men on both sides were falling to their death.
The small of blood and the screams of wounded men started to get louder and louder. Some of the kings body guards were telling him he should retreat, but he said no and stood his ground. It was not long before I was looking into the eyes of the Theban army. I was hopeful that we could still win due to the exhaustion of the Thebans in front of me, even though they still had a good 40 men left. I did not realize that during their fight with the block in front of us, they were getting help from the left side. I had never felt this scared in my life.
Here I stand face to face with my enemy, being over powered by my enemy. They were not tired and they were ready to push even harder. We exchanged spear blows back and forth. I hide behind my shield thrusting my spear out at anything I could hit. I killed a few of them, but my shield and helmet were constantly being struck. It was to the point that | could hardly stand my ground. My whole body hurt from the blows I had been taking and the exhaustion of constant spear thrusts. It felt like hours of fighting, one or two Thebans would fall, but there would be 5 more behind them.
They started to overtake us, I watched the light leave many of my companion’s eyes as the hit the ground. I was standing in puddles of blood and the smell of the blood was sickening. Even though we were losing men, we still stood our grounds and fought. As Spartans, its life or death and that is exactly what we were doing. I don’t know what had happened, all I can remember is thrusting my spear and as many Thebans as I could and I slipped on the blood under my feet. I felt a sharp pain and look down at a spear stuck into my ribs.
I fell to my knees ready for the death blow, but it did not come. The Thebans ran past me and ran towards the king. My thoughts were not, I am dying, but that| have failed to protect the king. I watch our king being struck and put down. They did not kill him, but they had wounded him enough to take him captive. Once they had our king they dismantled and the battle soon came to a halt. As I was picked up by fellow Spartans, it struck me, we had just lost. The Spartans, we had just lost our title of being invincible and the Thebans are now the most powerful city-state in Greece.