Pelopidas (d. 364 B.C.), a Theban general and patriot, of noble birth, whose name is inseparably linked with that of his life-long friend and associate Epaminondas (q.v.). After the occupation of the Theban citadel by the Spartans (382 B.C.), Pelopidas, as a member of the democratic party, was forced to withdraw to Athens. In 379 he returned with his fellow-exiles, and expelled the Lacedaemonian garrison from Thebes. He was then elected one of the three Boeotarchs, or chief magistrates of the Thebans, and continued throughout the remainder of his life to hold high offices of state. As leader of the "sacred band," a chosen troop trained by himself, he played a conspicuous part in many brilliant victories over the Spartans. In 367 he undertook a successful embassy to the Persian monarch. He was slain at the battle of Cynoscephalae, in which his troops were victorious over the Thessalian tyrant, Alexander of Pherse.