Today the “city” of Leuktra in Boiotia consists of three very small villages on a hill. The site owes its fame to the great battle that the Thebans in 371 B.C. fought against the Spartans. In this battle, the Thebans led by Epameinondas defeated the much larger army of the Spartans and thus ended the myth of the Spartan invincibility forever. To make this ‘coup’ possible, Epameinondas had revolutionized his tactics by deploying his strongest troops on his left flank, directly opposite his opponent’s elite, 700 citizens of Sparta. By doubling his own troops on the left, the Thebans succeeded in defeating the elite Spartan troops, after which the Spartan allies fled. The Thebans were at the top in Greece for several decades, during which they did everything they could to prevent a Spartan renaissance by, among other things, founding Megalopolis and Messene, who together had to watch the Spartan enemy.

The plain below the village now houses the (heavily restored) Victory Monument of the Thebans, a round pedestal decorated with triglyphs, on which lies a domed roof with nine large shields in relief. On top was a bronze figure of a warrior (Epameinondas?).