Pelopidas (pĭlŏpˈĭdəs) [key], d. 364 B.C., Theban general. When the Spartans seized the citadel of Thebes (now Thívai) in 382, he fled to Athens and prepared the coup that recovered the city (379). He fostered and commanded the Sacred Band, an elite corps that sparked the Theban victories against Sparta at Tegyra (375) and Leuctra (371). Under Epaminondas he joined in the invasion (370–369) of the Peloponnesus. On an expedition into Macedonia (368) he was captured by the Thessalian Alexander of Pherae, but Epaminondas rescued him. Pelopidas went the next year to Persia as ambassador to Artaxerxes. He was killed at the hour of victory in a battle with the Thessalians at Cynoscephalae (now Khalkodhónion hills). Plutarch wrote his life.