Sacred Band: a heroic tradition

The Sacred Company of Thebes was one of the most important military units that operated in Ancient Greece. It was founded in 379 BC by Gorgidas and consisted of 150 pairs of Theban hoplites-warriors. It was later reorganized and achieved its greatest prominence under Pelopidas (Theban General).

Before Pelopidas, the Sacred Band served exclusively in the front line of the Theban flank, resulting in the scattering of its men, while Pelopidas was the first to use it as an unbreakable force.
The first battle where the Sacred Band of Pelopidas had a significant contribution was the one at Tegyra, where he halted a larger Spartan force.

For the battle of Lefktra, it is generally believed that the role of the Sacred Band was instrumental in disrupting the attempted cyclotic movement of the Spartans.
For 35 years it was undefeated, until the battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, where it was completely annihilated by Philip’s Macedonian cavalry.

The men of the Sacred Band fell heroically to the last man. The Thebans buried the men of the Sacred Band in a group tomb at the site where they died. Part of their bones were found after excavations and are now exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Thiva.

The Thebans erected a magnificent marble lion on the tomb on a high pedestal, which today has been restored and can be viewed by visitors at the famous battlefield of Chaeronea in Viotia.