During the first quarter of the fourth century, Sparta was the undisputed leader of mainland Greece, having the power to force its will on most city-states that opposed it. But a new league was emerging in the region of Boeotia and, under the command of the brilliant general Epaminondas, the previously obscure city of Thebes ended centuries of Spartan military domination in just one winter, freeing its Messenian slaves in the process. John Lewis recounts this great story of human liberation and provides a picture of the state of political and cultural affairs in the major Greek city-states up to the time of the Macedonian invasions.