Thebes, who was exiled by the oligarchic party, only to return after some
time in Athens, taking over the citadel and establishing a democracy.
Dressed as farmers Pelopidas and his men managed to get into Thebes without being recognized and then, at a friends' house, disguised themselves as female dancers, performing for the leading aristocrats. When the leaders were drunk, Pelopidas and his party took out their daggers and slayed the aristocrats.
Pelopidas led the Sacred Band of Theban Youth, an important factor in the Theban general Epaminondas' victory over the Spartans at Leuctra in 371 BC.
Three years later Pelopidas was taken prisoner by the Thessalian tyrant Alexander of Pherae after an unsuccsessful expedition, and Epaminondas came to his rescue, releasing him from the tyrant. After this, Pelopidas served as Theban ambassador in Susa, Persia. He defeated Alexander of Pherae at the Battle of Cynoscephalae, but was killed in action.