Among the exiled Thebans there was a noble and wealthy man called Pelopidas. He had been sorely wounded in a battle some time before, and would have died had he not been saved by a fellow-citizen named Epaminondas, who risked his own life in the rescue.

This man, too, was of noble birth, and was said to be a descendant of the men who had sprung from the dragon teeth sown by Cadmus, the founder of Thebes. Epaminondas, however, was very poor; and wealth had no charms for him, for he was a disciple of Pythagoras, a philosopher who was almost as celebrated as Socrates.