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Social Studies

The Theban Sacred Band: Defenders of Greek Freedom

In this 3-session class, you will learn about the history and significance of the Theban Sacred Band, an elite fighting unit made up of 150 pairs of male companions who freed Greece from Spartan domination and died defending Greek freedom.
David Balfour
1 total review for this teacher
1 review for this class
Completed by 1 learner
  There are no upcoming classes.
year olds
learners per class


Charged upfront
$5 per class
Meets 1x per week
Over 3 weeks
60 minutes per class

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Class Experience

This class is taught in English.
In this class, you will learn about:
•	the history and significance of the Theban Sacred Band
•	the nature of ancient Greek warfare
•	the military and political history of Greece in the 4th century B.C.E.
•	great Theban generals such as Gorgidas, Pelopidas, and Epaminondas
•	critical battles including Tegyra, Leuctra, Mantinea, and Chaeronea
I am a progessional historian specializing in ancient and medieval history.  I have 40+ years of experience teaching at the college and high school levels.  I have done considerable research on the Theban Sacred Band, including on-site research in Greece, and I have published two articles on the topic.
No homework
Assessment will be informal and based upon student participation in the class.
1 hour per week in class, and maybe some time outside of class.
The Sacred Band was a fighting unit made up of 150 pairs of male lovers.  The class will include a brief discussion of Greek sexual mores as they relate to the Sacred Band as well as a brief assessment of the Sacred Band's place in LGBTQ+ history.
Suggested Reading:
Buckler, John. The Theban Hegemony, 371-362 B.C. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1980.
Cartledge, Paul. Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece.  London: Picador, 2020.
Cole, Myke.  The Bronze Lie: Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy.  Oxford: Osprey, 2021.
Romm, James.  The Sacred Band: Three Hundred Theban Lovers Fighting to Save Greek Freedom.  New York: Scribner, 2021.


David BalfourFormer High School Social Studies Teacher and Professor of History/Vice President for Academic Affairs at College of St. Joseph, Rutland VT
1 total review
1 completed class

About Me

Hello, my name is David Balfour.  I am a lifelong educator with forty years of teaching experience at the high school and college levels.  I have a doctoral degree in medieval history from the University of Connecticut, and I have taught a wide... 
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