--Maximus of Tyre, Dissertations VIII., Translated from the Greek by Claudius Larjot
Epamonidas liberated Thebes from Sparta’s control by weaponizing love. In Thebes there were many teenagers (adolescentuli) who were loved, and many youths (iuvenes) who were loving them. Epamonidas put weapons in their hands, and created a squadron of lovers who had incredible valor and were undefeatable; whether in battle line or in melee they easily repelled the enemy’s assault, the likes of which have never been seen, not even under the skillful leadership of the Trojan War hero Nestor, nor in the descendants of Heracles in the Peloponnesian campaign, nor in the Peloponnesian campaign against Athens.
For each man had to prove themselves to their lover, either to fight well in their beloved’s eyes, or out of necessity, since each man had to defend his own sweetheart (amicissimum). And in turn, a rivalry spurred on their bravery, so they could perform equally as well as their lover, just as the puppies of hunting dogs follow the bigger dogs in the pack.