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At age 20, Spartan males became full-time soldiers, and remained on active duty until age In the phalanx, the army worked as a unit in a close, deep formation, and made coordinated mass maneuvers.
No one soldier was considered superior to another. Going into battle, a Spartan soldier, or hoplite, wore a large bronze helmet, breastplate and ankle guards, and carried a round shield made of bronze and wood, a long spear and sword.
Spartan warriors were also known for their long hair and red cloaks. Spartan women had a reputation for being independent-minded, and enjoyed more freedoms and power than their counterparts throughout ancient Greece.
While they played no role in the military, female Spartans often received a formal education, although separate from boys and not at boarding schools.
In part to attract mates, females engaged in athletic competitions, including javelin-throwing and wrestling, and also sang and danced competitively.
As adults, Spartan women were allowed to own and manage property. Additionally, they were typically unencumbered by domestic responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning and making clothing, tasks which were handled by the helots.
Marriage was important to Spartans, as the state put pressure on people to have male children who would grow up to become citizen-warriors, and replace those who died in battle.
Men who delayed marriage were publicly shamed, while those who fathered multiple sons could be rewarded. In preparation for marriage, Spartan women had their heads shaved; they kept their hair short after they wed.
Married couples typically lived apart, as men under 30 were required to continue residing in communal barracks.
In order to see their wives during this time, husbands had to sneak away at night. In B. In a further blow, late the following year, Theban general Epaminondas c.
The Spartans would continue to exist, although as a second-rate power in a long period of decline. In ,Otto , the king of Greece, ordered the founding of the modern-day town of Sparti on the site of ancient Sparta.
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How will it end? Who was the first man? Where do souls go after death? Sparta was frequently a subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in Western culture following the revival of classical learning.
The admiration of Sparta is known as laconophilia. Bertrand Russell wrote:. Sparta had a double effect on Greek thought: through the reality, and through the myth The reality enabled the Spartans to defeat Athens in war; the myth influenced Plato's political theory, and that of countless subsequent writers The ancient Greeks used one of three words to refer to the Spartan city-state and its location.
First, "Sparta" refers primarily to the main cluster of settlements in the valley of the Eurotas River. Herodotus seems to use "Lacedaemon" for the Mycenaean Greek citadel at Therapne , in contrast to the lower town of Sparta.
This term could be used synonymously with Sparta, but typically it denoted the terrain in which the city was located. The residents of Sparta were often called Lacedaemonians.
The ancients sometimes used a back-formation , referring to the land of Lacedaemon as Lacedaemonian country. Eventually, the adjective came to be used alone.
It does occur in Greek as an equivalent of Laconia and Messenia during the Roman and early Byzantine periods, mostly in ethnographers and lexica of place names.
The latter defines Sparta to be Lacedaemonia Civitas ,  but Isidore defines Lacedaemonia as founded by Lacedaemon, son of Semele, which is consistent with Eusebius' explanation.
Lakedaimona was until the name of a province in the modern Greek prefecture of Laconia. Sparta is located in the region of Laconia, in the south-eastern Peloponnese.
Ancient Sparta was built on the banks of the Eurotas River , the largest river of Laconia, which provided it with a source of fresh water.
The valley of the Eurotas is a natural fortress, bounded to the west by Mt. Taygetus 2, m and to the east by Mt. Parnon 1, m. To the north, Laconia is separated from Arcadia by hilly uplands reaching m in altitude.
These natural defenses worked to Sparta's advantage and protected it from sacking and invasion. Though landlocked, Sparta had a vassal harbor, Gytheio , on the Laconian Gulf.
As king, he named his country after himself and the city after his wife. A shrine was erected to him in the neighborhood of Therapne. Suppose the city of Sparta to be deserted, and nothing left but the temples and the ground-plan, distant ages would be very unwilling to believe that the power of the Lacedaemonians was at all equal to their fame.
Their city is not built continuously, and has no splendid temples or other edifices; it rather resembles a group of villages, like the ancient towns of Hellas, and would therefore make a poor show.
Until the early 20th century, the chief ancient buildings at Sparta were the theatre , of which, however, little showed above ground except portions of the retaining walls ; the so-called Tomb of Leonidas , a quadrangular building, perhaps a temple, constructed of immense blocks of stone and containing two chambers; the foundation of an ancient bridge over the Eurotas ; the ruins of a circular structure; some remains of late Roman fortifications ; several brick buildings and mosaic pavements.
The remaining archaeological wealth consisted of inscriptions, sculptures, and other objects collected in the local museum, founded by Stamatakis in and enlarged in Partial excavation of the round building was undertaken in and by the American School at Athens.
The structure has been since found to be a semicircular retaining wall of Hellenic origin that was partly restored during the Roman period.
In , the British School at Athens began a thorough exploration of Laconia , and in the following year excavations were made at Thalamae , Geronthrae , and Angelona near Monemvasia.
In , excavations began in Sparta itself. A "small circus" as described by Leake proved to be a theatre-like building constructed soon after CE around the altar and in front of the temple of Artemis Orthia.
It is believed that musical and gymnastic contests took place here, as well as the famous flogging ordeal administered to Spartan boys diamastigosis.
The temple, which can be dated to the 2nd century BCE, rests on the foundation of an older temple of the 6th century, and close beside it were found the remains of a yet earlier temple, dating from the 9th or even the 10th century.
The votive offerings in clay, amber, bronze, ivory and lead dating from the 9th to the 4th centuries BCE, which were found in great profusion within the precinct range, supply invaluable information about early Spartan art.
Though the actual temple is almost completely destroyed, the site has produced the longest extant archaic inscription in Laconia, numerous bronze nails and plates, and a considerable number of votive offerings.
The late Roman wall enclosing the acropolis, part of which probably dates from the years following the Gothic raid of CE , was also investigated.
Besides the actual buildings discovered, a number of points were situated and mapped in a general study of Spartan topography, based upon the description of Pausanias.
Built around the early 8th century BCE, the Spartans believed it had been the former residence of Menelaus. In the British School in Athens started excavations around the Menelaion in an attempt to locate Mycenaean remains in the area.
Among other findings, they uncovered the remains of two Mycenaean mansions and found the first offerings dedicated to Helen and Menelaus. These mansions were destroyed by earthquake and fire, and archaeologists consider them the possible palace of Menelaus himself.
Its area was approximately equal to that of the "newer" Sparta, but denudation has wreaked havoc with its buildings and nothing is left of its original structures save for ruined foundations and broken potsherds.
The prehistory of Sparta is difficult to reconstruct because the literary evidence was written far later than the events it describes and is distorted by oral tradition.
This civilization seems to have fallen into decline by the late Bronze Age , when, according to Herodotus, Macedonian tribes from the north called Dorians by those they conquered marched into the Peloponnese and, subjugating the local tribes, settled there.
The evidence suggests that Sparta, relatively inaccessible because of the topography of the Taygetan plain, was secure from early on: it was never fortified.
Nothing distinctive in the archaeology of the Eurotas River Valley identifies the Dorians or the Dorian Spartan state. The legendary period of Spartan history is believed to fall into the Dark Age.
It treats the mythic heroes such as the Heraclids and the Perseids , offering a view of the occupation of the Peloponnesus that contains both fantastic and possibly historical elements.
The subsequent proto-historic period, combining both legend and historical fragments, offers the first credible history. Between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE the Spartans experienced a period of lawlessness and civil strife, later attested by both Herodotus and Thucydides.
During the following centuries, Sparta's reputation as a land-fighting force was unequalled. The likely total of 40,—50, made Sparta one of the larger Greek city-states;   however, according to Thucydides, the population of Athens in BCE was ,—,, making it much larger.
In BCE a small force led by King Leonidas about full Spartiates, Thespians, and Thebans, although these numbers were lessened by earlier casualties made a legendary last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae against the massive Persian army, inflicting very high casualties on the Persian forces before finally being overwhelmed.
Even though this war was won by a pan-Greek army, credit was given to Sparta, who besides providing the leading forces at Thermopylae and Plataea, had been the de facto leader of the entire Greek expedition.
In later Classical times, Sparta along with Athens , Thebes , and Persia were the main powers fighting for supremacy in the northeastern Mediterranean.
In the course of the Peloponnesian War , Sparta, a traditional land power, acquired a navy which managed to overpower the previously dominant flotilla of Athens, ending the Athenian Empire.
At the peak of its power in the early 4th century BCE, Sparta had subdued many of the main Greek states and even invaded the Persian provinces in Anatolia modern day Turkey , a period known as the Spartan Hegemony.
The alliance was initially backed by Persia, which feared further Spartan expansion into Asia. The event severely damaged Sparta's naval power but did not end its aspirations of invading further into Persia, until Conon the Athenian ravaged the Spartan coastline and provoked the old Spartan fear of a helot revolt.
After a few more years of fighting, in BCE the Peace of Antalcidas was established, according to which all Greek cities of Ionia would return to Persian control, and Persia's Asian border would be free of the Spartan threat.
This was the first time that a full strength Spartan army lost a land battle. As Spartan citizenship was inherited by blood, Sparta increasingly faced a helot population that vastly outnumbered its citizens.
The alarming decline of Spartan citizens was commented on by Aristotle. Sparta never fully recovered from its losses at Leuctra in BCE and the subsequent helot revolts.
Nonetheless, it was able to continue as a regional power for over two centuries. Even during its decline, Sparta never forgot its claim to be the "defender of Hellenism" and its Laconic wit.
When Philip created the League of Corinth on the pretext of unifying Greece against Persia, the Spartans chose not to join, since they had no interest in joining a pan-Greek expedition unless it were under Spartan leadership.
Thus, upon defeating the Persians at the Battle of the Granicus , Alexander the Great sent to Athens suits of Persian armour with the following inscription: "Alexander, son of Philip, and all the Greeks except the Spartans, give these offerings taken from the foreigners who live in Asia".
A large Macedonian army under general Antipater marched to its relief and defeated the Spartan-led force in a pitched battle.
On his knees, the Spartan king slew several enemy soldiers before being finally killed by a javelin. Spartan political independence was put to an end when it was eventually forced into the Achaean League after its defeat in the decisive Laconian War by a coalition of other Greek city-states and Rome and the resultant overthrow of its final king Nabis.
Subsequently, Sparta became a free city under Roman rule, some of the institutions of Lycurgus were restored,  and the city became a tourist attraction for the Roman elite who came to observe exotic Spartan customs.
In CE Roman emperor Caracalla , in his preparation for his campaign against Parthia , recruited a man Spartan cohort lokhos.
Herodian described this unit as a phalanx , implying it fought like the old Spartans as hoplites, or even as a Macedonian phalanx.
Despite this, a gravestone of a fallen legionary named Marcus Aurelius Alexys shows him lightly armed, with a pilos-like cap and a wooden club.
The unit was presumably discharged in after Caracalla was assassinated. Doric -speaking populations survive today in Tsakonia. In the Middle Ages, the political and cultural center of Laconia shifted to the nearby settlement of Mystras , and Sparta fell further in even local importance.
Modern Sparti was re-founded in , by a decree of King Otto of Greece. Sparta was an oligarchy. The state was ruled by two hereditary kings of the Agiad and Eurypontid families ,  both supposedly descendants of Heracles and equal in authority, so that one could not act against the power and political enactments of his colleague.
The duties of the kings were primarily religious, judicial, and military. As chief priests of the state, they maintained communication with the Delphian sanctuary, whose pronouncements exercised great authority in Spartan politics.
In the time of Herodotus c. Aristotle describes the kingship at Sparta as "a kind of unlimited and perpetual generalship" Pol.
Civil and criminal cases were decided by a group of officials known as the ephors , as well as a council of elders known as the gerousia. The gerousia consisted of 28 elders over the age of 60, elected for life and usually part of the royal households, and the two kings.
Royal prerogatives were curtailed over time. From the period of the Persian wars, the king lost the right to declare war and was accompanied in the field by two ephors.
He was supplanted by the ephors also in the control of foreign policy. Over time, the kings became mere figureheads except in their capacity as generals.
Political power was transferred to the ephors and gerousia. An assembly of citizens called the a pella  was responsible for electing men to the gerousia for life.
The Spartan education process known as the agoge was essential for full citizenship. However, usually the only boys eligible for the agoge were Spartiates , those who could trace their ancestry to the original inhabitants of the city.
There were two exceptions. Trophimoi or "foster sons" were foreign students invited to study. The Athenian general Xenophon , for example, sent his two sons to Sparta as trophimoi.
Also, the son of a helot could be enrolled as a syntrophos  if a Spartiate formally adopted him and paid his way; if he did exceptionally well in training, he might be sponsored to become a Spartiate.
These laws meant that Sparta could not readily replace citizens lost in battle or otherwise, which eventually proved near fatal as citizens became greatly outnumbered by non-citizens, and even more dangerously by helots.
The other classes were the perioikoi , free inhabitants who were non-citizens, and the helots ,  state-owned serfs. Descendants of non-Spartan citizens were forbidden the agoge.
The Spartans were a minority of the Lakonian population. The helots were originally free Greeks from the areas of Messenia and Lakonia whom the Spartans had defeated in battle and subsequently enslaved.
In contrast to populations conquered by other Greek cities [ citation needed ] e. Instead, the helots were given a subordinate position in society more comparable to serfs in medieval Europe than chattel slaves in the rest of Greece.
Helots did not have voting or political rights. In other Greek city-states, free citizens were part-time soldiers who, when not at war, carried on other trades.
Since Spartan men were full-time soldiers, they were not available to carry out manual labour. Helot women were often used as wet nurses.
Helots also travelled with the Spartan army as non-combatant serfs. At the last stand of the Battle of Thermopylae , the Greek dead included not just the legendary three hundred Spartan soldiers but also several hundred Thespian and Theban troops and a number of helots.
There was at least one helot revolt c. In the spring of BC, the terms of surrender required the Athenians to tear down the long walls between the city and the port of Piraeus.
When internal dissent prevented the Athenians from restoring a government Lysander dissolved the democracy and set up a government of 30 oligarchs that would come to be known as the Thirty.
These were pro-Spartan men. Originally voted into power by the Assembly with a mandate to codify the laws, they immediately requested the assistance of the Spartan garrison to arrest their enemies.
The disquiet of Sparta's allies in the Peloponnesian League can be seen in the defiance of Boeotia , Elis and Corinth in offering refuge to those who opposed the rule of the Thirty.
Lysander departed Athens to establish decarchies, governing boards of 10 men, elsewhere in the former Athenian Empire, leaving the Spartan garrison under the command of the Thirty.
Taking advantage of a general anti-Spartan backlash and a change of regime in Boeotia to an anti-Spartan government, the exiles and non-Athenian supporters who were promised citizenship launched an attack from Boeotia on Athens under Thrasybulus and in the Battle of Phyle followed by the Battle of Munichia and the Battle of Piraeus defeated the Athenian supporters of the Thirty with the Spartan garrison regaining partial control of Athens.
They set up a decarchy. Athens was on the brink of civil war. Both sides sent delegates to present their case before King Pausanias.
The Thirty were heard first. They complained that Piraeus was being occupied by a Boeotian puppet government. Pausanias immediately appointed Lysander harmost governor , which required the assent of the ephors , and ordered him to Sparta with his brother, who had been made navarch over 40 ships.
They were to put down the rebellion and expel the foreigners. After the Ten had been fully heard, Pausanias, obtaining the assent of three out of five ephors, went himself to Athens with a force including men from all the allies except the suspect Boeotia and Corinth.
He met and superseded Lysander on the road. A battle ensued against Thrasybulus, whose forces killed two Spartan polemarchs but were driven at last into a marsh and trapped there.
Pausanias broke off. He set up the board of 15 peace commissioners that had been sent with him by the Spartan assembly and invited both sides to a conference.
The final reconciliation restored democracy to Athens. The Thirty held Eleusis, as they had previously massacred the entire population.
It was made independent of Athens as a refuge for supporters of the Thirty. A general amnesty was declared. The Spartans ended their occupation.
The former oligarchs repudiated the peace. After failure to raise assistance for their cause among the other states of Greece, they attempted a coup.
Faced with the new Athenian state at overwhelming odds they were lured into a conference, seized and executed.
Eleusis reverted to Athens. Meanwhile, Lysander, who had been recalled to Sparta after his relief by Pausanias, with the assistance of King Agis the second king charged Pausanias with being too lenient with the Athenians.
Not only was he acquitted by an overwhelming majority of the jurors except for the supporters of Agis including all five ephors, but the Spartan government repudiated all the decarchs that had been established by Lysander in former states of the Athenian Empire and ordered the former governments restored.
Sparta's close relationship with Cyrus the Younger continued when she gave covert support to his attempt to seize the Persian throne.
After Cyrus was killed at the Battle of Cunaxa , Sparta briefly attempted to be conciliatory towards Artaxerxes , the Persian king. In late BC, however, Sparta decided to answer an appeal of several Ionian cities and sent an expedition to Anatolia.
Though Persian rule meant to the cities of mainland Asia, the payment of tribute, this seems to have been considered a lesser evil than Spartan rule.
However, these inducements served mainly as encouragement to those who were already resentful of Sparta. In the event, it was Sparta who made the first aggressive move using, as a pretext, Boeotia's support for her ally Locris against Sparta's ally Phocis.
An army under Lysander and Pausanias was despatched. As Pausanias was somewhat lukewarm to the whole enterprise, Lysander went on ahead.
When Pausanias arrived rather than avenge the defeat he simply sought a truce to bury the bodies. For this Pausanias was prosecuted, this time successfully and went into exile.
At the Battle of Coronea , Agesilaus I , the new king of Sparta, had slightly the better of the Boeotians and at Corinth, the Spartans maintained their position, yet they felt it necessary to rid themselves of Persian hostility and if possible use Persian power to strengthen their own position at home: they therefore concluded with Artaxerxes II the humiliating Peace of Antalcidas in BC, by which they surrendered to the Great King of the Greek cities of the Asia Minor coast and of Cyprus , and stipulated for the autonomy of all other Greek cities.
Finally, Sparta and Persia were given the right to make war on those who did not respect the terms of the treaty.
The Boeotian League was broken up on the one hand while the Spartan dominated Peloponnesian League was excepted. Further, Sparta did not consider that autonomy included the right of a city to choose democracy over Sparta's preferred form of government.
After several years of fighting Olynthus was defeated and the cities of the Chalkidice were enrolled into the Peloponnesian League.
The real beneficiary of this conflict was Macedon , though Paul Cartledge considers it to be indulging in hindsight, to blame Sparta for enabling the rise of Philip II.
The alliance was initially backed by Persia, whose lands in Anatolia had been invaded by Sparta and which feared further Spartan expansion into Asia.
The event severely damaged Sparta's naval power but did not end its aspirations of invading further into Persia, until Conon the Athenian ravaged the Spartan coastline and provoked the old Spartan fear of a helot revolt.
After a few more years of fighting in BC, the Peace of Antalcidas was established, according to which all Greek cities of Ionia would return to Persian control, and Persia's Asian border would be free of the Spartan threat.
The leader of the anti-Spartan faction was executed after a show trial, and a narrow clique of pro-Spartan partisans was placed in power in Thebes, and other Boeotian cities.
It was a flagrant breach of the Peace of Antalcidas. Sparta started this war with the strategic initiative, however, Sparta failed to achieve its aims.
Again the Thebans refused to renounce their Boeotian hegemony, and the Spartan's sent a force under King Cleombrotus in an attempt to enforce Theban acceptance.
When the Thebans gave battle at Leuctra , it was more out of brave despair than hope. As Spartan citizenship was inherited by blood, Sparta now increasingly faced a helot population that vastly outnumbered its citizens.
The alarming decline of Spartan citizens was commented on by Aristotle , who viewed it as a sudden event. Most likely, this was the result of steady shifting of wealth among the citizen body, which was simply not as obvious until laws were passed allowing the citizens to give away their land plots.
Sparta never fully recovered from the losses that it suffered at Leuctra in BC and the subsequent helot revolts.
Nonetheless, it was able to continue as a regional power for over two centuries. By the winter of late BC, King Agesilaus took the field, not against Thebes, but in an attempt to preserve at least a toehold of influence for Sparta in Arkadia.
This backfired when, in response, the Arkadians sent an appeal for help to Boeotia. Boeotia responded by sending a large army, led by Epaminondas , which first marched on Sparta itself and then moved to Messenia where the helots had already rebelled.
Epaminondas made that rebellion permanent by fortifying the city of Messene. The final showdown was in BC, by which time several of Boetia's former allies, such as Mantinea and Elis , had joined Sparta.
Athens also fought with Sparta. The resulting Battle of Mantinea was won by Boetia and her allies but in the moment of victory, Epaminondas was killed.
Only Sparta itself refused because it would not accept the independence of Messenia. Sparta had neither the men nor the money to recover her lost position, and the continued existence on her borders of an independent Messenia and Arcadia kept her in constant fear for her own safety.
She did, indeed, join with Athens and Achaea in BC to prevent Philip II of Macedon passing Thermopylae and entering Phocis , but beyond this, she took no part in the struggle of Greece with the new power which had sprung up on her northern borders.
The final showdown saw Philip fighting Athens and Thebes at Chaeronea. Sparta was pinned down at home by Macedonian allies such as Messene and Argos and took no part.
Sparta alone refused to join Philip's "Corinthian League" but Philip engineered the transfer of certain border districts to the neighbouring states of Argos, Arcadia and Messenia.
A large Macedonian army under general Antipater marched to its relief and defeated the Spartan-led force in a pitched battle.
On his knees, the Spartan king slew several enemy soldiers before being finally killed by a javelin. The memory of this defeat was still fresh in Spartan minds when the general revolt against Macedonian rule known as the Lamian War broke out — hence Sparta stayed neutral.
Even during its decline, Sparta never forgot its claims on being the "defender of Hellenism" and its Laconic wit. When Philip created the league of the Greeks on the pretext of unifying Greece against Persia, the Spartans chose not to join—they had no interest in joining a pan-Greek expedition if it was not under Spartan leadership.
Thus, upon the conquest of Persia, Alexander the Great sent to Athens suits of Persian armour with the following inscription " Alexander, son of Philip, and all the Greeks except the Spartans , give these offerings taken from the foreigners who live in Asia [emphasis added] ".
Had Demetrius not decided to turn his attention to Macedonia the city would have fallen. They somewhat pulled the moral high ground from under themselves, by looting the area.
It was at this point that the Aetolians caught them and defeated them. Though Aetolia was primarily concerned with confining Achaea, because the cities concerned were hostile to Sparta, Aetolia needed to demonstrate her anti-Spartan credentials.
During the 3rd century BC, a social crisis slowly emerged: wealth had become concentrated amongst about families  and the number of equals who had always formed the backbone of the Spartan army had fallen to less than a tenth of its strong highpoint in the 7th century BC.
His program combined debt cancellation and land reform. Opposition from King Leonidas was removed when he was deposed on somewhat dubious grounds.
However, his opponents exploited a period when Agis IV was absent from Sparta and, on his return he was subjected to a travesty of a trial.
Aratus, who led the Achaean League forces, adopted a very cautious strategy, despite having 20, to Cleomenes men.
Cleomenes was faced with obstruction from the Ephors which probably reflected a general lack of enthusiasm amongst the citizens of Sparta.
The ephorate was abolished — indeed four out of five of them had been killed during Cleomenes' seizure of power. Cleomenes gave to Sphaerus , his stoic advisor, the task of restoring the old severe training and simple life.
Historian Peter Green comments that giving such a responsibility to a non-Spartan was a telling indication of the extent that Sparta had lost her Lycurgian traditions.
For others, especially among the poor, Cleomenes inspired hope. This hope was quickly dashed when Cleomenes started taking cities and it became obvious that social reform outside Sparta was the last thing on his mind.
Cleomenes' reforms had as their aim, the restoration of Spartan power. Initially Cleomenes was successful, taking cities that had until then been part of the Achaean League  and winning the financial backing of Egypt.
With Egypt deciding to cut financial aid Cleomenes decided to risk all on one battle. The ephors were restored, whilst the kingship was suspended.
At the beginning of the Social War in BC, envoys from Achaea unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Sparta to take the field against Aetolia.
Sparta then immediately entered the war on the side of Aetolia. The sources on Nabis , who took power in BC, are so uniformly hostile that it is impossible today to judge the truth of the accusation against him — that his reforms were undertaken only to serve Nabis' interests.
Were we to trust the accounts given by Polybius and Livy , we would dismiss him little better than a bandit chieftain, holding Sparta by means of extreme cruelty and oppression and using mercenary troops to a large extent in his wars.
The historian W. Forest is willing to take these accusations at face value including that he murdered his ward, and participated in state sponsored piracy and brigandage — but not the self-interested motives ascribed to him.
He sees him as a ruthless version of Cleomenes, sincerely attempting to solve Sparta's social crisis. It was this point that Achaea switched her alliance with Macedon to support Rome.
As Achaea was Sparta's main rival, Nabis leaned towards Macedonia. It was getting increasingly difficult for Macedonia to hold Argos , so Philip V of Macedon decided to give Argos to Sparta which increased tension with the Achaean League.
Nonetheless, he was careful not to violate the letter of his alliance with Rome. Though the territory under his control now consisted only of the city of Sparta and its immediate environs, Nabis still hoped to regain his former power.
After ravaging the surrounding countryside, Philopoemen returned home. Within a few months, Nabis appealed to the Aetolian League to send troops so that he might protect his territory against the Romans and the Achaean League.
Once there, he compelled the Spartans to join the Achaean League ending their independence. Subsequently, Sparta become a free city in the Roman sense, some of the institutions of Lycurgus were restored  and the city became a tourist attraction for the Roman elite who came to observe exotic Spartan customs.
After BC, sources for Spartan history are somewhat fragmentary. A passage in Suetonius reveals that the Spartans were clients of the powerful patrician clan of the Claudii.
During the late 1st century BC and much of the 1st century AD Sparta was dominated by the powerful family of the Euryclids which acted something like a "client-dynasty" for the Romans.
During the 2nd century AD a 12 kilometers long aqueduct was built. The Romans fielded Spartan auxiliary troops in their wars against the Parthians under the emperors Lucius Verus and Caracalla.
In AD, Alaric sacked Sparta and, though it was rebuilt, the revived city was much smaller than before. Some settlement by Proto-Slavic tribes occurred around this time.
The Slavs occupied most of the Peloponnese, as evidenced by Slavic toponyms, with the exception of the eastern coast, which remained in Byzantine hands.
The latter was included in the thema of Hellas , established by Justinian II ca. Under Nikephoros I , following a Slavic revolt and attack on Patras , a determined Hellenization process was carried out.
According to the not always reliable Chronicle of Monemvasia , in the Byzantine governor of Corinth went to war with the Slavs, exterminated them, and allowed the original inhabitants to claim their own lands.
They regained control of the city of Patras and the peninsula was re-settled with Greeks. The entire peninsula was formed into the new thema of Peloponnesos , with its capital at Corinth.
There was also continuity of the Peloponnesian Greek population. Fine considers it is unlikely that a large number of people could have easily been transplanted into Greece in the 9th century; this suggests that many Greeks had remained in the territory and continued to speak Greek throughout the period of Slavic occupation.
According to Byzantine sources, the Mani Peninsula in southern Laconian remained pagan until well into the 10th century.
In his De administrando imperio , Emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos also claims that the Maniots retained autonomy during the Slavic invasion, and that they descend from the ancient Greeks.
Doric -speaking populations survive today in Tsakonia. During its Middle Ages, the political and cultural center of Laconia shifted to the nearby settlement of Mystras.
On their arrival in the Morea, the Frankish Crusaders found a fortified city named Lacedaemonia Sparta occupying part of the site of ancient Sparta, and this continued to exist,  though greatly depopulated, even after the Prince of Achaea William II Villehardouin had in founded the fortress and city of Mystras , on a spur of Taygetus some 3 miles northwest of Sparta.
This passed shortly afterwards into the hands of the Byzantines and became the centre of the Despotate of the Morea , until the Ottoman Turks under Mehmed II captured it in In it came into the possession of the Venetians , from whom it was wrested again in by the Turks.
Thus for nearly six centuries it was Mystras and not Sparta which formed the center and focus of Laconian history. The Mani Peninsula region of Laconia retained some measure of autonomy during the Ottoman period, and played a significant role in the Greek War of Independence.
Until modern times, the site of ancient Sparta was occupied by a small town of a few thousand people who lived amongst the ruins, in the shadow of Mystras, a more important medieval Greek settlement nearby.
The Palaiologos family the last Byzantine Greek imperial dynasty also lived in Mystras. In , after the Greek War of Independence, King Otto of Greece decreed that the town was to be expanded into a city.
Cambridge University Press. See pp. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ancient Dorian Greek state known as Sparta.