Sparta to the Battle of Leuktra


1st Messenian War

730 BCE - 710 BCE

War with Messenia for more fertile lands and to capture helots

2nd Messenian War

650 BCE - 630 BCE

Helot revolt and recapture

Battle of Hysiai

631 BCE

War With Tegea

575 BCE - 550 BCE

Sparta was involved in many wars throughout it's history with it's neighbours in the Peloponnese, and through these wars it had opportunity to prove it's military prowess.

Persian Wars

546 BCE - 479 BCE

Persia vs Greece, King Xerxes invades because Greece lies on the edge of his territory and the Greece super-power Polis refuse to submit to Persian Authority. Ended at Battle in Persaea.

Leonidas Becomes King

490 BCE

Legendary King and leader in the Battle of Thermopylae

Battle of Thermopylae

480 BCE

the 'battle of the 300' in which Sparta displayed military prestige. All 300 Spartan Soldiers, including King Leonidas die contributing to the Spartan Mirage. This battle is the setting of the movie '300'.

Sparta Leaves Anti-Persian Alliance

478 BCE

1st Peloponnesian War

460 BCE - 445 BCE

2nd Peloponnesian War

431 BCE - 404 BCE

Athens (Delian League) vs Sparta (Peloponnesian League), after Athens gains power in Greece through colonisation. Sparta would eventually win with help from the Persians.

The Battle of Leuktra

371 BCE

The Battle which the Spartans lost, and which generally characterises their cities downfall. Also marks end of 'Historical Period' of Study.


295 BCE

Arcane League and Macedon Defeat Sparta



650 BCE

Wrote 'Maiden Songs', Spartan poetry for and about women.


630 BCE

Wrote 'War Poetry'. Spartan tradition from the 6th century says that Tyres came from Athens.


450 BCE

Wrote of Sparta's military power and the armies' esteem. Pro-Spartan.


420 BCE

Wrote 'The History of the Peloponnesian Wars'. He was an Athenian general, but was exiled for military failure, and therefore is extremely critical of both sides of the Pelop. war. Noted for his extreme attention to detail and historiographical methodology. Hated Herodotus.


370 BCE

Wrote 'The constitution of the Lakedaemonains' and was extremely pro-spartan after being exiled from Athens after acting at a mercenary for Sparta in 398BCE.


340 BCE

Wrote 'Criticisms of the Lacedaemonian Constitution'. Extremely and constantly anti-spartan, and highly critical of women's role in Sparta. Suggested that Spartan's were very money hungry.


100 AD

Wrote 'Life of Lykougos'. Plutarch had been a priest of Apollo at Delphi, so even though he was writing significantly after the fall of Sparta, he would have had access to important primary documents and oracles.



Pausanias wrote a long time after the fall of Sparta, as a Greek writing 'Travel Guide' for Roman tourists. Although this time gap meant that he may not have had access to reliable written sources, Pausanias's descriptions in his travel guide are proved reliable by modern archaeological evidence, which corresponds with his descriptions.

City + Cultural Establishment

Dorian Invasion

1100 BCE - 900 BCE

5 Villages Join to Form Sparta

Approx. 850 BCE

Villages (obai)
5 villages join to form Sparta. 1 Ephor each year represents each obai and citizens from these villages are Homoioi.
Periokoi come from the villages Pelana and Selasia
Helots from Messenia

First Musical Competition

Approx. 700 BCE

Sparta, Argos and Paros hold the first documented musical competition in Greece.


Approx. 620 BCE

Lykourgos is the mythical law-giver of Spartan tradition. He gave Sparta rules that were given to him by an oracle, therefore rules from the 'gods'. For this religious link he was considered a major religious and judicial figurehead. According to tradition, he refused to steal kingship by killing his stepson. The rules set forth by Lykougos are the 'Great Rhetra'.

Earthquake->Slave Revolt

464 BCE

Helot revolt resulting in the surrender at Thasos

First City Wall

380 BCE

Because of its natural defence, the mountains Taygetos and Parnon, Sparta did not require a city wall until near the end of it's power, when it became actively threatened.

Goths Sack Greece

267 CE

Athens, Corinth, Sparta, Argos are all sacked by Goths.


Built the Temple Artemis Orthia

950 BCE

The sanctuary of Artemis Ortheia is one of Sparta's oldest significant infrastructures, representing the high religious values of the Lacedaemonians.

Enlarged Artemis Ortheia

850 BCE

Rebuilt Artemis Orthia

550 BCE

The sanctuary of Artemis Orthia was rebuilt following destruction by a flood, representing the continues value of religion by the Spartan citizens.

Menelaion Built

450 BCE

The Menelaion is was a temple to honour the Homeric figure Menelaus and his wife Helen. Again this represents the value placed in mythology by the Lacedaemonians, that the Mycenaean spartans could still present human ideals.