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Sparta (Greek Σπάρτα): one of the main city-states of ancient Greece, leader of the Peloponnesian League. The city-state is also called Lacedaemon.
- Mentioned by Homer as an important town in early Greek history, ruled by king Menelaus and his queen Helen; Mycenaean finds corroborate Sparta's early importance
- Several villages on the plain of the river Eurotas become one city-state (although it took long before they developed a real urban unity)
- Inhabitants of the surrounding villages reduced to various lower statuses (a/o perioikoi)
- s.VIII BCE: no colonization, but expansion on the Peloponnese
- s.VII BCE: Conquest of Messenia, creation of the helots
- s.VI BCE: creation of the Peloponnesian League; Sparta becomes the leading power in Greece, although its ambitions are usually limited to the Peloponnese
- 480-479: Defense of the Peloponnese against Persian aggression forces Sparta to fight at Thermopylae, Plataea, Mycale
- 460-445: First Peloponnesian War against Athens
- 431-421: Archidamian War: Sparta is unable to curb Athenian expansion
- 413-404: Ionian or Decelean War: with Persian help, Sparta destroys the Delian League
- 395-387: Corinthian War; Sparta maintains its hegemony
- 371: Battle of Leuctra: end of Spartan hegemony, liberation of the helots of Messenia
- Sparta remains outside the Corinthian League and does not take part in Alexander's campaign against the Achaemenid Empire; on the contrary, the Spartan king Agis III attacks Macedonia
- Slow decline in the course of the third century
- Forced to join the Achaean League; part of the Roman province of Achaea after 146 BCE
- Retains some of its archaic custom to attract Roman "tourists"