II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > D. Classical Greece and the Hellenistic World > 3. The Archaic Period, 800–510 B.C.E. > c. Sparta and the Peloponnese
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
c. Sparta and the Peloponnese
c. 900–700
The Rise of Sparta. In the 9th century, four or five Laconian villages joined to form the city of Sparta, with two royal dynasties, the Agiads and the Eurypontids, reigning jointly. Between 800 and 730, Sparta conquered the rest of Laconia. Around the same time, the Spartans reorganized their constitution, introducing lifelong military training, a rigid oligarchic government, and a code of absolute obedience and austerity. At the age of seven, boys were taken from their parents for military training. Men of military age lived away from their wives in barracks and ate at common messes (syssitia). Five tribes replaced the three Dorian ones, each providing a regiment (lochos) for the army. A council (Gerousia) composed of 28 elders and the two kings proposed legislation, which was then approved by the assembly (Apella), made up of adult male citizens (spartiates). The chief magistrates (ephors), eventually five in number, had wide powers. The non-Spartan Laconians, called Perioikoi, tithed to the Spartans and were drafted into the army but had no vote in the assembly. The introduction of this constitution was later ascribed to Lycurgus, though some scholars doubt his existence.  1
c. 735–715
The First Messenian War. Sparta, led by King Theopompus (c. 720–675), defeated Messenia and divided it into allotments (klaroi), rent which supported the individual Spartiates, leaving them free to train for war. The Spartans turned the Messenians into serfs (helots) who worked the land for them.  2
Corinth, ruled by an oligarchy under the Bacchiadae clan, founded two colonies: one at Syracuse in Sicily and another on the island of Corcyra (modern Corfu) in northwestern Greece.  3
The Megarians colonized Megara Hyblaea in Sicily.  4
Achaea and Troezen jointly founded a colony at Sybaris in southern Italy, which became proverbial for its wealth and opulence.  5
c. 710
Achaea settled the colony of Croton on the “toe” of Italy.  6
Sparta founded its only colony, Taras (Tarentum), in southern Italy (See 706).  7
c. 680
King Pheidon of Argos defeated Sparta and Tegea in the Battle of Hysiae (669). He later overcame Epidaurus and Athens, and Argos became the leading Greek power. Pheidon may have introduced coinage into mainland Greece, perhaps with a mint at Aegina.  8
Megara colonized Chalcedon on the Asiatic side of the Hellespont. It was called “the city of the blind,” because the settlers missed a better site at Byzantium on the European shore.  9
Megara founded a colony at Byzantium.  10
The Cypselid Tyranny in Corinth. Cypselus (657–625) overthrew the Bacchiad oligarchy and made himself tyrant of Corinth.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.