Statue of Spartan King Leonidas at the finish line on 'Spartathlon' running race.

Mark Read


Sparta, fearing no one, was without city walls or fortifications, which is probably why so few traces are left of a remarkable people. At the height of their power, Greece's toughest, incorruptible, legendary warriors triumphed over Athens and the rest of Greece in the Peloponnesian Wars (431–404 BC). However, decisive defeat by Thebes at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC was the beginning of the end; this was followed by successive subjugations by the Macedonians, Romans, Goths and Slavs.


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