Second Messenian War

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Second Messenian War
date=685 BC-668 BC [cite news | title = Early History of Peloponnesus and Sparta to the end of the Messenian Wars, B.C. 668 | url = | publisher = Elpenor | date = | accessdate = 2008-02-23]
territory=Messenia remains under Spartan control
result=Spartan victory
Cretan mercenaries
Aristocrates II

The Second Messenian War was a war between the Ancient Greek states of Messenia and Sparta. It started around 40 years after the end of the First Messenian War with the uprising of a slave rebellion. This war lasted from 685 to 668.


The First Messenian War lasted from 743 BC to 724 BC and was said to have started because some Messenian men carried off some Spartan women praying at a temple. When the Messenians refused to return them, the Spartans invaded Messenia and besieged the Messenians in their citadel at Ithome. However, in 724 BC, Ithome fell and the Spartans turned the inhabitants of Messenia into slaves. [cite news | title = The Messenian War | url = | publisher = The Baldwin Project | date = | accessdate = 2008-02-23]


At the first battle, the Battle of Deres, happened before the allies arrived but Aristomenes still fought so well that he was made the new king of Messenia by his people. He followed this up by crossing into Sparta and placed a shield in the temple of Athena in order to scare the Spartans. This forced the Spartans to send to Delphi where they were told to gain a leader from Athens. Upon doing so the Spartans marched on the Messenians at Boar's Grave where they met Aristomenes and his troops who defeated them greatly. [Smith, William. (2000 March, 01). Early History of Peloponnesus and Sparta to the end of the Messenian Wars, B.C. 668. A Smaller History of Ancient Greece (chapter IV, pg 10). Retrieved 7 Feb, 2008, from] .

However, it was the Spartans who had the upper hand at the battle of Great Trench where the Spartans bribed the Messenian allies into retreating through the Messenian lines when the Spartans advanced into battle. This caused pandemonium and many Messenian leaders were lost. Again, this loss forced the Messenians into a fortified city at Mt. Eira (Ira). It was while fortified here that the Messenians started to use the land as enemy territory and several raids were made of the surrounding towns, some even lead by Aristomenes himself.

During this time Aristomenes was captured but before he was killed he escaped his holding and made it back to Eira. The Messenians held Eira for over ten years before the Spartans made their last attack. Before Eira fell, however, the Spartans allowed the women and children to be released along with Aristomenes. The ones who did not escape Eria were again turned into helots and most of the ones who escaped fled to Italy. Aristomenes himself left for Rhodes where he died and was honored as a hero [Xanthippos, Demetrios. (2003 Jun.6) The Second Messenian War. Retrieved Feb 3, 2008 from]

References and further reading


* Pausanias (geographer)
* Diodorus Siculus
* Tyrtaeus

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • First Messenian War — Infobox Military Conflict conflict = First Messenian War. partof = Messenian Wars caption = date = c. 743 BC c. 724 BC place = Messenia territory = result = status = combatant1 = Sparta combatant2 = Messenia combatant3 = commander1 = commander2 …   Wikipedia

  • Messenian Wars — is a term of special historical application. It means the wars between Messenia and Sparta in the 8th and 7th centuries BC as well as the 4th century BC. First Messenian War Second Messenian War Third Messenian War …   Wikipedia

  • Cretan War — For the 17th century Ottoman–Venetian conflict, see Cretan War (1645–1669). Cretan War Philip V of Macedon, the darling of Greece , the main antagonist of the war …   Wikipedia

  • Corinthian War — Part of the Spartan hegemony Hoplites in combat …   Wikipedia

  • Chremonidean War — Date 267 BCE – 261 BCE Location Greece Result Macedonian victory; Antigonid Hegemony over the Greek city states is confirmed …   Wikipedia

  • Cleomenean War — Greece at around the time of the Cleomenean …   Wikipedia

  • Lelantine War — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Lelantine War caption= date=Sometime between late 8th century BC and first half of 7th century BC place=Euboea island, Greece territory=Eretria lost control of Andros, Tenos, Kea islands result=subject to debate …   Wikipedia

  • ancient Greek civilization — ▪ historical region, Eurasia Introduction       the period following Mycenaean civilization, which ended in about 1200 BC, to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC. It was a period of political, philosophical, artistic, and scientific… …   Universalium

  • Spartan army — Military history of Sparta redirects here. For other uses, see Military history of Sparta (disambiguation). The Spartan army was the military force of Sparta, one of the leading city states of ancient Greece. The army stood at the centre of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Spartan Army — The Spartan Army was the military force of Sparta, one of the leading city states of ancient Greece. The army stood at the centre of the Spartan state, whose citizens primary obligation was to be good soldiers.Connolly (2006), p. 38] Subject to… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.