Were the Spartans ever invaded prior to 370 BC?

Feb 2019
611
Thrace
It says on wiki that Epaminodas and co were the first hostile army to cross the Eurotas river in memory. Is that synonymous with Sparta never being invaded up to that point?
 
Sep 2014
983
Texas
I looked at a Timeline on Ancient History ency. and it does indicate what you say is true. Sparta was not conflict free, but most outsiders didn't want to mess with them. The cost would have been extremely high for Alexander or his father to bring them to heel, and they just isolated them.
 
Mar 2018
889
UK
Alexander and Philip were substantially after 370BC... The left Sparta alone because they were too weak to be a serious threat but served as a useful boogeyman to make the other Greeks behave.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,997
Australia
What exactly did Sparta have that anyone would want? After the reforms of Lycurgus they had no resources to speak of and minimal industry. Their primary export was military advisers and mercenaries. The only thing one would get by conquering Sparta is some bragging rights and an ungovernable underclass of slaves.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
The cost would have been extremely high for Alexander or his father to bring them to heel, and they just isolated them
I wouldn't say "extremely high", just a pointless waste of time and resources. The Spartan army would easily have been defeated by the Macedonians, although the mountainous terrain would prove some difficulties in fully subjugating Sparta. At the time both Philip and Alexander had far more important things to worry about. The Spartans were an after-thought and not seen as being worth the trouble. It wasn't concern about their prowess that convinced the Macedonians to leave them alone.
 
Nov 2011
1,119
The Bluff
I wouldn't say "extremely high", just a pointless waste of time and resources. The Spartan army would easily have been defeated by the Macedonians, although the mountainous terrain would prove some difficulties in fully subjugating Sparta. At the time both Philip and Alexander had far more important things to worry about. The Spartans were an after-thought and not seen as being worth the trouble. It wasn't concern about their prowess that convinced the Macedonians to leave them alone.
That's substantially correct. Megalopolis in 331 would prove what a Macedonian phalanx could achieve in not ideal circumstantces and Sellasia, over 100 years later, would put the seal on it. Sparta was not left alone by either Epameinodas or Philip II. There had been a nascent Acahian League since the Theban invasions. Peloponnesian politics and its players were always a difficult management issue. Epameinondas stripped Sparta of Messene (and other territory), essentially reducing her to a Peloponesian pugilist. Philip, no dill in war, politics or diplomacy, surgically removed other areas still under her control. Sparta did nothing because Sparta could do nothing minus Messenia and until she'd removed Megalopolis. Philip was quite happy to leave Sparta as an irritant against the ambitions of other Peloponnesian players. A role they played well, eventually supplying the casus belli for the reassertion of Macedonian hegemony over the Peloponnesus in 222 at the invitation, of all people, the Achaian League.
 
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Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
If you want to be technical you could count a bunch of helot-uprisnings. But being technical is dull and pointless, so let's not be technical.
But revolts from within the borders of their country do not qualify as invasions, i.e. the act of an outside force entering your territory.
 
Apr 2018
979
Upland, Sweden
But revolts from within the borders of their country do not qualify as invasions, i.e. the act of an outside force entering your territory.
I know. I just saw @Openminded wrote "first hostile army to cross the Eurotas" and felt that the many helot-revolts would probably qualify.

Byt you're right, that wasn't the purpose of the question.
 
Sep 2014
983
Texas
By the time Thebes invaded Sparta, Sparta was not the city state that won the war. I suspect if Phillip or Alexander wanted to throw men away, they could have conquered Sparta, but Alex had his heart set on Persia. The Times they changed.