Skip to comments.Messene, out from under the shadow of Sparta
Posted on 10/06/2012 9:52:36 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Messene's 9.5km-long circuit of stoutly constructed defensive walls enclosed an extensive array of uniquely designed public and private structures...
Mt Ithome and its southwestern slopes are soaked in history, their occupation dating back to at least the Early Bronze Age. The city of Messene, within the larger region of the same name, was only founded in 369BC, at the behest of the Theban leader Epaminondas, two years after Boeotian forces had defeated the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra and ended their domination over the Peloponnese. Messene and its northeastern neighbour Megalopolis, established in 371BC, were intended as a pair of fortified strongholds that would hem in and prevent Sparta from reasserting its regional hegemony.
The Messenians had long suffered in the shadow of mighty Sparta, pressed into centuries of servitude as helots until -- after countless rebellions, banishments, killings and full-out wars -- they finally were allowed their own city within which their culture could flourish...
The Spartans long feared the potential strength of their subordinated neighbours, but the massiveness of Messene's walls, towers and gates -- whose construction began immediately after the city's foundation in 369BC -- reveals the level of respect also held by the Messenians for their former Spartan overlords...
Thucydides [History of the Peloponnesian War] reports that following a severe earthquake in 464BC, Sparta's helots -- consisting of neighbouring peoples long forced to serve the Spartans -- took advantage of their weakened masters to rebel and seek refuge on Mt Ithome
"(...) In which earthquake [of 464 BC] their helots, and from neighbouring towns the Thuriatae and Aethaeans, revolted and seized on Ithome. Most of these helots were the descendants of the ancient Messenians brought into servitude in former times"
(Excerpt) Read more at athensnews.gr ...
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