Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the
Peloponnesus from the
6th to the 4th centuries BC, dominated by Sparta. It is known mainly
for being one of the two rivals in the
Peloponnesian War (431–404
BC), against the Delian League, which was dominated by Athens.
1 Early history
2 League organization
3 Later history of the League
4 External links
By the end of the 7th century BC
Sparta had become the most powerful
city-state in the Peloponnese and was the political and military
hegemon over Argos, the next most powerful city-state.
two powerful allies,
Elis (also city-states), by ridding
Corinth of tyranny, and helping
Elis secure control of the Olympic
Sparta continued to aggressively use a combination of foreign
policy and military intervention to gain other allies.
an embarrassing loss to
Tegea in a frontier war and eventually offered
them a permanent defensive alliance; this was the turning point for
Spartan foreign policy. Many other states in the central and
provincial northern Peloponnese joined the league, which eventually
included all Peloponnesian states except
Argos and Achaea.
The league was organized with
Sparta as the hegemon, and was
controlled by the council of allies which was composed of two bodies:
the assembly of Spartiates and the Congress of Allies. Each allied
state had one vote in the Congress, regardless of that state's size or
geopolitical power. No tribute was paid except in times of war, when
one third of the military of a state could be requested. Only Sparta
could call a Congress of the League. All alliances were made with
Sparta only, so if they so wished, member states had to form separate
alliances with each other. And although each state had one vote,
League resolutions were not binding on Sparta. Thus, the Peloponnesian
League was not an "alliance" in the strictest sense of the word (nor
was it wholly Peloponnesian for the entirety of its existence).
The league provided protection and security to its members. It was a
conservative alliance which supported Oligarchies and opposed
tyrannies and democracies.
Later history of the League
Persian Wars the League was expanded into the Hellenic
League and included
Athens and other states. The Hellenic League was
led by Pausanias and, after he was recalled, by
Cimon of Athens.
Sparta withdrew from the Hellenic League, reforming the Peloponnesian
League with its original allies. The Hellenic League then turned into
the Athenian-led Delian League. This might have been caused by Sparta
and its allies' unease over Athenian efforts to increase their power.
The two Leagues eventually came into conflict with each other in the
Peloponnesian War. Under Spartan leadership, the League defeated
Athens and its allies in 404 BC.
Following the disastrous Spartan defeat by Thebes at the Battle of
Leuktra in 371 BC,
Elis and the Arcadian states seized the opportunity
to throw off the yoke of Spartan hegemony; the Arcadians formed
themselves into their own league to preserve their independence. The
size of the
Peloponnesian League was then further reduced by the
Theban liberation of
Messenia from Spartan control in 369 BC. The
states of the north-eastern Peloponnese, including Corinth,
Epidauros, adhered to their Spartan allegiance, but as the war
continued in the 360s BC, many joined the Thebans or took a neutral
Elis and some of the Arcadian states realigned
themselves with Sparta. In 338 BC, the
Peloponnesian League was
disbanded when Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great,
formed the League of
Corinth after defeating Thebes and Athens,
incorporating all the Peloponnesian states except Sparta.
Livius: Peloponnesian League