The Battle of the Fetters - 570 B.C.

c570 B.C (Date unknown but somewhere probably between c580-565 B.C.)

Sparta began to flourish by Lykurgus' death, and was beginning to wonder if they were ready to conquer the whole of Arcadia.

As was to be expected, the Pythoness at Delphi was asked that very question {O07} . Not getting a favorable response about Arcadia they marched confidently to war against the Tegeans, this small city-state north of Sparta was the natural progression for Sparta to undertake a war anyway, as it lay just inside Arcadia.

So confident were the Spartans in taking Tegea that they also took with them fetters (shackles for prisoners that bind hands and feet), and measuring sticks for the land that they were about to win, upon victory to be measured out and land given by lot to the Spartan citizens.

The hoplites of Tegea had other ideas.

When the Lacedemonians arrived they expected that they would make slaves of the men of Tegea. But in the ensuring encounter, it was the Spartan army that came out the worst and were beaten. Those of them who were taken alive worked wearing the fetters which they themselves brought with them [1].

Herodotus and Pausanias both say that they saw those very fetters which the Spartans had bought and which they had been bound as they were preserved at Tegea, hanging about the temple of Athene Alea.

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  • *01 Herodotus 1.66


Xenophanes of Colophon is born in 570 B.C.

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