Greek History, Battle of Leuctra, Megalopolis


The Battle of Leuctra in 371 BCE was a seminal moment in Greek history. The battle marked the end of the Spartan domination of Greece begun in 404 BCE at the end of the Peloponnesian War. At Leuctra, Sparta and her allies confronted Thebes and the Boeotian League and were decisively defeated. In the wake of this battle, Thebes enforced a synoikismos of the surrounding villages and small poleis and founded a unique polis, Megalopolis, whose purpose is heavily debated today. Because the lhebans constructed Megalopolis soon after the Battle of Leuctra in an attempt to contain Sparta within the southern Peloponnese, it is logical to conclude that the city's primary purpose was military. Nevertheless, scholars such as James Roy, William Smith, and J. B. Bury have used Megalopolis's perceived defensive weaknesses to argue that the main design of the city was not military, but rather economic, political, or agricultural.