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Encyclopedia > Battle of Mantinea (418 BC)
Battle of Mantinea
Part of the Peloponnesian War
Date 418 BC
Location Mantinea
Result Spartan victory
Combatants
Sparta
Arcadian allies of Sparta
Tegea
Argos
Athens
Mantineia
Commanders
Agis II Laches †
Nicostratus
Thrasyllus
Strength
About 9000 About 8000
Casualties
About 300 About 1100
Peloponnesian War
SybotaPotidaeaChalcisNaupactusTanagraOlpaePylosSphacteriaDeliumAmphipolisMantineaSicilian ExpeditionSymeCynossemaAbydosCyzicusNotiumArginusaeAegospotami

The Battle of Mantinea took place in 418 BC between Sparta and its allies, and an army led by Argos and Athens. Combatants Delian League led by Athens Peloponnesian League led by Sparta Commanders Pericles Cleon Nicias Alcibiades Archidamus II Brasidas Lysander The Peloponnesian War (431 BC–404 BC) was an Ancient Greek military conflict fought by Athens and its empire and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC 430s BC 420s BC - 410s BC - 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC 370s BC 360s BC Years: 423 BC 422 BC 421 BC 420 BC 419 BC - 418 BC - 417 BC 416 BC... Mantinea is a city in the central Peloponnese that was the site of two significant battles in Classical Greek history. ... Sparta (Doric: , Attic: ) is a city in southern Greece. ... Sparta (Doric: , Attic: ) is a city in southern Greece. ... Arcadia or Arkadía (Greek Αρκαδία; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a region of Greece in the Peloponnesus. ... There is also an ancient Tegea near Kissamos in the island of Crete, see Tegea, Crete Tegea was an important religious center of ancient Greek containing the Temple of Athena Alea. ... Argos (Greek: Άργος, Árgos, IPA argos) is a city in Greece in the Peloponnese near Nafplio, which was its historic harbor, named for Nauplius. ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα, Athína IPA: ) is the capital and largest city of Greece and the birthplace of democracy. ... Mantinea – Greek: Mαντινεία Mantineia, modern romanizations: Mantinia, Mandineia or Mandinia; and for a time Antigonia (Greek: Αντιγόνεια) also transliterated as Antigonea and Antigoneia – is a city in Arcadia in the central Peloponnese that was the site of two significant battles in Classical Greek history. ... Agis II (d. ... There were several people called Nicostratus: Nicostratus (comic poet), son of Aristophanes, a poet of the Middle Comedy (4th century BC). ... Combatants Delian League led by Athens Peloponnesian League led by Sparta Commanders Pericles Cleon Nicias Alcibiades Archidamus II Brasidas Lysander The Peloponnesian War (431 BC–404 BC) was an Ancient Greek military conflict fought by Athens and its empire and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. ... Battle of Sybota Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 433 BC Place Off Corcyra Result Indecisive The Battle of Sybota took place in 433 BC between Corcyra and Corinth. ... Battle of Potidaea Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 432 BC Place Potidaea Result Athenian victory The Battle of Potidaea was, with the Battle of Sybota, one of the catalysts for the Peloponnesian War. ... Battle of Chalcis Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 429 BC Place Chalcis Result Athenian defeat The Battle of Chalcis took place in 429 BC between Athens and the Chalcidians and their allies, in the early part of the Peloponnesian War. ... The naval Battle of Naupactus took place over the course of a week in 429 BC, in the early part of the Peloponnesian War, between the Athenian fleet under Phormio and a combined Spartan and Corinthian fleet. ... Battle of Tanagra Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 426 BC Place Tanagra Result Athenian victory The Battle of Tanagra was a battle in the Peloponnesian War in 426 BC between Athens and Tanagra. ... Battle of Olpae Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 426 BC Place Olpae Result Athenian victory The Battle of Olpae was a battle of the Peloponnesian War in 426 BC, between armies led by Athens and Sparta. ... Combatants Athens Sparta Commanders Demosthenes Thrasymelidas Brasidas Strength 50 ships Hundreds of troops 60 ships Unknown troops Casualties Unknown Unknown The Battle of Pylos took place in 425 BC during the Peloponnesian War, between Athens and Sparta. ... Combatants Athens Sparta Commanders Demosthenes Cleon Epitadas† Styphon Strength About 3000 440 Casualties Very few (about 230) 148 The Battle of Sphacteria was a battle of the Peloponnesian War in 425 BC, between Athens and Sparta. ... The Battle of Delium took place in 424 BC between the Athenians and the Boeotians, and ended with the siege of Delium in the following weeks. ... Combatants Athens Sparta Commanders Cleon† Nicias Thucydides Brasidas† Clearidas Strength About 2000 About 2500 Casualties About 600 8 {{{notes}}} The Battle of Amphipolis was fought in 422 BC during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. ... The Sicilian Expedition was an Athenian expedition to Sicily from 415 BC to 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. ... Battle of Syme Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 411 BC Place Off Syme Result Indecisive The Battle of Syme was a naval battle in 411 BC between Sparta and Athens, during the Peloponnesian War. ... Battle of Cynossema Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 411 BC Place Off Cynossema Result Athenian victory The Battle of Cynossema was a naval battle in the Hellespont in 411 BC between Athens and Sparta, around the same time the Athenian democracy was overthrown in favour of a short_lived oligarchy. ... Battle of Abydos (410 BC) Battle of Abydos (322 BC) Battle of Abydos (200 BC) Battle of Abydos (989) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The Battle of Cyzicus in 410 BC was a small-scale naval battle during the Peloponnesian War between an Athenian fleet led by Alcibiades and a Peloponnesian fleet led by Sparta. ... Combatants Sparta Athens Commanders Lysander Antiochus Strength 70 ships 80 ships Casualties none 22 ships Th Battle of Notium (or Ephesus) in 406 BC, was a Spartan naval victory in the Peloponnesian War. ... The naval Battle of Arginusae took place in 406 BCE during the Peloponnesian War. ... Combatants Sparta Athens Commanders Lysander 6 generals Strength 170 ships Casualties Very few All but 10 ships, thousands of sailors The Battle of Aegospotami was the last major battle of the Peloponnesian War. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC 430s BC 420s BC - 410s BC - 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC 370s BC 360s BC Years: 423 BC 422 BC 421 BC 420 BC 419 BC - 418 BC - 417 BC 416 BC... Sparta (Doric: , Attic: ) is a city in southern Greece. ... Argos (Greek: Άργος, Árgos, IPA argos) is a city in Greece in the Peloponnese near Nafplio, which was its historic harbor, named for Nauplius. ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα, Athína IPA: ) is the capital and largest city of Greece and the birthplace of democracy. ...

Contents

Prelude to the battle

After the conclusion of the alliance between the Argives, the Achaeans, the Eleans and Athens, the humiliation of the Spartans in the 420 Olympic Games and the invasion of Epidaurus by the allies, the Spartans were compelled to move against them, in fear that their alliances with Corinth and Boeotia would be dissolved and that the whole of the Peloponnese would soon be against them. An army was assembled, comprising the Boeotians, the Corinthians and the other allies of Sparta and placed under the command of Agis II, son of Archidamus, one of the Kings of Sparta. The army moved against Argos, but at a point when the Spartan army had the advantage and was ready to strike a decisive blow on the Argives, Agis concluded a truce with the them. This decision was very unpopular with the troops and the allies, for that army was according to Thucydides 'the best army ever assembled in Greece to that time'. It was also proved to be wrong by the fact that immediately after the truce, the Argives captured the key town of Orchomenus. Agis was on the verge of being fined 10000 Drachmas and have his house destroyed, but he promised to redeem himself with a victory elsewhere. However, the Ephors placed ten advisors, the xymbouloi, who needed to give their consent to whatever military action Agis was to take. Panoramic view of the theater at Epidaurus Epidaurus (Epidauros) was a small city (polis) in ancient Greece at the Saronic Gulf. ... Agis II (d. ... Archidamus has been the name of 5 kings of Sparta. ... Sparta was an important Greek city-state in the Peloponnesus. ... Bust of Thucydides residing in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. ... A king in Greek mythology, Orchomenus was the father of Elara. ... Drachma, pl. ... An ephor was an official of ancient Sparta. ...


The battle

Late in 418, the Argives and their allies marched against Tegea, where a faction was ready to turn the city over to the Argive alliance. Tegea was a very important place, as it controlled the exit from Laconia. Enemy control of the town would mean that the Spartans would be unable to move out of their home city and would effectively mean the demise of the Peloponnesian coalition that fought the Archidameian war. There is also an ancient Tegea near Kissamos in the island of Crete, see Tegea, Crete Tegea was an important religious center of ancient Greek containing the Temple of Athena Alea. ...


Agis marched the whole of the Spartan army, together with the neodamodeis and everyone who was able to fight in Sparta out to Tegea where he was joined by his allies from Arcadia, and he sent for help from his northern allies, Corinth, Boeotia, Phocis, and Locris. However, the northern army could not arrive quickly to the scene, as they had not expected the call and would have to pass through enemy territory (Argos and Orchomenus). On the whole, the army of the allies of Sparta would have numbered around 9000 hoplites. In ancient Sparta, neodamodeis (Gk νεοδαμώδεις), or New Damos-men, were a class of freed helots who were granted citizens rights and a plot of land, often in return for military service. ... There is also an ancient Tegea near Kissamos in the island of Crete, see Tegea, Crete Tegea was an important religious center of ancient Greek containing the Temple of Athena Alea. ... Arcadia or Arkadía (Greek Αρκαδία; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a region of Greece in the Peloponnesus. ... Temple of Apollo at Corinth Corinth, or Korinth (Κόρινθος) is a Greek city, on the Isthmus of Corinth, the original isthmus, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece. ... Boeotia or Beotia (//, (Greek Βοιωτια; see also list of traditional Greek place names) was the central area of ancient Greece. ... Phocis (Greek, Modern: Φωκίδα, Ancient/Katharevousa: -s, also Phokida, Phokis) is an ancient district of central Greece. ... Locris was a region of ancient Greece, made up of two districts. ...


In the meantime, the Eleans saw it fitter to attack Lepreum, a contested border town with Sparta. So, they chose to withdraw their contingent of 3000 hoplites. Agis took advantage of it and sent a sixth of his army, with the youngest and the oldest hoplites home to guard Sparta proper. They were called back soon after, as Agis or the xymbouloi realised that the Eleans would soon be back on the side of the Argives, but did not arrive in time for the battle.


Agis could have bided his time inside the walls of Tegea, waiting for his northern allies. However, he was already discredited and could not show the slightest sign of shying away from battle. So, he invaded and ravaged the territory around Mantinea, about ten miles north of Tegea and a member of the Argive alliance, in order to force a pitched battle with the Argives and their allies. The Argive Army, however, was situated on ground 'steep and hard to get at' and would not be drawn in battle, probably because the grain harvest had already been stored (the battle probably took place in the end of September 418). Agis, who was desperate for a victory to redeem his embarrassment at Argos, charged ahead anyway, but when the armies closed to a distance equal to the throw of a stone, an old hoplite or, according to Diodorus, the xymboulos Pharax, called him not to cure one evil with another and lead his army to certain defeat. The Spartans retreated and went off to find a way to draw out the Argive army to a battle. So, they diverted the Sarandapotamos River to the bed of the smaller Zanovistas river, or, they just filled up the sinkholes in which Zanovistas flowed, in order to flood the Mantinean territory. Mantinea is a city in the central Peloponnese that was the site of two significant battles in Classical Greek history. ...


Instead of allowing Mantinea to be flooded, the Argive army moved quicker then the Spartans anticipated, as the Argive hoplites were very angry at their generals for not pursuing the Spartan army and accused them of treason. They surprised their enemies by drawing up as the Spartans emerged from a nearby wood. The Spartans quickly organized themselves, with no time to wait for their other allies. Brasidas' veterans (Brasidas himself had been killed at the Battle of Amphipolis), and the Sciritae (an elite unit of Spartan troops) formed the left wing, the Spartans, Arcadians, Heraeans and Maenalians in the centre, and the Tegeans, who were fighting for their homeland took the postion of honour on the right wing. The Argive lines were formed by the Mantineans on the right, the Argives in the centre, and the Athenians on the left. Thucydides did not know the exact numbers of men on each side, but estimated that there were about 9000 men on the Spartan side (the Spartan army must have numbered about 3500, with 600 Sciritae, about 2000 neodamodeis and Brasideans and about 3000 Arcadians on the whole) with somewhat fewer men on the Argive and Athenian side (about 8000), according to Donald Kagan. Other scholars, such as V.D. Hanson, give slightly bigger numbers. Combatants Athens Sparta Commanders Cleon† Nicias Thucydides Brasidas† Clearidas Strength About 2000 About 2500 Casualties About 600 8 {{{notes}}} The Battle of Amphipolis was fought in 422 BC during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. ... The Sciritae or Skiritai (Greek: Skiritai) were a people subject to Sparta, whose status is comparable to that of the Perioeci. ... The Mainalo or Menalo (Greek, Modern: Μαίναλο, Ancient/Katharevousa: -on), older forms: Mainalon, Mainalos, Menalon, Menalos, rarely Menalus or Mainalos, Latin forms: Maenalos and Maenalus, rarely Maenalon is a mountain range that spans about 15 to 20 from north to south (southwest of Tripoli to NE of Vytina) and from east... Bust of Thucydides residing in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. ... Donald Kagan (born 1932) is a Yale historian specializing in ancient Greece, notable for his four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War. ...


As the battle began, each side's right wing began to outflank the other's left, due to the erratic movements of each hoplite trying to cover himself with the shield of the man beside him. Agis tried to strengthen the line by ordering the Sciritae and his left to break off contact from the rest of the army and match the length of the Argive line. To cover the void created, he ordered the companies of Hipponoidas and Aristocles to leave their positions in the center and cover the line. This however was not achieved, for the two captains were unable, or unwilling to complete these manoeuvres on such short notice. This kind of manoeuvre was unprecedented in the history of Greek warfare. Donald Kagan considers it a most ill-advised move and gives credit to the two captains for disobeying orders that would have probably lost the battle for the Spartans. Others consider it a move that could have succeeded. A hoplite armed with a spear. ...


In any case, the Mantineans and the right part of the Argives, the elite Argive Thousand entered the gap and routed the Brasideans and the Sciritae and pursued them for a long distance. In the meantime, the Tegeans and the regular Spartan army routed the Athenians and the Arcadians that formed the left part of the Argive army. Most of them 'did not even stand to fight, but they fled as the Spartans approached; some were even trampled in their hurry to get away before the enemy reached them'.


Then, the Spartans turned left and broke the Argive right which fled in total disarray. The Spartans did not pursue the enemy for long after the battle was won.


Aftermath

The Argive side lost about 1100 men (700 Argives and Arcadians, 200 Athenians and 200 Mantineans) and the Spartans about 300.


The Spartans sent an embassy to Argos and the Argives accepted a truce by the terms of which they gave up Orchomenus, all their hostages and joined up with the Spartans in evicting the Athenians from Epidaurus. They also renounced their alliance with Elis and Athens. After deposing the democratic government of Sicyon, the Argive Thousand staged a coup against the democratic rule of Argos, where the democrats' morale was low, because of the bad performance of the common army and the Athenians in the battle.


In more general terms, the battle was a considerable boost to the Lacaedemonians morale and prestige. For, after the disaster at Pylos, they had been considered cowardly and incompetent in battle. Their success at Mantinea marked a reversal of the trend and a realisation of the Greeks of the near-invincibility of the Spartans in hoplite combat.


References

  • Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War. Athens, Philippos Pappas, Nikolaos Philippas; Athens, Papyros. 1953.
  • Kagan, Donald. (2003). The Peloponnesian War. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-03211-5.
  • Victor Davis Hanson A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. Random House, October 2005.

 
 

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