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The Battle of Megalopolis was fought in 331 BC between Sparta and Macedonia. Alexander's regent Antipater led the Macedonians to victory over King Agis III.

Background

In the fall of 333 BC, the Spartan King Agis III had met with the Persian commanders Pharnabazus and Autophradates, somewhere in the Aegean Sea, and revealed to them his plans for a war against Alexander—in Greece itself. The Persians agreed to support Agis – with a mere 30 talents and just 10 ships. But Agis managed to recruit the Greek mercenary survivors of Issus - who had served in the Persian army – a force of 8000 seasoned men hungry for revenge. In the summer of 331 BC, Agis defeated Corrhagus, the Macedonian general over the Pelopponese and garrison commander of Corinth.

Meanwhile Antipater, Alexander's regent in Macedonia, was occupied in Thrace where the Macedonian general Memnon was somehow involved in a rebellion. After that was solved, Antipater marched against King Agis. Antipater had recruited a large force, over 40,000 strong, with a small Macedonian nucleus and substantial numbers of barbarians from the northern fringes of the empire, reinforced with troops from his Greek allies.

Battle

The final battle, fought near Megalopolis in Messenia, was a rout of the Spartans. King Agis faced Antipater with 22,000 troops who were at their very best that day. Early in the battle Antipater's lines broke, but in the end it was the sheer weight of numbers that brought victory to the Macedonians. It is written 5,300 died on the Spartan side and 3,500 on the Macedonian side. For the Spartans that meant a death toll of over 25 percent. But even for Antipater's side normal battle statistics would indicate that up to 90 percent of the Macedonian army might have been wounded, as Curtius Rufus records.

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