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Antigonus Doson and the Hellenic League with Cleomenes III

Battle of Sellasia


Spartan Allied War (224 - 222 BC)


222 BC


Near Sellasia in Laconia


Macedonian victory


Macedonians and Achaeans



Antigonus III Doson

Cleomenes III


About 30 000 (including
approximately 20 000 Macedonian
phalangites and
about 2,000 cavalries

About 20 000 Spartans and
Allies with 650 cavalries



About 5 000 Spartans

The Battle of Sellasia was a war that took place in 222 BC between the armies of Antigonus III Doson, King of Macedonia and Cleomenes III, King of Sparta, the Spartan Forces were massacred and Cleomenes fled to Egypt.

Arrived at capacity in 235 BC after the death of Leonidas II, son of King Cleomenes III undertook an ambitious political restoration of Sparta's power by returning to a legendary political tradition of Lycurgus.

King of Macedonia, Antigonus Doson responded and regained the influence lost from the Peloponnese since almost two decades. In 224 with the Achaeans, Boeotians, Thessalians and the Acarnanians, an alliance. Antigonus drove out the Spartans from Argos and took Orchomenos and Mantineia. In 223, Cleomenes attacked and invaded Megalopolis, thus returning to military practices which had disappeared from Greece since the beginning of the 3rd century BC.

In 222 BC, Ptolemy ceased financial support from Cleomenes.

Forces in presence

Cleomenes had 30,000 infantrymen composing of hoplites, perioikoi and about 650 cavalries. The Spartan phalanx, under the command of Cleomenes was arranged on a hill named Olympus near Sellasia and were supported by a body of light infantry mercenaries. The allied troops of Sparta and the perioikoi phalanx were occupied by the commander Eucleidas on the other hill, Evas at the left wing. The centre were made up of Spartan cavalries, supported by other light infantrymen.

Ancient sources

  • Polybius Histories, ii. 65-70
  • Plutarch Life of Cleomenes ', 27-28
  • Pausanias Description of Greece, ii. 9. § 2, 10. § 7, iv. 29. § 9, vii. 7. § 4, viii. 49. § 5.


Cleomenes had violated the peace which he had made with Antigonus and had openly acted in many ways contrary to treaty, especially in laying waste Megalopolis. So Antigonus crossed into the Peloponnesus and the Achaeans met Cleomenes at Sellasia. The Achaeans were victorious, the people of Sellasia were sold into slavery, and Lacedaemon itself was captured. Antigonus and the Achaeans restored to the Lacedaemonians the constitution of their fathers; but of the children of Leonidas, Epicleidas was killed in the battle, and Cleomenes fled to Egypt.


E Will Histoire politique du monde hellénistique or the Political History of the Hellenistic World, Paris, 1075

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