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Battle of Megalopolis

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

Battle of Megalopolis
Date331 BC
Result Macedonian victory
Macedon Sparta
Commanders and leaders
Antipater Agis III
40,000 20,000 Infantry
2,000 cavalry
Casualties and losses
3,500 5,300


In the autumn 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; however, they could only spare him 30 talents and 10 ships. Agis also recruited the Greek mercenary survivors of Issus - who had served in the Persian army – a force of 8,000 veterans. In the summer of 331 BC, Agis defeated Coragus, the Macedonian general in command of the Peloponnese and the garrison of Corinth.

Meanwhile, Antipater, Alexander's regent in Macedonia, was occupied in Thrace where the Macedonian general, Memnon, was involved in a rebellion. After the rebellion was resolved, Antipater marched against King Agis.[1] Antipater had recruited a large force, over 40,000 strong, with a core of Macedonian troops and substantial numbers of tribal warriors from the northern fringes of Macedonia, reinforced with troops from his Greek allies.


The final battle, fought near Megalopolis in Arcadia, ended in defeat for the Spartans. 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 that 5,300 died on the Spartan side and 3,500 on the Macedonian side.[2] For the Spartans that meant a death toll of over 25 percent. King Agis, now wounded and unable to stand, ordered his men to leave him behind to face the advancing Macedonian army so that he could buy his men time to retreat. Diodorus states that the Spartan king slew several enemy soldiers before being finally killed by a javelin.[3]


  1. ^ Agis III, by E. Badian © 1967 - Jstor
  2. ^ Diodorus, World History
  3. ^ Diodorus, World History, 17.62.1-63.4;tr. C.B. Welles - He had fought gloriously and fell with many frontal wounds. As he was being carried by his soldiers back to Sparta, he found himself surrounded by the enemy. Despairing of his own life, he ordered the rest to make their escape with all speed and to save themselves for the service of their country, but he himself armed and rising to his knees defended himself, killed some of the enemy and was himself slain by a javelin cast. He had reigned nine years.

Coordinates: 37°24′04″N 22°08′32″E / 37.4011°N 22.1422°E / 37.4011; 22.1422