Strengths & Weaknesses
- Good defensive unit
- Low damage but average armour penetration
- Average attack
- Normal morale
- Very vulnerable when not in phalanx
When Cleomenes III succeeded his father, Leonidas II, as King of Sparta in 235BC, he attempted to return Sparta to its former glory, reintroducing the traditional Spartan military system to bolster the city’s dwindling population, even raising some perioikoi to full citizenship. He also improved the weapons and battle tactics of his existing forces, equipping his hoplites with long sarissa pikes, replacing the shorter hoplite spears that had been used for the last 500 years. The Spartan army that took to the battlefield after his reforms was comprised largely of citizen recruits well-versed in the tactics that had dominated Greek warfare since the rise of Macedon 100 years before. Its Macedonian-style phalanx was employed with some success, as Cleomenes’ forces initially countered the rising power of the Achaean League, but they were eventually defeated at Sellasia in 222BC. Cleomenes fled to Egypt, where he was eventually forced into taking his own life after a failed coup to conquer Alexandria.