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This is an extract from the Wikipedia entry


Third Messenian War The uprising coincident with the earthquake of 464 is soundly attested to, although Greek historians do not agree on the interpretation of this event. According to Thucydides, the helots and perioeci of Thouria and Aithaia took advantage of the earthquake to revolt and establish a position on Mt. Ithome. He adds that most of the rebels were of Messenian ancestry—confirming the appeal of Ithome as a historical place of Messenian resistance—and focuses attention on the perioeci of Thouria, a city on the Messianian coast. Conversely, historians could deduce that a minority of the helots were Laconian, thus making this the one and only revolt of their history. Commentators such as Stephanus of Byzantium suggest that this Aithaia was in Laconia, thus indicating a large-scale uprising in the region. The version of events given by Pausanias is similar. Diodorus Siculus (XI, 63,4 – 64,1), probably influenced by Ephorus of Cyme, attributed the uprising equally to the Messenians and the helots. This version of events is supported by Plutarch. Finally, some authors make responsibility for the uprising with the helots of Laconia. This is the case of Plutarch in his Life of Cimon: the helots of the Eurotas River valley want to use the earthquake to attack the Spartans whom they think are disarmed. The intervention of Archidamus II, who calls the Lacedaemonians to arms, simultaneously saves them from the earthquake and the helot attack. The helots fold, but revert to open warfare joined by the Messenians. It is difficult to reconcile these versions. It is nevertheless clear that in any case the revolt of 464 represented a major traumatic event for the Spartans. Plutarch indicates that the Crypteia and other poor treatments of the helots were instituted after this revolt. If there is any doubt in these affirmations, they at least underscore the immediate Spartan reaction: allies are gathered and war ensues with the same Athens that would be faced later in the Peloponnesian War.


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