The Cleomenean War (229/228–222 BC) was fought by Sparta and its ally, Elis, against the Achaean League and Macedon. The war ended in a Macedonian and Achaean victory.
In 235 BC, Cleomenes III (r. 235–222 BC) ascended the throne of Sparta and began a program of reform aimed at restoring traditional Spartan discipline while weakening the influence of the ephors, elected officials who wielded extraordinary political power, although they had sworn to uphold the rule of Sparta's kings. When, in 229 BC, the ephors sent Cleomenes to seize a town on the border with Megalopolis, the Achaeans declared war. Cleomenes responded by ravaging Achaea. At Mount Lycaeum he defeated an army under Aratus of Sicyon, the strategos of the Achaean League, that had been sent to attack Elis, and then routed a second army near Megalopolis.
In quick succession, Cleomenes cleared the cities of Arcadia of their Achaean garrisons, before crushing another Achaean force at Dyme. Facing Spartan domination of the League, Aratus was forced to turn to Antigonus III Doson (r. 229–221 BC) of Macedon and request that he assist the Achaeans' efforts to defeat the Spartans. In return for Macedonian assistance, the Achaeans were obliged to surrender the citadel overlooking Corinth to Antigonus. Cleomenes eventually invaded Achaea, seizing control of Corinth and Argos. But Cleomenes was forced to retreat to Laconia when Antigonus arrived in the Peloponnese. Cleomenes fought the Achaeans and the Macedonians at Sellasia, where the Spartans were routed. He then fled to the court of his ally, Ptolemy III of Egypt (r. 246–222 BC), where he ultimately committed suicide in the wake of a failed revolt against the new Pharaoh, Ptolemy IV (r. 221–205 BC).
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