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Spartan Aggression and Athenian Resurgence

Spartan forces attacked city-states all over Greece in the years after the peace. Athens, meanwhile, had restored its invulnerability to invasion by rebuilding the long walls1 connecting the city and the harbor. The Athenian general Iphicrates2 also devised effective new tactics for light-armed troops called peltasts by improving their weapons. The reconstruction of Athens's navy built up its offensive strength, and by 377 B.C. the city had again become the leader of a naval alliance of Greek states3, but this time the members of the league had their rights specified in writing to prevent high-handed Athenian behavior. Spartan hopes for lasting power were dashed in 371 B.C., when a resurgent Thebes defeated the Spartan army at Leuctra4 in Boeotia and then invaded the Spartan homeland in the Peloponnese. At this point the Thebans seemed likely to challenge Jason5, tyrant of Pherae in Thessaly, for the position of the dominant military power in Greece.

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