The SW region of Peloponnese, bounded on the north by Elis— and Arcadia, and on the east by Laconia. The Spartans had conquered central Messenia by (?) 700 bc, reducing the old population to the status of helots or perioikoi. The Third Messenian War, after the great earthquake of 464 bc, ended, like the first war, in the surrender of Ithome after a long siege. Granted a safe conduct, many of the survivors were settled by the Athenians at Naupactus (455), a town in western Locris, with a small protected harbour commanding the entrance to the Corinthian Gulf. During the Peloponnesian War the Messenian helots were encouraged to sporadic revolts by the Athenian garrison established at Pylos after the victory at Sphacteria (425), in which Messenians from Naupactus played a decisive part. In 369 Messenia was liberated with the help of Epaminondas.
Subjects: Classical studies