After suffering great tortures under the Spartan yoke for forty long years, the Messenians began to plan a revolt.
One of their princes, Aristomenes, a man of unusual bravery, made up his mind to free the unhappy people, and to ruin the proud city of Sparta, which had caused them so much suffering.
He therefore secretly assembled all the Messenians, and, when his plans were ready, began to war openly against the Spartans, whom he defeated in several battles.
With his small army, he even pressed forward toward the city of Sparta, and camped within sight of its dwellings. The Spartan women could thus see a very unusual sight,the light of the enemies’ fires.