While the Achaean League was doing its best to restore Greece to its former power, Sparta had remained inactive. The Spartans had changed greatly since the days of Lycurgus. They no longer obeyed his wise laws, and, instead of being brave and frugal, they were greedy, lazy, and wicked.

One of their kings was named Leonidas; but he was in no way like his great namesake, the king who had fallen at Thermopylae. Indeed, he married an Eastern wife, and to please her assumed all the pomp and led the idle life of an Eastern king.