The Achaean and Macedonian armies now met the Spartans at Sellasia, in Laconia, where the latter were badly defeated, and Sparta fell into the enemy’s hands. Antigonus was so proud of his victory that he burst a blood vessel upon hearing the news, and died shortly after.
Before he closed his eyes, however, he had the satisfaction of driving Cleomenes away from Greece into Egypt. There the young king fell upon his sword, after killing his children, rather than become a slave. Tyrants were now allowed again in many of the Greek cities, in spite of the remonstrances of Aratus, who learned only too late that the Macedonians had come into the Peloponnesus merely for the purpose of making themselves masters of the country.
Aratus’ eyes were opened. He saw that all his efforts were vain, and that, owing to his own imprudence, Greece would never again be free. In his grief, his presence of mind quite forsook him. He did not know what steps to take in order to undo all the harm he had done.
The Aetolians now became the champions of freedom, and marched against the Achaeans, whom they defeated. In their distress, the Achaeans once more begged the Macedonians to interfere, and send troops into Greece.
The contest which followed is known as the War of the Two Leagues, and lasted for some time. In the beginning, the Macedonian king allowed Aratus to take the lead, and followed all his directions; but, growing weary of this subordinate part, he finally poisoned the Achaean leader, and became head of the league himself.
When the Spartans and Aetolians, who had joined forces, found that the Achaeans and Macedonians were likely to prove too strong for them, they also began to look around for allies. As the fame of the rising city of Rome had reached them, they finally sent thither for the help they needed.