The Battle of Tanagra – 457 BC
During the 1st Peloponnesian War between 460 and 446 B.C., Athens and Sparta pursued a series of alliances. In 457 B.C. Sparta marched an army into Boeotia to intervene in a dispute between the Dorians and Phocians. This imposing army of Spartans and their allies compelled the Phocians to back down. Athens took this opportunity to move into position to block the Spartans return by blocking the Corinthian Gulf with their superior navy. The Spartans were left with trying to march through the Megarid near the Isthmus of Corinth. Athens had made a treaty with Megarid and in turn fortified Megara. The Spartan allied army was stuck in Boeotia and decided to stay there and plan their return route.
Athens sent out an army to meet the Spartans and they came together outside Tanagra. The Spartans suffered heavy losses, but won the battle and opened the way back home. This was the first major land battle of the 1st Peloponnesian war and started a pattern of Spartan dominance in that theatre. The Athenians had feared the possibilityof the Spartan army ravaging their countryside, which in turn resulted.
Athenian Allied Forces
The Athenians brought a large contingent of hoplites that was supplemented by a number of allies including the Argives (1,000 heavy infantry). The total number given by Thucydides is 14,000 not including cavalry of which there would be a very small amount. This was a large army from a city state at the time considering only 5,100 were sent on the Syracuse expedition originally, and estimates for Mantinea (418 B.C.) was only around 8-9,000 a side. Allied forces of Athens included Plataeans, Chians, Lesbians, Messenians, Corkyraeans, Zakynthians, Akarnanians as well as towns of the coast of asia and Thrace and all isles of Aegean, except Melos and Thera.
Spartan Allied Forces
The allied Spartan army, led by Nicomedes, consisted of 1,500 Spartans and 10,000 allied soldiers. A group of Thessalian cavalry joined the Spartan side (from the Athenian army) during the battle according to Thucydides. Sparta allies included Boeotians, Megarians, Lokrians, Phoaeans, Leukadians, Ambarakotes and Anaktorians. The coast states supplied ships, the Boeotians, Locrians and Phokians with cavalry.
Using Tactica Rules
|The Battle of Tanagra 457 BC. The Spartans on the right and the Athenians on the left.|
|The room is filling full of smoke as she is planning her next move.|
|My wife the Victor (The Allied Athenians). Her first battle. She is glowing with victory. I taught her well.|