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It is the place of the Battle of the Champions between Argos and Sparta. According to Herodotus 1.82, Sparta had surrounded and captured the plain of Thyrea. When the Argives marched out to defend it, the two armies agreed to let 300 champions from each city fight, with the winner taking the territory.
According to Thucydides (4.56.2) and Pausanias 2.38.5 and 2.29.5, the Spartans gave Thyrea to people from Aigina when they were expelled from their island by the Athenians in 431 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. The Spartans did this for their help against the helot uprising of 464 BC. In 424 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, the Athenians attacked Thyrea, burned the town, and took Aeginetan and Spartan prisoners back to Athens.
In 338 BC, the Argives recovered Thyrea through arbitration (Pausanias 2.38.5).
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- N. Robertson, Festivals and legends: The Formation of Greek Cities in the Light of Public Ritual (University of Toronto press, 1992), pp. 179-207.
- J.E. Lendon, "Soldiers & Ghosts: A history of Battle in classical antiquity" (Yale University press, 2006).