All the citizens and their families owned estates that were worked by the helots. The labor of the helots allowed Spartan men to concentrate on being soldiers. By the 6th century, Sparta was recognized as the leading military power, and they dominated the Peloponnese. They played a leading role in the defeat of the second Persian invasion (492-490 BC). In the years after the Persians were defeated, Athens established an Empire. This led to a long war, known as the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens (431-404 BC). The Spartans after receiving support from Persia established hegemony over Greece until they were defeated at Leuctra by the Thebans and their allies (378 BC).
The defeat at Leuctra led to a severe political, social and military decline in the city-state but it managed to maintain its independence from successive Hellenistic monarchs. Rome conquered Sparta in the 2nd century BC and this finally extinguished this most singular state <ref>Cartledge, Paul The Spartans: an epic history (London, Pan Books, 2013), p 203</ref>
====Sparta women in society====