Archaic times were a period when the power of the city-states was consolidated. Population increase, combined with lack of arable land, led to border disputes and to the war for the Lelantine plain, and to the Messenian Wars. Little by little, we can see an attempt being made by certain cities to bring wider areas under their influence. It is in this context that the conflict of Sparta and Argos for the control of the Peloponnese must be viewed. Again, in the case of the 1st Sacred War one reason for the outbreak of hostilities was control of the Delphic Oracle, by reason of the influence it exerted on the Hellenic world. Some historians, certainly, attribute the war in question to the efforts of Thessaly to bring central Hellas under her control.

Our sources for these conflicts, however, where not obscure, represent later attempts to reconstruct the facts under the influence of the political issues of the period in which they were written. Perhaps one section of scholars goes too far when it absolutely questions the historicity of these outbreaks of hostilities. At any rate, we should accept that in the majority of cases whatever attempt there may have been to reconstruct these events cannot but be of an hypothetical nature.

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