Sparta is a city in southern Greece. In antiquity it was a Dorian Greek military state, originally centered in Laconia. As a city-state devoted to military training, Sparta possessed the most formidable army in the Greek world, and after achieving notable victories over the Athenian and Persian Empires, regarded itself as the natural protector of Greece.Laconia or Lacedaemon,was the name of the wider city-state centered at the city of Sparta, though the name "Sparta" is now used for both. The Kings of Sparta were believed to be the direct descendants of Heracles.
The city of Sparta lies at the southern end of the central Laconian plain, on the right bank of the river Evrotas. The site was strategically located; guarded from three sides by mountains and controlling the routes by which invading armies could penetrate Laconia and the southern Peloponnesus via the Langhda Pass over Mt Taygetus. At the same time, its distance from the sea—Sparta is 27 miles from its seaport, Gythium—made it difficult to blockade.