Laconia was a region of the southeastern Peloponnese that bordered Arcadia and Messenia. The area was mountainous, with the Parnon Mountains running south and the Taygetus Mountains to the west. Valleys and plains, such as those found near the Eurotas River, provided natural resources and fertile land.
In myth as in history, Laconia was controlled by Sparta. The city was said to have been founded by Lacedaemon, a son of Zeus. Important mythical kings of the region included Tyndareus and his son-in-law Menelaus, who played a key role in the Trojan War. These mythical figures were later worshipped in local cult.
Where was Laconia located?
Laconia was a mountainous region in the southeastern Peloponnese, located south of Arcadia and east of Messenia. Its southern border touched the Mediterranean Sea.
Ancient Laconia corresponds to the modern administrative region of Lakonia in Greece.
Who were the first rulers of Laconia?
In myth, the earliest rulers of Laconia were descendants of Lelex, who was sometimes said to have been “autochthonous” (that is, born from the earth). Eurotas, the grandson of Lelex, had no sons and therefore passed on his kingdom to his son-in-law Lacedaemon. Lacedaemon named the kingdom after himself and founded a new city, called Sparta after his wife.
The Mythical Origins of Laconia
All the major geographical features and cities of Laconia were named for mythical figures. Lelex, one of the first rulers of the region, was sometimes said to have fathered a daughter called Laconia, after whom the region was eventually named.
Eurotas, the grandson of Lelex, gave his name to the principal river of the region, while Eurotas’ daughter Sparta and her husband Lacedaemon gave their names to the most important city in the region (which was known by both names).