Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the leading force of the unified Greek military during the Greco-Persian Wars, in rivalry with the rising naval power of Athens. Sparta was the principal enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War (between 431 and 404 BC), from which it emerged victorious. The defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Sparta's prominent role, though it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC. It then underwent a long period of decline, especially in the Middle Ages, when many Spartans moved to Mystras. Modern Sparta is the capital of the Greek region of Laconia and a center for processing citrus and olives.
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