The year is 357 BC as we know it – The Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta ended nearly 50 years ago, causing wide spread poverty and mistrust in all city-states of Greece. The great Philip of Macedonia from the north, has recently finished conquering all of Greece, save for Sparta which he has made alliance with to avoid great death tolls on both sides. The treaty brings the great wealth of a century ago, rich culture, and general peace back to Greece. In half a year King Phillip will hold the first Olympics, under his reign, to solidify his position and has even recently announced an heir to be born – who he will call Alexander in honor of all Greeks if born a boy. Sicily is current under the tumultuous control of Greece, Carthage, and Sicilian masters – each vying for more land.
For clarification, as well – All those in Sparta are not Spartans. Spartans are the modern descendants of the Dorians, barbarian conquerors that came from the north beyond Greece. At one time they controlled all of Greece but overtime were assimilated in all areas but what is now called Sparta. Spartans actually rule over two groups of people and land. The Laconia make up what is remembered as mainland Sparta – those born Laconians are not slave but neither free. They must live in helots under a Spartan family, paying tribute by portions of all food or goods produced, but they do have citizenship and are to be treated fairly. Many Laconians also take up arms for Sparta and interbreeding occurs frequently. Messenia makes up the other half of the Sparta domain. Messenians are treated as slaves because of long conflict with Spartan domination. They have no rights, any Spartan can freely do what they desire – though cruel treatment is reserved for only those known to cause trouble or revolt. Spartans themselves are the ruling class and every family controls a helot, size and wealth of which depends on the wealth and power of the Spartan family.
Persia to the east. once so strong, has dwindled to a mere shadow of its former glory under Shah Artaxerxes III. In the north, barbarians from Germania have been raiding, especially in the west with the growing city of Rome, who is already engaged in war with Carthage, Iberia, and other northern barbarians. The Mediterranean Sea south is a dangerous place without a skilled captain familiar with the open waters for trade and war purposes since no reliable means of navigation has been invented, but any Greek captain worth his weight in fish knows well the Aegean Sea much closer to home. The Carthage empire of black-skinned lands southwestward has been warring with Greek city-states for nearly 300 years off and on with no stable peace in site. Pharaoh Nectanebo II rules Egypt in relative peace, after having usurped his older cousin Tesojania with the support of Egypt’s people. He has been making war in the canaanite lands to the southeast, further dwindling the Persian Empire’s strength.