Yet except at the beginning of the 4th century the perioeci were, so far as we can judge, fairly contented, and only two of their cities joined the insurgent helots in 464 B.C. (Thuc. i.
Spartiates were absolutely debarred by law from trade or manufacture, which consequently rested in the hands of the perioeci (q.v.), and were forbidden to possess either gold or silver, the currency consisting of bars of iron: but there can be no doubt that this prohibition was evaded in various ways.
The Stoic philosophers, especially Crates of Mallus, arguing from the love of nature for life, placed an oekumene in each quarter of the sphere, the three unknown worldislands being those of the Antoeci, Perioeci and Antipodes.
Subsequently he invaded and ravaged Elis, forcing the Eleans to acknowledge the freedom of their perioeci and to allow Spartans to take part in the Olympic games and sacrifices.
The term, however, came to denote not a nationality but a political status, and though the main body of the perioeci may have been Achaean in origin, yet they afterwards included Arcadians on the northern frontier of Laconia, Dorians, especially in Cythera and in Messenia, and Ionians in Cynuria.
Lysander as ephor proposed on behalf of Agis that all debts sbould be cancelled and that Laconia should be divided into 19,500 lots, of which 4500 should be given to Spartiates, whose number was to be recruited from the best of the perioeci and foreigners, and the remaining 15,000 to perioeci who could bear arms. The Agiad king Leonidas having prevailed on the council to reject this measure, though by a majority of only one, was deposed in favour of his son-in-law Cleombrotus, who assisted Agis in bearing down opposition by the threat of force.
They could actually put perioeci to death without trial, if we may believe Isocrates (xii.
Though organized on similar lines, with a citizen population divided into three Dorian tribes (and one containing other elements), with a class of Perioeci (neighbouring dependents) and of serfs, the Argives had no more constant foe than their Lacedaemonian kinsmen.