Two generations later the Messenians revolted and under the leadership of Aristomenes kept the Spartans at bay for some seventeen years (648-631 B.C., according to Grote): but the stronghold of Ira (Eira) fell after a siege of eleven years, and those Messenians who did not leave the country were reduced to the condition of helots.
In 187 9 De Bruyne sighted high land in the Franz Josef Land region, but otherwise it remained untouched until Leigh Smith, in the yacht "Eira," explored the whole southern coast from 42° to 54° E.
Aristomenes and the survivors retired to the mountain stronghold of Eira, where they defied the Spartans for eleven years.
Aristomenes alone was saved, and soon reappeared at Eira: legend told how he was upheld in his fall by an eagle and escaped by grasping the tail of a fox, which led him to the hole by which it had entered.
At length Eira was betrayed to the Spartans (668 B.C. according to Pausanias), and after a heroic resistance Aristomenes and his followers had to evacuate Messenia and seek a temporary refuge with their Arcadian allies.