Nabis, a Spartan tyrant who raised himself to supreme power on the death of Machanidas in 207 B. C. He caused the young son of the deceased king Lycurgus to be assassinated; the most influential citizens were put to death or banished; the wealthy were subjected to incessant exactions enforced by torture, and one of the tyrant's favorite engines of punishment was the figure of a woman which he called after his wife Apega, and which being made to embrace the victim pierced him with spikes projecting from its breast and arms. The money thus obtained enabled him to support a mercenary force to crush the spirit of Sparta, attempt the restoration of the Lacedaemonian ascendancy in the Peloponnesus, and seize the city of Messene. He was forced to withdraw by the Megalopolitan general Philo-poemen, but in the next year he returned and reduced the territory of Megalopolis to great distress. On the conclusion of the first Macedonian war, Flamininus, the Roman consul, invaded Laconia with a powerful force, and laid siege to Sparta. Nabis made an obstinate defence, but was ultimately constrained to purchase peace (195). In 192, having again involved himself in hostilities with the Achaeans, he applied to the Aetolians for succor.
They sent a small force, ostensibly to assist but in reality to overthrow him, and he was soon assassinated by their general Alexamenus.