"like the famous Spartan theft"

In ancient Greece, the city-state of Sparta was located on the Peloponnesus, a peninsula southwest of Athens. Spartan society was dedicated to militarism.  The life of every individual, from the moment of birth, belonged absolutely to the state. Military training began from the age of 7, and all male citizens between the ages of 20 and 60 served in the army, and ate and slept in the public barracks. Music was limited to war songs, and no luxury was allowed – even speech has to be kept short and to the point. 

Early in the 6th century Sparta attacked Tegea, the most powerful of the Arcadian cities. The campaign was initially unsuccessful, but Sparta kept up its efforts over many years.  Sparta eventually defeated Tegea, and attributed their subsequent conquest of Arcadia to their theft of the bones of Orestes from Tegea.