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(also perioikoi), inhabitants of Sparta, Argos, and various Greek city-states in Elis and Thessaly who did not possess full rights. In Sparta, the Perioeci were the descendants of the indigenous population, which had been subjugated by the Dorians and driven to the border areas of Laconia. In contrast to the Helots, the Perioeci were free inhabitants; they could own land and were obligated to serve in the armed forces, but they had no political rights. Communities of the Perioeci enjoyed limited autonomy. Some Perioeci engaged in handicraft production and trade.