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Son of the Agiad regent Cleombrotus (d. 480 bc), and nephew of Leonidas. As regent for Pleistarchus, he commanded the combined Greek land forces at Plataea in 479, while his Eurypontid co‐king Leotychidas assumed the overall command at sea. He immodestly ascribed the Greek victory to his leadership, thereby earning a reminder of his mortality from Simonides and a rebuke from the Spartan authorities. Nevertheless in 478 he was placed in command of an allied ‘Hellenic League’ fleet and captured Byzantium, but his arrogant behaviour and possibly treasonable negotiations with the Persian enemy provoked a mutiny that redounded to the benefit of Athens. Recalled to Sparta for trial on this charge, he escaped conviction and returned to Byzantium, apparently still on official business. Expelled in c.475 by Cimon, leader of the new Athenian sea‐league (see delian league), he removed to Troas where he was believed to be continuing to negotiate with Persia on his own behalf. He was again recalled to Sparta and tried c.470, but again acquitted. His enemies had more success with accusations of complicity with a helot uprising and an alleged promise of citizenship to helot rebels. To escape arrest by the ephors, he took refuge in a room in the temple of Athena on the Spartan acropolis, where he was left to starve; but shortly before he died, he was removed from the temple to avoid pollution. Later, the Spartans made reparations with the erection of two statues and the founding of a hero‐shrine in his (and Leonidas') honour; see hero‐cult.

Subjects: Classical studies

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