Agis II

Agis II (Greek: Ἄγις; died c. 401 BC) was the 18th Eurypontid king of Sparta, the eldest son of Archidamus II by his first wife, and half-brother of Agesilaus II.[1] He ruled with his Agiad co-monarch Pausanias.[2]

Agis succeeded his father Archidamus II in 427 BC, and reigned a little more than 26 years. In the summer of 426 BC, he led an army of Peloponnesians and their allies as far as the isthmus, with the intention of invading Attica; but they were deterred from advancing farther by a succession of earthquakes.[3] In the spring of the following year he led an army into Attica, but ceased his advance fifteen days after he had entered Attica.[4] In 419 BC, the Argives, at the instigation of Alcibiades, attacked Epidaurus; and Agis with a large force from Lacedaemon set out and marched to the frontier city of Leuctra. No one, Thucydides tells us, knew the purpose of this expedition. It was probably to make a diversion in favour of Epidaurus.[5]

At Leuctra the unfavourable outcome of various sacrifices deterred Agis from proceeding. He therefore led his troops back, and sent around a notice to the allies to be ready for an expedition at the end of the sacred month of the Carnean festival. When the Argives repeated their attack on Epidaurus, the Spartans again marched to the frontier town, Caryae, and again turned back, supposedly on account of the aspect of the victims. In the middle of the following summer of 418 BC the Epidaurians being still hard pressed by the Argives, the Lacedaemonians with their whole force and some allies, under the command of Agis, invaded Argolis. By a skilful manoeuvre he succeeded in intercepting the Argives, and posted his army advantageously between them and the city. But just as the battle was about to begin, the Argive generals Thrasyllus and Alciphron met with Agis and prevailed on him to conclude a truce for four months.

Agis, without disclosing his motives, pulled his army back. On his return he was severely censured in Sparta for having thus thrown away the opportunity of reducing Argos, especially as the Argives had seized the opportunity afforded by his return and taken Orchomenus. It was proposed to pull down his house, and inflict on him a fine of 100,000 drachmas. But on his earnest entreaty they contented themselves with appointing a council of war, consisting of 10 Spartans, who needed to be present before he could lead an army out of the city.[6] Shortly afterwards they received intelligence from Tegea, that, if not promptly reinforced, the party favourable to Sparta in that city would be compelled to surrender. The Spartans immediately sent their whole force under the command of Agis. He restored stability at Tegea, and then marched to Mantineia. By turning the waters to flood the lands of Mantineia, he succeeded in drawing the army of the Mantineans and Athenians down to the level ground. A battle ensued, in which the Spartans were victorious. The Battle of Mantinea was reckoned one of the most important battles ever fought between the Grecian states.[7]

In 417 BC, when the news reached Sparta of the counter-revolution at Argos, in which the oligarchical and Spartan faction was overthrown, an army was sent there under Agis. He was unable to restore the defeated party, but he destroyed the long walls which the Argives had begun to extend down to the sea, and took Hysiae.[8] In the spring of 413 BC, Agis entered Attica with a Peloponnesian army, and fortified Decelea;[9] and in the winter of the same year, after the news of the disastrous fate of the Sicilian expedition had reached Greece, he marched northwards to levy contributions on the allies of Sparta, for the purpose of constructing a fleet. While at Decelea he acted largely independent of the Spartan government, and received embassies from the disaffected allies of the Athenians, as from the Boeotians and other allies of Sparta.[10] He seems to have remained at Decelea until the end of the Peloponnesian War. In 411 BC, during the administration of the Four Hundred, he made an unsuccessful attempt on Athens itself.[11] Afterwards the focus of the Peloponnesian War shifted to Asia Minor, and Lysander assumed a greater role in the siege of Athens. After victory was secured, Agis voted to charge his Agiad co-monarch Pausanias with treason, but Pausanias was acquitted.[12]

In 401 BC, the command of the war against the notoriously disloyal Elis was entrusted to Agis, who in the third year compelled the Eleans to sue for peace, acknowledge the freedom of their Perioeci (Triphylians and others), and allow Spartans to take part in the Olympic Games and sacrifices.[2] As he was returning from Delphi, where he had gone to consecrate a tenth of the spoil, he fell sick at Heraea in Arcadia, and died a few days after he reached Sparta.[13] He was buried in Sparta, with unparalleled solemnity and pomp.[2]

Agis left a son, Leotychides. However, he was excluded from the throne, as there was some suspicion with regard to his legitimacy. A common legend states that while Alcibiades was in Sparta, Agis II suspected that Alcibiades had slept with his queen, Timaea (and that Alcidbiades had fathered Leotychides).[14][15] It was probably at the suggestion of Agis that orders were sent out to Astyochus to put him to death. Alcibiades, however, received warning (according to some accounts from Timaea herself), and evaded the Spartans.[16][17] However, others claim that, judging from the sources, Leotychides was a man at the time of Agis' death, and Alcibiades as his father was a later replacement for a now unknown lover.[18]

Agis II
King of Sparta
Reign427–401/400 BC
PredecessorArchidamus II
SuccessorAgesilaus II
Died401 BC
IssueLeotychides (possibly illegitimate)
FatherArchidamus II


  1. ^ Mason, Charles Peter (1867), "Agis (2)", in Smith, William (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, p. 72
  2. ^ a b c Agis II from Livius.Org Archived 2001-03-31 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Thucydides, iii. 89
  4. ^ Thucydides, iv. 2, 6
  5. ^ Connop Thirlwall, vol. iii. p. 342
  6. ^ Thucydides v. 54, 57, &c.
  7. ^ Thucydides v. 71—73
  8. ^ Thucydides v. 83
  9. ^ Thucydides vii. 19, 27
  10. ^ Thucydides viii. 3, 5
  11. ^ Thucydides viii. 71
  12. ^ Cartledge, Paul Anthony (1996), "Agis II", in Hornblower, Simon (ed.), Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  13. ^ Xenophon, Hellenica iii. 2. § 21, &c. 3. § 1—4
  14. ^ Justin, v. 2
  15. ^ Plutarch, Alcibiades 23
  16. ^ Thucydides viii. 12, 45
  17. ^ Plutarch, Lysand. 22. Agesil. 3
  18. ^ L. G. Pechatnova, A History of Sparta (Archaic and Classic Periods)


Preceded by
Archidamus II
Eurypontid King of Sparta
427–401/400 BC
Succeeded by
Agesilaus II
401 BC

Year 401 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Potitus, Cossus, Camillus, Ambustus, Mamercinus and Iullus (or, less frequently, year 353 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 401 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

410s BC

This decade witnessed the continuing decline of the Achaemenid Empire, fierce warfare amongst the Greek city-states during the Peloponnesian War, the ongoing Warring States period in Zhou dynasty China, and the closing years of the Olmec civilization (lasting from c. 1200–400 BC) in modern-day Mexico.

418 BC

Year 418 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Fidenas, Axilla and Mugillanus (or, less frequently, year 336 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 418 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Agesilaus II

Agesilaus II (; Greek: Ἀγησίλαος Agesilaos; c. 444/443 – c. 360 BC), was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta and a member of the Eurypontid dynasty ruling from 398 to about 360 BC, during most of which time he was, in Plutarch's words, "as good as though commander and king of all Greece," and was for the whole of it greatly identified with his country's deeds and fortunes. Small in stature and lame from birth, Agesilaus became ruler somewhat unexpectedly in his mid-forties. His reign saw successful military incursions into various states in Asia Minor, as well as successes in the Corinthian War; however, several diplomatic decisions resulted in Sparta becoming increasingly isolated prior to his death at the age of 84 in Cyrenaica.

Agesilaus was greatly admired by his friend, the historian Xenophon, who wrote a minor work about him titled Agesilaus.

Alcamenes, son of Sthenelaides

Alcamenes (Greek: Ἀλκαμένης), son of Sthenelaidas, was appointed by Agis II as harmost of the Lesbians when they wished to revolt from the Athenians in 412 BC. When Alcamenes put to sea with twenty-one ships to sail to Chios, he was pursued by the Athenian fleet off the Isthmus of Corinth, and driven on shore. The Athenians attacked the ships when on shore, and Alcamenes was killed in the battle.


Amphidolis (Ancient Greek: Ἀμφιδολίς) or Amphidolia (Ἀμφιδολία) was a town of the Pisatis district in ancient Elis. Its territory was probably to the west of Acroreia, and included the town of Marganeae (or Margalae). Amphidolis is mentioned by Strabo as a market town situated on the mountain road that runs from Elis to Olympia, near Alesiaeum (formerly Aleisium). Xenophon writes that in the war against Elis by the Spartans under Agis II, about 400 BCE, the townsmen of Amphidolis, along with those of other towns, joined the army of Agis and after the treaty ending the hostilities, Elis lost those towns and they were granted their freedom. Later, its townsmen joined the Spartan army and took part in the Battle of Nemea (394 BCE).It site is not precisely located.

Archidamus II

Archidamus II (Ancient Greek: Ἀρχίδαμος Β΄) was a Eurypontid king of Sparta who reigned from approximately 476 BC to 427 BC. His father was Zeuxidamus (called Cyniscos by many Spartans). Zeuxidamus married and had a son, Archidamus. However, Zeuxidamus died before his father, Leotychidas.

After the death of his son and heir, Leotychidas married Eurydame, the sister of Menius and daughter of Diactorides. While they had no male offspring, they did have a daughter, Lampito, whom Leotychidas gave in marriage to his grandson Archidamus. They had a son Agis II.

Archidamus' later second marriage was to Eupoleia. To them were born a son, Agesilaus II, and a daughter, Cynisca.

Battle of Hysiae (417 BC)

The second Battle of Hysiae between the armies of Argos and Sparta took place in 417 BC during the Peloponnesian War, directly following Sparta's decisive defeat of the Argive/Athenian alliance in the Battle of Mantinea the year before.

Classical Greece

Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (5th and 4th centuries BC) in Greek culture. This Classical period saw the annexation of much of modern-day Greece by the Persian Empire and its subsequent independence. Classical Greece had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and on the foundations of Western civilization. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought (architecture, sculpture), scientific thought, theatre, literature, and philosophy derives from this period of Greek history. In the context of the art, architecture, and culture of Ancient Greece, the Classical period corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC (the most common dates being the fall of the last Athenian tyrant in 510 BC and the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC). The Classical period in this sense follows the Greek Dark Ages and Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period.


Epitalium or Epitalion (Ancient Greek: Ἐπιτάλιον) was a town of Triphylia in ancient Elis, near the coast and a little south of the river Alpheius. It was identified with the Homeric Thryon (Θρύον) or Thryoessa (Θρυόεσσα), a town listed in the Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad as in the dominions of Nestor, which the poet describes as a place upon a lofty hill near the ford of the river Alpheius.Epitalium was an important military post, because it commanded the ford of the Alpheius and the road leading along the coast. Xenophon relates that, like the other dependent townships of Triphylia, it revolted from Elis when Agis II, the Spartan king, invaded the country in 401 BCE; and when Agis returned home, after ravaging Elis, he left a garrison in Epitalium. It is also mentioned by Polybius; in the year 218 BCE, Philip V of Macedon took several cities of Elis among which was Epitalium.The site of Epitalium is at the modern town of Epitalio, which was renamed to reflect the association with the ancient town.

Eudamidas I

Eudamidas I (Greek: Εὐδαμίδας, reigned 331 BC – c. 305 BC) was a Spartan king of the Eurypontid line, son of Archidamus III and brother of Agis III, whom he succeeded. He married the wealthy Archidamia, and they had two children, Archidamus IV and Agesistrata. There is evidence that Eudamidas I owned the half of his wife's wealth in land. His reign Sparta was a time of peace. Pausanias devotes more space to Agis II (427–400 BC) and Agesilaus II (400–360 BC) than to other kings, such as Agis III (338–330 BC) and Eudamidas I, whose lives he passed by briefly, as the Eurypontid line ‘fades’.

Larissa (Elis)

Larissa (Ancient Greek: Λάρισσα and Λάρισα) was a town in the borderlands of ancient Elis and ancient Achaea. According to a fragment of Theopompus, cited by Strabo, it was on the road between Elis and Dyme. It is related to the Larissos River, which served as the border between Elis and Achaea and next to which was found a temple of Athena Larisea. It is doubtful whether Xenophon wants to refer to the city or the river, by mentioning 'κατὰ Λάρισσαν' as the place where the Spartan king Agis II entered Elis from Achaea.The exact location of the city is unknown, but it has been suggested that it could be identified with the Dymaean Wall whose remains are adjacent to the current locations of Kalogria and Araxus.


Leotychidas (also Leotychides, Latychidas; Ancient Greek: Λεωτυχίδας; c. 545 BC–c. 469 BC) was co-ruler of Sparta between 491–476 BC, alongside Cleomenes I and later Leonidas I and Pleistarchus. He led Spartan forces during the Persian Wars from 490 BC to 478 BC.

Born in Sparta around 545 BC, Leotychidas was a descendant of the Royal House of the Eurypontids (through Menamus, Agesilaus, Hippocratides, Leotychides, Anaxilaus, Archidamos, Anaxandridas I and Theopompus) and came to power in 491 BC with the help of the Agiad King Cleomenes I by challenging the legitimacy of the birth of Demaratus for the Eurypontid throne of Sparta. Later that year, he joined Cleomenes' second expedition to Aegina, where ten hostages were seized and given to Athens. However, after Cleomenes' death in 488 BC, Leotychidas was almost surrendered to Aegina.

In the spring of 479 BC, following the death of his co-ruler Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae, Leotychidas commanded a Greek fleet consisting of 110 ships at Aegina and later at Delos, supporting the Greek revolts at Chios and Samos against Persia. Leotychidas defeated Persian military and naval forces at the Battle of Mycale on the coast of Asia Minor in the summer of 479 BC (possibly around mid-August). In 476 BC, Leotychidas led an expedition to Thessaly against the Aleuadae family for collaboration with the Persians but withdrew after being bribed by the family. Upon returning to Sparta he was tried for bribery, and fled to the temple of Athena Alea in Tegea. He was sentenced to exile and his house burned. He was succeeded by his grandson, Archidamus II, son of his son Zeuxidamus, called Cyniscus, who had died in his father's lifetime. Leotychidas died some years later, around 469 BC.

Leotychidas is not to be confused with another Eurypontid, Leotychides, who was the (allegedly illegitimate) son of Agis II.


Letrini or Letrinoi (Ancient Greek: Λέτρινοι) or Letrina (Λετρίνα) was a town of Pisatis in ancient Elis, situated near the sea, upon the Sacred Way leading from Elis to Olympia, at the distance of 180 stadia from Elis, and 120 from Olympia.

According to Greek mythology, it was said to have been founded by Letreus, a son of Pelops. There was a tradition that said that the bones of Pelops - necessary, according to the oracle, for the Achaeans to conquer Troy - were at Letrini.Together with several of the other dependent townships of Elis, it joined Spartan king Agis II, when he invaded the territories of Elis; and the Eleians were obliged to surrender their supremacy over Letrini by the peace which they concluded with the Spartans in 400 BCE. Later, the townsmen of Letrini formed part of the Spartan army that fought at the Battle of Nemea in 394 BCE. Xenophon speaks of Letrini, Amphidoli, and Marganeis as Triphylian places, although they were on the right bank of the Alpheius; and if there is no corruption in the text, the word Triphylian must be used in a loose sense to signify the dependent townships of Elis. The Λετριναῖαι γύαι are mentioned by Lycophron.. In the time of Pausanias nothing remained of Letrini except a few houses and a temple of Artemis Alpheiaea; the epithet Alpheiaea was due to a tradition that the river god Alpheus fell in love with Artemis and tried to seduce her in the vicinity of Letrini. It remains doubtful whether this temple is the same as that mentioned by Strabo as located near the mouth of the Alpheius.Letrini may be placed at the village and monastery of Agios Ioannis (St John), between Pyrgos and the port of Katakolo, where, according to William Martin Leake, among many fragments of antiquity, a part of a large statue was found in the early 19th century. Some modern scholars accept the identification, while others treat it as tentative.

Macistus (Elis)

Macistus or Makistos (Ancient Greek: Μάκιστος), or Macistum or Makiston (Μάκιστον), was a city of ancient Elis, in Greece. It is one of the six cities (along with Lepreum, Phrixae, Pyrgus, Epium, and Nudium) founded by the Minyans in the territory of the Paroreatae and Caucones.Pausanias writes that in the time of king Pyrrhus of Pisatis, the cities of Pisa, Macistus, Scillus, and Dyspontium rebelled against the Eleans because of the organization of the Olympic Games. Pisa and its allies were defeated and their cities were destroyed (c. 575 BCE).Herodotus comments that, in his time, most of the cities founded by the Minyans were ravaged by the Eleans. It is supposed that this happened around 460 BCE, after the Third Messenian War. The town is also cited by Xenophon in the framework of the war between Elis and Sparta led by Agis II about the year 400 BCE.According to Artemidorus, it was uninhabited since the 2nd century BCE. Strabo places it in the region of Triphylia and says that it also had the name of Platanistunte. In addition, he calls its territory "Macistia" and indicates that it extended beyond the Neda River.There has been controversy about its exact location and it has even been suggested that it could have been the same city as Sami. However, modern scholars locate Macistus at a site called Mazi within the bounds of the modern town of Skillounta.

Peace of Nicias

The Peace of Nicias, also known as the Fifty-Year Peace, was a peace treaty signed between the Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta in March 421 BC, ending the first half of the Peloponnesian War.In 425 BC, the Spartans had lost the battles of Pylos and Sphacteria, a severe defeat resulting in the Athenians' holding 292 prisoners. At least 120 were Spartiates. They had recovered by 424 BC, when the Spartan general Brasidas captured Amphipolis. In the same year, the Athenians suffered a major defeat in Boeotia at the Battle of Delium, and in 422 BC they were defeated again at the Battle of Amphipolis in their attempt to take back that city. Both Brasidas, the leading Spartan general, and Cleon, the leading politician in Athens, were killed at Amphipolis. By this time both sides were exhausted and ready for peace.

The negotiations were begun by Pleistoanax, King of Sparta, and the Athenian general Nicias. Both decided to return everything that they had conquered during the war, except for Nisaea, which would remain in Athenian hands, and Plataea, which remained under the control of Thebes. Most notably, Amphipolis would be returned to Athens, and the Athenians would release the prisoners taken at Sphacteria. Temples throughout Greece would be open to worshippers from all cities, and the oracle at Delphi would regain its autonomy. Athens could continue to collect tribute from the states from which it had received it since the time of Aristides, but Athens could not force them to become allies. Athens also agreed to come to Sparta's aid if the Helots revolted. All of Sparta's allies agreed to sign the peace, except for the Boeotians, Corinth, Elis, and Megara.

Seventeen representatives from each side swore an oath to uphold the treaty, which was meant to last for fifty years. These representatives were, for Sparta, the kings Pleistoanax and Agis II, Pleistolas, Damagetus, Chionis, Metagenes, Acanthus, Daithus, Ischagoras, Philocharidas, Zeuxidas, Antiphus, Tellis, Alcindas, Empedias, Menas, and Laphilus. The Athenian representatives were Lampon, Isthmonicus, Nicias, Laches, Euthydemus, Procles, Pythodorus, Hagnon, Myrtilus, Thrasycles, Theagenes, Aristocrates, Iolcius, Timocrates, Leon, Lamachus, and Demosthenes. However, Athens's chief goal, the restoration of Amphipolis, was denied when Clearidas obtained from the Spartans a clause in the treaty negating the transfer. Thus the treaty was broken from the start and, after several more failures, was formally abandoned in 414 BC.


Phrixa (Ancient Greek: Φρίξα) or Phrixae or Phrixai (Φρίξαι) was a town of Triphylia in ancient Elis, situated upon the left bank of the Alpheius, at the distance of 30 stadia from Olympia. It is one of the six cities (along with Lepreum, Macistus, Pyrgus, Epium, and Nudium) founded by the Minyans in the territory of the Paroreatae and Caucones. Its name was derived from Phaestus.Phrixa is rarely mentioned in history; but it shared the fate of the other Triphylian cities. It is cited by Xenophon in the war between Elis and Sparta and its allies led by Agis II about the year 400 BCE. After the end of the hostilities, Elis was forced to lose control of, among others, the city of Phrixa. It is also mentioned by Polybius; in the year 218 BCE, Philip V of Macedon took several cities of Elis among which was Phrixa.Its position is determined by Pausanias, who says that it was situated upon a pointed hill, opposite the Leucanias, a tributary of the Alpheius, and at a ford of the latter river. This pointed hill is now called Paleofánaro, and is a conspicuous object from both sides of the river, whence the city received the name of Phaestus or Phaistos (Φαιστός) in later times. The city was in ruins in the time of Pausanias, who mentions there a temple of Athena Cydonia. Upon the summit of the hill, in the 19th century when visited by archaeologists, there were still remains of Hellenic walls.The location of Phrixa is at modern Phixa.

Xenias of Elis

For other persons with the same name, see Xenias

Xenias was an Elean, of great wealth, who was a proxenos of Sparta, and was also connected by private ties of hospitality with king Agis II. In 400 BC, during the war between Sparta and Elis, Xenias and his oligarchical partizans made an attempt to bear down their adversaries by force, and to subject their country to the Spartans -Sallying out into the streets, they murdered several of their opponents, and among them a man whom they mistook for Thrasydaeus, the leader of the democratic party. Thrasydaeus of Elis, however, who had fallen asleep under the influence of wine, soon rallied his friends, defeated the oligarchs in a battle, and drove Xenias into exile.

Early Heraclids
Agiad dynasty
Eurypontid dynasty
Later rulers

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