Aratus of Sicyon

Aratus (/əˈreɪtəs/; Greek: Ἄρατος; 271–213 BC) was a statesman of the ancient Greek city-state of Sicyon and a leader of the Achaean League. He deposed the Sicyonian tyrant Nicocles in 251 BC. Aratus was an advocate of Greek unity and brought Sicyon into the Achaean League, which he led to its maximum extent. He was elected strategos many times and led the Achaeans against Macedonia, the Aetolians and the Spartans. After the Spartans defeated and nearly destroyed the cities of the Achaean League, he requested Antigonus III Doson of Macedonia to help fight against the Aetolians and Spartans. After Antigonus died in 221 BC, Aratus did not get along with the new king, Philip V of Macedon, who wanted to make the Achaean League subject to Macedonia. Polybius and Plutarch record that Philip had Aratus poisoned.[1]

Aratus of Sicyon
Aratus of Sicyon in combat. Late 17th century print.
LifeOfAratus
Highlights of Aratus' life. The sites are numbered chronologically.

Early life

Aratus was born in 271 BC in Sicyon. At the time of his birth, his father, Cleinias, was governing Sicyon as the city-state's magistrate. Cleinias was bringing order and peace to the city-state after ending a long succession of tyrants.[2]

In 264 BC, Abantidas led a revolt against Cleinias. Cleinias was slain during the revolt and Abantidas sought to kill the 7 years old Aratus. Aratus escaped after wandering into the home of Soso, Abantidas' sister, who was married to Prophantus (Cleinias' brother). She was so emotionally moved by the child's circumstance that she hid him until nightfall, and then sent him off to Argos.[2]

In Argos, Aratus was educated with liberal notions by other exiles, many of whom had been friends of his family. Aratus grew to hate tyranny. Aratus also attended the Argos' palaestra regularly, developing an athletic body, which was later noted in statues. He even won the pentathlon once.[2]

Soon, Aratus became a political leader in exile. He was admired because of both his aristocratic birth and his enthusiasm.[2]

Liberating Sicyon

In 251 BC, Nicocles had just become the latest tyrant of Sicyon. His reign had begun four months previously, and was marked by the brutal suppression of all opposition. He feared Aratus so he commissioned spies to follow him in Argos.[2]

Aratus considered his future, and nothing in Macedonia, with King Antigonus II, nor in Egypt, with King Ptolemy II, looked promising. Consequently, Aratus decided to liberate Sicyon with the help of the other exiles. The revolt had to be swift, avoiding any protracted conflict, which they could not afford.[2]

Aratus and his men slipped into Sicyon quietly at night, climbing the steep wall on the rocky side with ladders. Right before the dawn, Aratus captured the guards, and he sent orders to spread the news of the revolt to the local people so they might join in. At dawn, the populace of Sicyon surrounded the palace and, after a herald harangued them, they thronged into the palace which was set afire. The flames could be seen from Corinth, 12 km away. Nicocles escaped through an underground passageway. Aratus divided the spoils from the palace between his soldiers and the people. Only one citizen was killed in his revolt.[2]

Pacifying Sicyon

Aratus had brought most of the exiles back, but after fifty years of tyranny, most of the exiles had become destitute. They claimed their former properties which had been given away. Fearing a civil war, Aratus decided that Sicyon would join the Achaean League. Sicyon lost its Dorian status because of this. Once inside the league, Aratus served in the cavalry. His commanders were surprised because he responded as dutifully as the lowest soldier.[2]

Aratus turned to Ptolemy, King of Egypt, to help Sicyon. Ptolemy was a personal friend because Aratus often sent him Greek paintings, made by famous artists from Sicyon, which was then an important centre of art. Ptolemy had already sent 25 talents, but this wasn't enough. Aratus decided to visit him personally. After a hazardous trip, during which he was almost captured by the Macedonians, Aratus arrived in Egypt. Ptolemy presented Sicyon with 150 talents. This grant from Ptolemy greatly benefited Sicyon and its citizens and the exiles erected a brass statue on Aratus' behalf.[2]

The Macedonian King Antigonus began a campaign against Aratus, to destroy the friendship between Ptolemy and Aratus. Ptolemy sent diplomats to Sicyon to discuss the issue.[2]

The Achaean Strategos

In 245 BC, Aratus was appointed Strategos of the Achaean League. At the time, the Achaean League's major rivals were Macedonia, who had garrisons throughout the Peloponnese, and the Aetolian League, which had formed a military alliance with Macedonia. His first military action was to aid the Boeotian army. Leading 10,000 soldiers, Aratus attacked both Locris and Calydon.[2]

Capturing Corinth

Corinth had been garrisoned years before by Philip II of Macedonia. Aratus discovered a way to liberate the city, with the help of four Syrian brothers. One of them, Erginus, had stolen the Corinthian royal treasury and he decided to store his fortune at Sicyon. There, he revealed to Aratus that his brother Diocles, who was a soldier in the Macedonian garrison, had discovered a part of the walls which was only 4.5 meter high. It was accessible through some rocks, by a hidden path. Aratus guaranteed a 60 talent reward to all four brothers, pawning his own wife's silver jewellery to cover the cost.[2]

Again as Strategos in 243 BC, Aratus led 400 men to Corinth, leading the finest 100 men personally right into the garrison, through the secret passage. The Macedonians were overwhelmed by the assault. The next morning, Corinth's garrison surrendered and the entire Achaean army arrived.[2]

Aratus gathered all the Corinthians at the theatre. Aratus was wearing his armour and leaned on his spear, which he held in his right hand. Without his uttering a word, the multitude acclaimed him. Aratus spoke on behalf of the Achaean League, asking the Corinthians to join them. Then he returned the city's keys, which had been taken by the Macedonians. The Achaeans garrisoned Corinth with 400 men.[2]

Expanding the League

Consequently, Megara, Troezen, and Epidaurus revolted against Macedonia and joined the Achaean League. Aratus invaded Attica and occupied Salamis. Aratus convinced his friend King Ptolemy to enter into an alliance with the Achaean League.[2]

A recognized leader

Soon, the Achaeans recognized that Aratus' primary goal was to boost the league's power and influence throughout Greece. He was also a strong advocate for Greek unity. Thus, although it was prohibited by the law, Aratus was appointed Strategos in successive years, from 241 BC until 235 BC. Aratus repeated the maxim that, although a single city may not be strong enough, together as members of the Achaean League, all the cities could survive as a whole.[2]

Against the Peloponnesian tyrants

Aratus campaigned against any tyrannical Peloponnesian leaders.[2]

Argos

Among such campaigns, Aratus' most difficult was with Argos. This city had fallen under a succession of tyrants, and Aratus desired to liberate the city where he had grown up. With the Achaeans, Aratus led a series of campaigns but the Argives never surrendered, since they were already accustomed to live under tyranny. In one battle, a spear cut Aratus' thigh. Learning that the tyrant Aristippus of Argos planned a night attack against Cleonae, Aratus took him by surprise and defeated the assailants at the gate. On his flight back to Argos, Aristippus was killed by the pursuers, but Aratos was still not able to free the city, because Macedonian soldiers helped the former's brother Aristomachos to subject Argos to tyrannical rule again.[2]

Lydiadas

Lydiadas had been Megalopolis' tyrant but he relented, restricting his power and joining the Achaean League. In return, Lydiadas was appointed Strategos. Alternately in successive years, both Aratus and Lydiadas were the League's Strategos from 234 BC until 230 BC. Soon Lydiadas wanted to dominate Aratus inside the League. Lydiadas began openly criticising Aratus. However, according to Plutarch, the Achaean council was suspicious of Lydiadas because of his tyrannical past, so he was unable to gain much political support for his views regarding Aratus.[2]

Allying with Aetolia

Despite recent confrontations with the Achaean League, after Antigonus II of Macedonia died in 239 BC, Aetolia, whose leader was Pantaleon of Pleuron, agreed to help the Achaeans against Macedonia. Although this was temporary, it meant that the powerful Achaean League achieved its widest territorial reach by about 229 BC, almost exclusively due to Aratus' policies.[2]

Aratus attempted to liberate Athens. In the Thriasian Plain, his leg was severely broken, but he stayed on using a litter. Eventually, he captured Athens and pardoned the local people. Later, Aratus convinced Diogenes, the local Macedonian commander, to sell Piraeus, Munychia, Salamis, and Sunium, which he had until then held for Macedonia, to the Athenians, for 150 talents (20 of which were paid by Aratus).[2]

On hearing news of this, Aegina, Hermione, and most Arcadian cities joined the Achaean League. Also, by Aratus' insistence, Aristomachos brought Argos into the league and he was appointed Strategos. Phlius also joined at this time.[2]

The Worst years

Against Sparta

When Cleomenes III became king of Sparta, he ravaged the Peloponnesian cities. The Achaean League confronted this menace, with Aratus as Strategos for twelfth time, in 227 BC. Aratus captured Mantineia by surprise, but Cleomenes captured Megalopolis and garrisoned it.[2]

Aratus began corresponding secretly with Antigonus. Soon the Macedonians agreed to assist Aratus and garrisoned some Peloponnesian cities and aiding other cities with troops. For instance, Corinth was reinforced by Macedonian troops although its garrison was still Achaean.[2]

Mantineia fell and, then, Cleomenes demanded being appointed Strategos. The Achaean council invited him to Argos for talks but Cleomenes brought his entire army to Lerna, which was a distance of 4 km from Argos. This alarmed Aratus and he suggested to Cleomenes that, as "good friends", just 300 Spartans may enter Argos. According to Plutarch, Cleomenes felt offended by the offer and, in the Achaean Council, both argued so bitterly that Cleomenes formally declared war on the league.[2]

Sparta captured most of the Achaean cities and Aratus witnessed his league crumble. Aratus was commanded to police the league. Thus, he executed people, both in Sicyon and in Corinth. The Corinthians attempted to abduct Aratus but they failed. Subsequently, Corinth surrendered voluntarily to Sparta. The city was garrisoned and further fortified.[2]

Both Aetolia and Athens denied further assistance to the League. According to Plutarch, Aratus, who was still being reappointed Strategos annually, became a weak Greek political figure, with neither power nor hope.[2]

Nonetheless, Cleomenes showed many courtesies towards Aratus, desiring to ingratiate himself with the League. Aratus' Corinthian estate wasn't touched, while Cleomenes offered him a 12 talent pension. According to Plutarch, Aratus declined to accept these gifts, excusing himself:

"Now, I don't govern affairs. Instead, they govern me."

Being angered by this response, Cleomenes launched a massive invasion of Sicyon territory.[2]

Against Aetolia

He was utterly defeated by the Aetolians at Caphyae in 220 BC. Two thousand Achaean soldiers fled the field after, erroneously, Aratus had ordered an attack on the Aetolians, who were better positioned, over a hilly terrain. The Achaean Council criticized Aratus so badly that he lost confidence. As a result, the Aetolians were able to leave the Peloponnesus without opposition, although Aratus could have defeated them easily.[3]

Friend of Macedonia

After three months of siege on Sicyon, in 224 BC Aratus deemed that Achaea should surrender Corinth to Macedonia definitively, because this city was their condition for a complete alliance. In Aegium, the Achaean council approved this. Then, some Corinthians, angered by Aratus' decision, plundered all of Aratus' possessions and gave his residence to Cleomenes.[2]

Aratus met Antigonus III at Pegae. The Macedonian King had brought 20,000 soldiers plus 1,300 cavalrymen. According to Plutarch, they swore reciprocal fidelity, although Aratus, understandably, was concerned about the alliance, after years of war, and especially since his own career had begun in opposition to Macedonia. However, soon he discovered that Antigonus admired him.[2]

Immediately, the renewed Achaean League smashed the Spartan threat. Argos, Corinth, Mantineia, and all other cities were retaken. Cleomenes was defeated decisively at Sellasia, in 222 BC, after which he fled to Egypt.[2]

Loyalty to Macedonia

Henceforth, until his death, Aratus revised his policies to serve the Macedonian monarchy. As Antigonus' chief advisor, he consistently demonstrated his ability and wisdom of counsel. Among other things, Mantineia was renamed Antigonea by Aratus.[2]

Some time before the alliance, according to Plutarch, Aratus had made a sacrifice where two conjoined gallbladders were found. The interpretation was that "two bitter enemies would join amicably." This was remembered when, watching an entertainment at Corinth, both Aratus and Antigonus ended protected from the very cold weather under the same cloak.[2]

However, according to Plutarch, the Peloponnesians criticized Aratus harshly, accusing him of allowing the Macedonians to torture, execute and pillage indiscriminately. In addition, Aratus witnessed many statues erected which represented the former tyrants, while those which represented the leaders who had liberated Corinth were torn down. Among these, only Aratus' statue was left.[2]

Teaching the new king

Antigonus returned to Macedonia where he soon died fighting against Illyria. His nephew Philip moved to Peloponnesus, to live with Aratus and become acquainted with the local people. In 221 BC, Philip V assumed the throne and continued his uncle's favour towards Aratus.[2]

In 218 BC, Phillip's royal advisors persuaded him to support Epiratos, who was Aratus' rival. Epiratos was elected Strategos. However, the Macedonian King discovered that he had been misled and punished the deceitful advisors. The King returned his support to Aratus, so Aratus was Strategos again, in 217 BC.[3]

No longer under the threat of a Macedonian invasion, the Achaean League dissipated. Aetolia took advantage of this situation to pillage the Peloponnesus again, this time with some Spartan assistance. in 217 BC, Aratus convinced Philip to launch a surprise attack on Aetolia. As a result, Aetolia was forced to sign a peace with Macedonia.[3]

With his experience, Aratus was the person who taught the young King the most about both royal policies and behaviour. For this reason, Aratus was greatly disliked by the King's other advisors that they insulted Aratus bitterly on any occasion. Their leaders were Apelles and Leontius. Eventually, they were executed by the King.[3]

His death

However, soon after, forgetting all dignity and courtesy, Philip V became an intemperate monarch. For instance, according to Plutarch, being cordially lodged at Aratus' home, he had a lengthy secret affair with Aratus' daughter-in-law.[2]

Accordingly, through secret meetings, Philip V provoked a civil war capriciously in Messene, pitting magistrates against demagogues. Aratus could do nothing to reconcile the parties, and 200 magistrates were slain. Aratus reproached the King quite bitterly over this event. To settle things down, the King invited Aratus to a religious sacrifice at Mt. Ithome. There, according to Plutarch, Aratus said:

"You have conquered almost all Greece but you don't control the people's emotions whereas a King's strongest fortresses are both popular confidence and affection."

Soon, Aratus, who continued as the Achaean Strategos year after year, avoided dealing with the King. Then, according to Plutarch, he refused to join the Epirian expedition.[2]

After being defeated by the Romans, Philip V returned to the Peloponnesus. The King interfered in Messene's politics again, then ravaged the country without a reason. Once more, Aratus reacted openly against him. Furthermore, according to Plutarch, he was then informed about his daughter-in-law's affair, although Aratus didn't tell this to his son.[2]

Philip V had become completely tyrannical, and he decided to end this bitter confrontation by killing Aratus. The King planned to do this discreetly, during his absence. So the Macedonian general Taurion was assigned to this task. After getting acquainted with him, Taurion administered a slow effect poison to Aratus. According to Plutarch, Aratus began suffering progressive fevers and coughing while his body decayed slowly but steadily.[2]

Aratus understood the situation but he knew that nothing could be done politically. Thus, he kept silence. Only once, he commented to a friend:

"These are the consequences of the king's love."

Aratus died at Aegium, in 213 BC.[2]

Although the local people were ready to bury him with great pomp, Sicyon claimed the corpse. Since it was prohibited to bury him inside the city, the citizens consulted Delphi's oracle. They were so happy by the response that the burial became a festival. Aratus' corpse was buried at the most conspicuous spot, which was then named Arateium.[2]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Polybius 8.14; Plutarch, Aratus 52
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao Plutarch, The Lives, "Aratus"
  3. ^ a b c d Polybius, The Histories
Preceded by
Margos
Strategos of the Achaean League
245/44 BC
Succeeded by
Dioedas?
Preceded by
Dioedas?
Strategos of the Achaean League
243/242 BC
Succeeded by
Aegialeas
Preceded by
Aegialeas
Strategos of the Achaean League
241/40 BC
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
?
Strategos of the Achaean League
239/38 BC
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
?
Strategos of the Achaean League
237/36 BC
Succeeded by
Dioedas?
Preceded by
Dioedas?
Strategos of the Achaean League
235/34 BC
Succeeded by
Lydiadas of Megalopolis
Preceded by
Lydiadas of Megalopolis
Strategos of the Achaean League
233/32 BC
Succeeded by
Lydiadas of Megalopolis
Preceded by
Lydiadas of Megalopolis
Strategos of the Achaean League
231/30 BC
Succeeded by
Lydiadas of Megalopolis
Preceded by
Lydiadas of Megalopolis
Strategos of the Achaean League
229/28 BC
Succeeded by
Aristomachos of Argos
Preceded by
Aristomachos of Argos
Strategos of the Achaean League
227/26 BC
Succeeded by
Hyperuatas
Preceded by
-
Strategos Autokrator
225 – 222 BC
Succeeded by
-
Preceded by
Timoxenos
Strategos of the Achaean League
224/23 BC
Succeeded by
Timoxenos?
Preceded by
Timoxenos?
Strategos of the Achaean League
222/21 BC
Succeeded by
Timoxenos
Preceded by
Timoxenos
Strategos of the Achaean League
220/19 BC
Succeeded by
Aratus the Younger
Preceded by
Epiratos
Strategos of the Achaean League
217/16 BC
Succeeded by
Timoxenos
Preceded by
Timoxenos
Strategos of the Achaean League
215/14 BC
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
?
Strategos of the Achaean League
213 BC
Succeeded by
Cycliadas?
Achaean League

The Achaean League (Greek: Κοινὸν τῶν Ἀχαιῶν, Koinon ton Akhaion 'League of Achaeans') was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greek city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Achaea in the northwestern Peloponnese, which formed its original core. The first league was formed in the fifth century BC. The second Achaean League was established in 280 BC. As a rival of Antigonid Macedon and an ally of Rome, the league played a major role in the expansion of the Roman Republic into Greece. This process eventually led to the League's conquest and dissolution by the Romans in 146 BC.

The League represents the most successful attempt by the Greek city states to develop a form of federalism, which balanced the need for collective action with the desire for local autonomy. Through the writings of the Achaean statesman Polybius, this structure has had an influence on the constitution of the United States and other modern federal states.

Aegineta

Aegineta was an ancient Greek modeller (or fictor, one who sculpts with clay or other plastic material) mentioned by Pliny the Elder. Some scholars supposed that the word Aeginetae in the passage of Pliny denoted merely the country—Aegina—of some artist, whose real name was not given. The consensus of scholarly opinion is now against this hypothesis, however, and it is generally believed that "Aegineta" was the man's given name.

Aegineta's brother Pasias, a painter of some distinction, was a pupil of Erigonus, who had been color-grinder to the artist Nealkes. Plutarch says that that Nealkes was a friend of Aratus of Sicyon, who was first elected strategos of the Achaean League in 243 BC. This would make it possible that Aegineta and his brother flourished about 220.

Aratus (disambiguation)

Aratus of Soli was a Greek didactic poet. "Aratus" may also refer to:

Aratus of Sicyon (271–213 BC), an ancient Greek statesman, sixteen times strategos of the Achaean League

Aratus the Younger of Sicyon, son of the previous and strategos of the Achaean League 219/18 BC.

Aratus III of Sicyon, grandson of Aratus of Sicyon and ambassador of the Achaean League

Aratus of Cnidus, the author of a history of Egypt, now lost

Aratus, son of Asclepius

Aratus pisonii, a crab of American mangroves

Aristippus of Argos

Aristippus of Argos (; Greek: Ἀρίστιππος) was a tyrant of Argos in the 3rd century BC. His grandfather may have been the Aristippus installed as tyrant by the Macedonian king Antigonus II Gonatas in 272, and his father was the tyrant Aristomachos the Elder. When Aristomachus was assassinated by slaves in 240, Aristippus took control of the city. After resisting several assaults by the Achaean League under Aratus of Sicyon, Aristippus was killed during an unsuccessful counterattack on the city of Cleonae in 235. He was succeeded by his younger brother Aristomachos of Argos who later led his city to join the Achaean League.

Aristomachos of Argos

Aristomachos of Argos was a general of the Achaean League in Ancient Greece who served only for a year, 228 - 227 BC. His father Aristomachos the Elder and his brother Aristippos had both been tyrants of the city of Argos, and after the latter's death in 235 the younger brother became tyrant himself. In 229 he was convinced to resign by Aratus of Sicyon and let his city join the Achaean League. As a reward, he was elected strategos of the League. Later he betrayed Argos to Cleomenes of Sparta. When Argos was retaken by the forces of Achaea and Macedonia (Aratus having made an alliance with Antigonus III Doson), he was tortured and executed, probably in 223 BC.

Aristomachos the Elder

Aristomachos the Elder was a tyrant of the ancient Greek city of Argos. Around 249 BC he was an intermediate in the peace between the city of Athens and Alexander of Corinth. In 240 he survived a rebellion ordered by Aratus of Sicyon, but was soon after killed by his slaves. He was succeeded by his sons Aristippos and Aristomachos.

Aristotle the Dialectician

Aristotle the Dialectician (or Aristoteles of Argos, Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης; fl. 3rd century BC), was an ancient Greek dialectic philosopher from Argos. In 252 BC, together with the historian Deinias of Argos, he contrived a plot to overthrow the tyranny in Sicyon. They successfully killed the tyrant Abantidas, but their further plans were thwarted by the tyrant's father Paseas who took control of the city. Deinias managed to escape to Argos, but Aristotle's fate is uncertain.In 224 a friend of Aratus of Sicyon named Aristotle belonged to the party at Argos which revolted against Cleomenes III of Sparta, leading the city back into the Achaean League. Although it cannot be excluded that this was the same person, it appears more probable that this Aristotle was a son or a relative of the dialectician.

Cleomenes III

Cleomenes III was one of the two kings of Sparta from 235 to 222 BC. He was a member of the Agiad dynasty and succeeded his father, Leonidas II. He is known for his attempts to reform the Spartan state.

From 229 BC to 222 BC, Cleomenes waged war against the Achaean League under Aratus of Sicyon. After being defeated by the Achaeans in the Battle of Sellasia in 222 BC, he fled to Ptolemaic Egypt. After a failed revolt in 219 BC, he committed suicide.

Eperatus

Eperatus (Epiratos) of Pharae in Achaea was an Ancient Greek general of the 3rd century BC.

He was elected strategos of the Achaean League in 219 BC. This was done by the intrigues of Apelles, the adviser of Philip V of Macedon, and in opposition to Timoxenus, who was supported by Aratus of Sicyon. Eperatus was held universally in low estimation, and was in fact totally unfit for his office, on which he entered in 218 BC, so that, when his year had expired, he left numerous difficulties to Aratus, who succeeded him.

Hecatombaeon

Hecatombaeon or Hekatombaion (Ancient Greek: Ἑκατόμβαιον) was a town of ancient Achaea in the territory of Dyme, between that city and the frontiers of Elis. In 224 BCE, near Hecatombaeon Aratus of Sicyon and the Achaeans were defeated by Spartan king Cleomenes III, who followed up his victory by gaining possession of Langon.

Hyperbatas

Hyperuatas was a general of the Achaean League in Ancient Greece who served only for a year, 226 - 225 BC.

It was under his nominal command, though the real direction of affairs was in the hands of Aratus of Sicyon, that the Achaeans met with the decisive defeat at Battle of Dyme near Hecatombaeon.

Lydiadas of Megalopolis

Lydiadas of Megalopolis was an ancient Greek tyrant of his city Megalopolis in Arcadia. He came to power around the year 245 BC, but after ten years he decided to step down, leading his city to join the Achaean League. As a reward the Achaeans elected him to the post of strategos, that is (commanding general) of the League, for three terms in 234/33, 232/31 and 230/29 BC. In 227 BC he lost the elections against Aratus of Sicyon, but was chosen as hipparch, and in this position he fell at the gates of his city during a cavalry charge against the Spartan king Cleomenes III.

Probably a son of Eudamus from Caphyae, Lydiadas was raised as a citizen of Megalopolis. Almost nothing is known of the steps by which he rose to power, but the sources represent him as a man of an ambitious yet generous character, who was misled by false rhetorical arguments to believe that a monarchical government was the best for his fellow-citizens. His elevation appeared to have taken place about the time that Antigonus Gonatas made himself master of Corinth (244 BC) Pausanias mentions him as one of the commanders of the forces of Megalopolis at the battle of Mantineia (c. 249 BC) against the Spartans under Agis As he was associated on that occasion with another general, Leocydes, it may be inferred that he had not then established himself in absolute power. If he came to power around 245 BC, he had held the position for power about ten years, when the progress of the Achaean League and the fame of its leader Aratus of Sicyon led him to form projects more worthy of his ambition. After the fall of the tyrant Aristippus of Argos, instead of waiting until he was attacked in his turn, Lydiadas determined voluntarily to abdicate as tyrant and permit Megalopolis to join the Achaean League as a free state. This generous resolution was rewarded by the Achaeans by the election of Lydiadas to the prestigious post of strategos or commander-in-chief of the confederacy the following year 233 BC.

His desire for fame, and his wish to distinguish the year of his command through some brilliant exploit, led him to plan an expedition against Sparta, which was, however, opposed by Aratus, who is said to have already begun to be jealous of Lydiadas' favour and reputation. Lydiadas, indeed, threatened to prove a formidable rival; he quickly rose to such esteem in the league as to be deemed second only to Aratus, and notwithstanding the opposition of the latter, was elected strategos a second and third time, holding that important office alternately with Aratus. The most bitter enmity had by this time arisen between the two men. Each strove to undermine the other in the popular estimation. But though Lydiadas was unable to shake Aratus' long-established standing, he maintained his ground, not withstanding the insidious attacks of his rival, and the suspicion that naturally attached to one who had formerly borne the name of tyrant.

In 227 BC the conduct of Aratus, in avoiding a battle with Cleomenes III of Sparta at Pallantium, gave Lydiadas fresh cause to renew his attacks, but they were again unsuccessful, and he was unable to prevent the appointment of Aratus for the twelfth time to the office of strategos, in 226 BC. Instead, Lydiadas was elected hipparch and had to serve under the command of his rival. The two armies under Aratus and Cleomenes met a short distance from Megalopolis, and though Aratus would not consent to bring on a general engagement, Lydiadas, with the cavalry under his command, charged the right wing of the enemy and put them to the rout, but being led by his eagerness to pursue them too far, got entangled in some enclosures, where his troops suffered severely, and he himself fell, after a gallant resistance. His body was left on the field, but Cleomenes had the generosity to honour a fallen foe, and sent it back to Megalopolis, adorned with the insignia of royal dignity.

Mnasitheus of Sicyon

Mnasitheus or Mnesitheus of Sicyon (Greek: Μνησίθεος) was an ancient Greek painter of some fame mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History.In 251 BC a Sicyonian of the same name helped Aratus of Sicyon to liberate his hometown from the tyrant Nicocles, and since Aratus was surrounded by many artists, there is a possibility that this man was the painter mentioned by Pliny or at least a relative.

Nealkes

Nealkes was an ancient Greek painter from Sicyon who flourished in the 3rd century BC.

He was a friend of Aratus of Sicyon and after the liberation of their city in 251 BC he interceded to save an artful painting by Melanthius showing the former tyrant Aristratus of Sicyon with the goddess of victory Nike on a chariot. When Aratus insisted on the destruction of the portrait, Nealkes cried out in tears and finally offered to cancel the face by his own hand in order to save the rest of the artwork. He then painted a palm where the tyrant stood, but forgot his feet which remained visible underneath the chariot.

The best known of his own paintings were a portrait of Aphrodite and a Battle on the Nile with a famous detail showing an ass on the bank of the river being attacked by a crocodile.

His daughter was the painter Anaxandra, and his color-grinder was Erigonus, who was also a teacher of the modeller Aegineta.

Polycratia of Argos

Polycratia (Greek: Πολυκρατία) (fl. 213 BC) was an Argive woman, mother of Perseus of Macedon.

She was married to Aratus the Younger, the son of the great Achaean statesman Aratus of Sicyon. She probably gave him a son, also named Aratus, who later became an ambassador of the Achaean League. When Aratus and his son came to the court of Macedon, Polycratia was seduced by the young king Philip V who later resolved to have her father-in-law and her husband poisoned. Some sources state that she actually married Philip and became the mother of his son Perseus, who succeeded his father in 179 BC.

Sicyon

Sicyon (; Greek: Σικυών; gen.: Σικυῶνος) or Sikyon was an ancient Greek city state situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea on the territory of the present-day regional unit of Corinthia. An ancient monarchy at the times of the Trojan War, the city was ruled by a number of tyrants during the Archaic and Classical period and became a democracy in the 3rd century BC. Sicyon was celebrated for its contributions to ancient Greek art, producing many famous painters and sculptors. In Hellenistic times it was also the home of Aratus of Sicyon, the leader of the Achaean League.

Timanthes of Sicyon

Timanthes of Sicyon (Greek: Τιμάνθης ὁ Σικυώνιος) was an ancient Greek painter of the 3rd century BC.

In 250 BC he accompanied Aratus of Sicyon on his voyage to Alexandria and later he celebrated his victory against the Aetolians with a famous painting of the Battle of Pellene (241 BC).

Timoxenos

Timoxenos (Greek: Τιμόξενος) was a general in Ancient Greece who served for three or four terms as strategos of the Achaean League between 226 and 215 BC. He was considered a supporter of Aratus of Sicyon.

Xenon (tyrant)

Xenon (in Greek Ξενων) was the last tyrant of the ancient Greek city of Hermione. In 229 BC he was convinced by Aratus of Sicyon to step down from his post and let his city join the Achaean League.

Around the same time the poet Cercidas of Megalopolis wrote a poem about a "greedy cormorant wealthpurse, that sweet-scented out-of-control Xenon", but it is impossible to establish, if he intended the same person.

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