1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Leotychides

LEOTYCHIDES, Spartan king, of the Eurypontid family, was descended from Theopompus through his younger son Anaxandridas (Herod. viii. 131), and in 491 B.C. succeeded Demaratus (q.v.), whose title to the throne he had with Cleomenes’ aid successfully challenged. He took part in Cleomenes’ second expedition to Aegina, on which ten hostages were seized and handed over to the Athenians for safe custody: for this he narrowly escaped being surrendered to the Aeginetans after Cleomenes’ death. In the spring of 479 we find him in command of the Greek fleet of 110 ships, first at Aegina and afterwards at Delos. In August he attacked the Persian position at Mycale on the coast of Asia Minor opposite Samos, inflicted a crushing defeat on the land-army, and annihilated the fleet which was drawn up on the shore. Soon afterwards he sailed home with the Peloponnesians, leaving the Athenians to prosecute the siege of Sestos. In 476 he led an army to Thessaly to punish the Aleuadae of Larisa for the aid they had rendered to the Persians and to strengthen Spartan influence in northern Greece. After a series of successful engagements he accepted a bribe from the enemy to withdraw. For this he was brought to trial at Sparta, and to save his life fled to the temple of Athena Alea at Tegea. Sentence of exile was passed, his house was razed and his grandson Archidamus II. ascended the throne (Herod. vi. 65-87, ix. 90-114; Thucydides i. 89; Pausanias iii. 4. 3. 7. 9-10; Plutarch, De malignitate Herodoti, 21, p. 859 d; Diodorus xi. 34-37).

According to Diodorus (xi. 48) Leotychides reigned twenty-two, his successor Archidamus forty-two years. The total duration of the two reigns, sixty-four years, we know to be correct, for Leotychides came to the throne in 491 and Archidamus (q.v.) died in 427. On this basis, then, Leotychides’s exile would fall in 469 and the Thessalian expedition in that or the preceding year (so E. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, iii. § 287). But Diodorus is not consistent with himself; he attributes (xi. 48) Leotychides’s death to the year 476–475 and he records (xii. 35) Archidamus’s death in 434–433, though he introduces him in the following years at the head of the Peloponnesian army (xii. 42, 47, 52). Further, he says expressly that Leotychides ἐτελεύτησεν ἄρξας ἔτη εἴκοσι καὶ δύο, i.e. he lived twenty-two years after his accession. The twenty-two years, then, may include the time which elapsed between his exile and his death. In that case Leotychides died in 469, and 476–475 may be the year in which his reign, though not his life, ended. This date seems, from what we know of the political situation in general, to be more probable than the later one for the Thessalian campaign.

G. Busolt, Griech. Geschichte, iii. 83, note; J. B. Bury, History of Greece, p. 326; G. Grote, History of Greece, new edition 1888, iv. 349, note; also abridged edition 1907, p. 273, note 3. Beloch’s view (Griech. Geschichte, i. 455, note 2) that the expedition took place in 476, the trial and flight in 469, is not generally accepted.  (M. N. T.)