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Eurysthenes

Eurysthenes

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In Greek legend, Eurysthenes was one of the Heracleidae
Heracleidae
In Greek mythology, the Heracleidae or Heraclids were the numerous descendants of Heracles , especially applied in a narrower sense to the descendants of Hyllus, the eldest of his four sons by Deianira Other Heracleidae included Macaria, Lamos, Manto, Bianor, Tlepolemus, and Telephus...

, a great-great-great-grandson of Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

, and a son of Aristodemus
Aristodemus
In Greek mythology, Aristodemus was an Heracleidae, son of Aristomachus and brother of Cresphontes and Temenus. He was a great-great-grandson of Heracles and helped lead the fifth and final attack on Mycenae in the Peloponnesus....

 and Argia
Argia (mythology)
Argia or Argeia is a name borne by four minor characters in Greek mythology. These are:* Argia, one of the Oceanids. She was the mother of Phoroneus by her brother Inachus. She may also have been the mother of Io....

. His twin was Procles
Procles
In Greek legend, Procles was one of the Heracleidae, a great-great-great-grandson of Heracles, and a son of Aristodemus and Argia. His twin was Eurysthenes. Together they received the land of Lacedaemon after Cresphontes, Temenus and Aristodemus defeated Tisamenus, the last Achaean king of the...

. Together they received the land of Lacedaemon after Cresphontes
Cresphontes
In Greek mythology, Cresphontes was a son of Aristomachus, husband of Merope, and brother of Temenus and Aristodemus. He was a great-great-grandson of Heracles and helped lead the fifth and final attack on Mycenae in the Peloponnesus...

, Temenus
Temenus
In Greek mythology, Temenus was a son of Aristomachus and brother of Cresphontes and Aristodemus. He was a great-great-grandson of Heracles and helped lead the fifth and final attack on Mycenae in the Peloponnese. He became King of Argos. He was the father of Ceisus, Káranos, Phalces, Agraeus,...

 and Aristodemus
Aristodemus
In Greek mythology, Aristodemus was an Heracleidae, son of Aristomachus and brother of Cresphontes and Temenus. He was a great-great-grandson of Heracles and helped lead the fifth and final attack on Mycenae in the Peloponnesus....

 defeated Tisamenus
Tisamenus
Tisamenus or Tissamenus in Greek mythology, was a son of Orestes and Hermione. He succeeded his father to the thrones of Argos, Mycenae and Sparta and was later killed in the final battle with the Heracleidae. The latter were led by Aristodemus, Cresphontes, Oxylus, Temenus and sought to retake...

, the last Achaean king of the Peloponnesus. Eurysthenes married Lathria, daughter of Thersander
Thersander
In Homer's Iliad, Thersander was one of the Epigoni, who attacked the city of Thebes in retaliation for the deaths of their fathers, the Seven Against Thebes, who had attempted the same thing. He was the son of Polynices and Argea....

, King of Kleonoe, sister of his sister-in-law Anaxandra, and was the father of his successor, Agis I
Agis I
Agis I was a legendary king of Sparta and eponym of the Agiad dynasty. He was the son of Eurysthenes, first monarch of this dynasty, which ruled the city along with the Eurypontids. His genealogy was traced through Aristodemus, Aristomachus, Cleodaeus and Hyllus all the way to Heracles, and he...

, founder of the Agiad dynasty of the Kings of Sparta
Kings of Sparta
Sparta was an important Greek city-state in the Peloponnesus. It was unusual among Greek city-states in that it maintained its kingship past the Archaic age. It was even more unusual in that it had two kings simultaneously, coming from two separate lines...

.

The title of archēgetēs, "founding magistrate," was explicitly denied to Eurysthenes and Procles by the later Spartan government on the grounds that they were not founders of a state, but were maintained in their offices by parties of foreigners. Instead the honor was granted to their son and grandson, for which reason the two lines were called the Agiads and the Eurypontids.

Legend of the double kingship


The story of the double kingship of Sparta begins with the invasion of the Peloponnesus by the Dorians, and the Aetolia
Aetolia
Aetolia is a mountainous region of Greece on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth, forming the eastern part of the modern prefecture of Aetolia-Acarnania.-Geography:...

n allies, under three Heraclid commanders, Temenus
Temenus
In Greek mythology, Temenus was a son of Aristomachus and brother of Cresphontes and Aristodemus. He was a great-great-grandson of Heracles and helped lead the fifth and final attack on Mycenae in the Peloponnese. He became King of Argos. He was the father of Ceisus, Káranos, Phalces, Agraeus,...

, Cresphontes
Cresphontes
In Greek mythology, Cresphontes was a son of Aristomachus, husband of Merope, and brother of Temenus and Aristodemus. He was a great-great-grandson of Heracles and helped lead the fifth and final attack on Mycenae in the Peloponnesus...

 and Aristodemus
Aristodemus
In Greek mythology, Aristodemus was an Heracleidae, son of Aristomachus and brother of Cresphontes and Temenus. He was a great-great-grandson of Heracles and helped lead the fifth and final attack on Mycenae in the Peloponnesus....

, the three sons of Aristomachus. Karl Otfried Müller
Karl Otfried Müller
Karl Otfried Müller , was a German scholar and Philodorian, or admirer of ancient Sparta, who introduced the modern study of Greek mythology.-Biography:...

 collected and evaluated the various fragments of the story from classical authors. According to Müller, the state of Elis
Elis
Elis, or Eleia is an ancient district that corresponds with the modern Elis peripheral unit...

 in Arcadia
Arcadia
Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan...

, allies of the Aetolians, provided a guide (Oxylus
Oxylus
In Greek mythology, Oxylus may refer to:*A son of Ares and Protogeneia, daughter of Calydon.*An one-eyed man from Aetolia, son of Haemon or of Andraemon. He was exiled from Aetolia on account of unintentional homicide; his victim was either his own brother Therimus or a certain Alcidocus, son of...

) for passage through Arcadia after crossing the Gulf of Corinth
Gulf of Corinth
The Gulf of Corinth or the Corinthian Gulf is a deep inlet of the Ionian Sea separating the Peloponnese from western mainland Greece...

 from Naupactus
Naupactus
Naupactus or Nafpaktos , is a town and a former municipality in Aetolia-Acarnania, West Greece, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Nafpaktia, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

. Arcadia gave them a central point from which to attack anywhere else in the Peloponnesus. Their presence was contested by a united Peloponnesian Achaean army (except for Arcadia) under Tisamenus
Tisamenus
Tisamenus or Tissamenus in Greek mythology, was a son of Orestes and Hermione. He succeeded his father to the thrones of Argos, Mycenae and Sparta and was later killed in the final battle with the Heracleidae. The latter were led by Aristodemus, Cresphontes, Oxylus, Temenus and sought to retake...

, an Atreid. The Achaeans lost. They were commanded to evacuate to Athens, but many did not; furthermore, much of the region remained unconquered.

Nevertheless the three commanders divided that which they did not yet possess, Peloponnesus. Following the signs of the gods, Aristodemus received Sparta. There is a question as to whether he ever was actually in possession there. One tradition says that he was and was therefore the first king of Sparta. A second asserts that he died before taking possession and that the Dorians brought his infant twin sons to Sparta as kings under a regent. Aristodemus was assassinated at Delphi by the Atreids. He had not even had time to designate a successor. The mother did not know which was the elder. The oracle at Delphi resolved the problem by suggesting that they both be made kings, which is the origin of the dual monarchy. Theras, the mother's, Argeia's, brother was made regent. There was still a necessity of designating the elder. They chose the one the mother fed and cleaned first, Eurysthenes.

Dates of the reigns of the first ten kings of the Agiad line


The untimely death of Aristodemus with other events has served as some basis for dating the reigns of the first ten kings of Sparta in the line known by state definition as the Agiad. The Return of the Heracleidae, which is the closest event to a Dorian Invasion
Dorian invasion
The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern Greece by the ones that prevailed in Classical Greece...

 available in legend, must coincide with the entry of Aristodemus and his brethren into Arcadia
Arcadia
Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan...

, which, based on the chronology of Eratosthenes
Eratosthenes
Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, poet, athlete, geographer, astronomer, and music theorist.He was the first person to use the word "geography" and invented the discipline of geography as we understand it...

, happened 328 years before the generally accepted date of the first year of the first Olympiad
Olympiad
An Olympiad is a period of four years, associated with the Olympic Games of Classical Greece. In the Hellenistic period, beginning with Ephorus, Olympiads were used as calendar epoch....

, 776 BC. Eratosthenes' date is therefore 1104 BC. This must be the year of Aristodemus' military activity in Arcadia, his fatherhood and his assassination. Eurysthenes was therefore born in 1104 BC, which was the first year of his reign, if the regency of Theras is discounted.

Pausanias states that the end of the First Messenian War
First Messenian War
The First Messenian War was a war between Messenia and Sparta. It began in 743 BC and ended in 724 BC, according the dates given by Pausanias. They are considered solid....

 was the first year of the 14th Olympiad. The date must have been 724/723 BC if the first year of the first Olympiad was 776/775 BC. Kings Polydorus
Polydorus
In Greek mythology, Polydorus referred to several different people.*An Argive, son of Hippomedon...

 of the Agiads and Theopompus
Theopompus
Theopompus was a Greek historian and rhetorician- Biography :Theopompus was born on Chios. In early youth he seems to have spent some time at Athens, along with his father, who had been exiled on account of his Laconian sympathies...

 of the Eurypontids were reigning at that time, roughly in mid-reign. The end of the war must be 379 years from the return of the Heraclids. According to Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

, also a classical scholar, the ten kings reigned an average of 38 years each, which can be used as an estimator of the dates. Eurysthenes would have ruled 1104-1066 BC, with an unknown margin of error, as much of the data is relatively uncertain.