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Leotychidas

Leotychidas

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Leotychidas [Leotychides, Latychidas] was a ruler of Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 491 BC-476 BC. He led Spartan forces during the Persian Wars from 490 BC to 478 BC. He is not to be confused with another Eurypontid Leotychides, the (allegedly illegitimate) son of Agis II
Agis II
Agis II was the 17th Eurypontid king of Sparta, the eldest son of Archidamus II by his first wife, and half-brother of Agesilaus II. He ruled with his Agiad co-monarch Pausanias....

.

Born in Sparta around 545 BC, Leotychidas was a descendant of the house of Eurypontid through Menamus, Agesilaus, Hippocratides, Leotychides, Anaxilaus, Archidamos, Anaxandridas I and Theopompus, and came to power with the help of Cleomenes I
Cleomenes I
Cleomenes or Kleomenes was an Agiad King of Sparta in the late 6th and early 5th centuries BC. During his reign, which started around 520 BC, he pursued an adventurous and at times unscrupulous foreign policy aimed at crushing Argos and extending Sparta's influence both inside and outside the...

 by challenging Demaratus
Demaratus
Demaratus was a king of Sparta from 515 until 491 BC, of the Eurypontid line, successor to his father Ariston. As king, he is known chiefly for his opposition to the other, co-ruling Spartan king, Cleomenes I.-Biography:...

 for the throne of Sparta in 491 BC. Later that year, he joined Cleomenes' second expedition to Aegina
Aegina
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.-Municipality:The municipality...

, where ten hostages were seized and given to Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

. However after Cleomenes' death in 488 BC, Leotychidas was almost surrendered to Aegina. In the spring of 479 BC, Leotychidas commanded a Greek fleet consisting of 110 ships at Aegina and later at Delos
Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...

, supporting the Greek revolts at Chios
Chios
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

 and Samos
Samos Island
Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional...

 against Persia
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

. Leotychidas defeated Persian military and naval forces at the Battle of Mycale
Battle of Mycale
The Battle of Mycale was one of the two major battles that ended the second Persian invasion of Greece during the Greco-Persian Wars. It took place on or about August 27, 479 BC on the slopes of Mount Mycale, on the coast of Ionia, opposite the island of Samos...

 on the coast of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 in the summer of 479 BC (possibly around mid-August). In 476 BC, Leotychidas led an expedition to Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

 against the Aleuadae
Aleuadae
The Aleuadae were an ancient Thessalian family of Larissa who claimed descent from the mythical Aleuas. The Aleuadae were the noblest and most powerful among all the families of Thessaly, whence Herodotus calls its members "rulers" or "kings" .-Aleuas:The first Aleuas, who bore the epithet of...

 family for collaboration with the Persians but withdrew after being bribed by the family. Returning to Sparta he was tried for bribery, and fled to the temple of Athena Alea
Athena Alea
Alea was an epithet of the Greek goddess Athena, prominent in Arcadian mythology, under which she was worshiped at Alea, Mantineia and Tegea...

 in Tegea
Tegea
Tegea was a settlement in ancient Greece, and it is also a former municipality in Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Tripoli, of which it is a municipal unit. Its seat was the village Stadio....

. Sentenced to exile, his house was burned and his grandson Archidamus II
Archidamus II
Archidamus II was a king of Sparta who reigned from approximately 476 BC to 427 BC. He was of the Eurypontid dynasty. His father was Zeuxidamus , who died before his father, Leotychidas, after having his son, Archidamus....

, son of his son Zeuxidamus
Zeuxidamus
Zeuxidamus can refer to two ancient Spartans.#A king of Sparta, and tenth of the Eurypontid dynasty. He was grandson of Theopompus, son of Anaxandridas I, and father of Anaxidamus, who succeeded him....

, called Cyniscus by many Spartans, who had died in his father's life, became the ruler of Sparta. Leotychidas died some years later, around 469 BC.

In popular culture


In the 1962
1962 in film
The year 1962 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*May - The Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards are officially founded by the Taiwanese government....

 film The 300 Spartans
The 300 Spartans
The 300 Spartans is a 1962 Cinemascope film depicting the Battle of Thermopylae. Made with the cooperation of the Greek government, it was shot in the village of Perachora in the Peloponnese...

, Leotychidas is portrayed by an uncredited actor and with one line of dialogue.

Further reading

  • Andrew R. Burn, Persia and the Greeks: The Defense of the West 456-478 B.C., New York, 1962
  • Peter Green, The Year of Salamis 480-479 B.C., London, 1970
  • Simon Hornblower, The Greek World, 479-323 B.C., 3rd ed., London 2002