Originally Posted by okamido
I am of the mind that he did not. I more and more believe that these were trumped up charges and Leonidas and Kleombrotus commited fratricide.
I agree with part of it. But I think that Kleomenes showed signs of bipolar disorder (which is not the same as insanity). I think he must have inherited his bipolar disorder from his father, Anaxandridas, who was strong enough to defy ephores and live with two wives, against their wish. Kleomenes's life line is all ups and downs. And of course, he was brilliant. He was probably hypomanic-inspired when he created his Peloponnessian league, and when he marched on Athens for the first time. He might have been hypomanic when he killed Argives (my attempt to explain his cruelty), and decision to not take the city could have been the sign of a depressive epizode. He was a womanizer and lived with a non-Spartan woman, the wife of his proxenos. His drinking was also, likely, the way to self-medicate.
But he was not insane, and his death was not caused by drinking and insanity. I believe it was simple politics.
Demaratos escaped to Persia and became Persians' trusted councilman. Persia was preparing the second invasion. Demaratos did not completely severe his ties with Sparta (after all, half of his family stayed there). And Spartans, unsure of the future, desperately needed their
man in Persian court. It would not be possible till Kleomenes, Demaratos's worst foe, was alive. So his death was politically necessary. Everything else reads like a bad fiction book. Suddenly it was found out that Kleomenes bribed the oracle. He escapes to Tegea. He wants to raise the helots. He is invited back but comes totally insane. He is put in jail but (a jailwarming present?) is given a knife and cuts himself till he dies. Likely, Leonidas and Kleombrotas were implicated (Demaratos had to be disposed towards the new king; and tried to help Leonidas, as future events showed). But the whole plot was the deed of the gerontes and the ephores.
Unfortunately, there could be no alternative ending to the story. Had Kleomenes survived the 480, he would have been a better commander at Plateia than Pausanius. And, perhaps, saw the threat of the Delian league earlier. But it could not have happened because since the moment Demaratos escaped to Persia, Kleomenes was doomed.
The only possible difference - Kleomenes lives a little bit longer, and Gorgo does not marry Leonidas. Kleomenes is killed only when the invasion becomes inevitable, but Gorgo is either unmarried, or marries Leonidas but has no time to bear the child. After Leonidas is killed, Pausanius becomes the King, not the regent. And Gorgo marries Pausanius, another outstanding man, and has a child with him. The child, a boy, inherits the brilliancy of both Kleomenes and Pausanius, giving a genetic boost to the line of Agiad kings.
As a woman who loves romance, I always felt that Gorgo and Pausanius were meant for each other...