Was there two Spartan kings during the battle of Thermopylae?

Oct 2013
4
Wartburg
#1
For long periods of time, Sparta had two kings, a somewhat unique feature. There are many sources for this, and many lists exists of when Sparta had two kings at the same time (one source I've read mentions that one was elected and one was given the title through succession from his father), but I have yet to find a source that mentions a second king during the reign of Leonidas.

Was there one? If one existed, was he forgotten by many because of the legend that Leonidas became part of?
 
Oct 2013
4
Wartburg
#4
Nov 2015
757
Australia
#5
I recall my history teacher claiming they had two kings. One to lead in times of peace and one to lead in times of war. Presumably the other one stayed home? Otherwise that would mean both kings dying in a defeat?
 
Jul 2016
243
Just outside the Rust Belt
#6
Generally the two families the Agiads and...Eurypontis both had hereditary kingship while the assembly of the army also had some power in governing. From what I understand one king remained in Sparta so that the Spartans wouldn't be leaderless and to maintain a religious festival. He may have also been agaisnt intervention. Regardless he's been mostly dominated by his counterpart in the ancient sources.

I'm going to have to hit the books on this one that's for sure!
 
Apr 2011
264
Vancouver, BC
#7
Some basis info:

Leotychides, also spelled Leotychidas (born c. 545 bc—died c. 469) Spartan king of the Eurypontid family and a successful military commander during the Greco-Persian wars.

In 491 he acceded to the throne held by his cousin, Demaratus, after the coruler (Sparta having a dual kingship), Cleomenes I, had bribed the Delphic oracle to declare Demaratus illegitimate. Shortly thereafter, Leotychides tried unsuccessfully to arrange a truce in the war between Athens and the island of Aegina. The island had earned the enmity of Athens by submitting to the Persians, who were expanding their sphere of influence to the west.

By 479, when most of the Persian invaders had been driven from mainland Greece, Leotychides was commander of the Greek fleet. In that year he crushed the Persian army and navy at Mycale on the coast of Lydia, a victory that prepared the way for the liberation of the Greeks of western Asia Minor from Persian rule. Leotychides led an army to Thessaly, around 476, to punish the aristocratic family of the Aleuads for having aided the Persians, but he withdrew after allegedly accepting a bribe. Convicted on this charge at Sparta, he fled to Tegea, in Arcadia. A sentence of exile was passed upon him; his house was razed, and his grandson, Archidamus II, ascended the throne.


Source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Leotychides
 
Apr 2011
264
Vancouver, BC
#8
If you are interested, there is a 1982 article by A.S. Schieber on Leotychidas' expedition in Thessaly.

Ref: Schieber A. S. Leotychidas in Thessaly. In: L'antiquité classique, Tome 51, 1982. pp. 5-14.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,629
#10
Thermopylae was in 480 BC. Leotychidas became king in 491 BC, succeeding Demaretos, so Leotychidas it was.

Demaretos was in exile at the Persian court as an advisor on all things Greek to the Great King actually. He was given several Greek cities in Asia Minor to rule, and established a dynasty of his own over there.

Funnily enough Leotychidas was in turn eventually deposed for taking Persian bribes, and driven into exile.
 

Similar History Discussions