Agesilaus’ Role in the “Case Of Sphodrias”

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Saint-Petersburg State University
Address: Russian Federation, Saint-Petersburg
Journal nameVestnik drevnei istorii
EditionVolume 80 Issue 3

The article explores the tradition about the unsuccessful attempt of the Spartan harmost Sphodrias to capture Piraeus in 378 BC. Since Sphodrias acted without authorisation, he was brought to a public trial at Sparta. His unexpected acquittal was entirely due to the king Agesilaus. The analysis of the tradition about Sphodrias’ trial leads the author to the conclusion that Agesilaus controlled the entire state apparatus at Sparta, including the judicial board. In Sphodrias’ trial, the opinion of one person, i.e. Agesilaus, decided the outcome of the vote. The acquittal of Sphodrias initiated by Agesilaus is a weighty testimony of the great authority that this king had in the first decades of the fourth century BC (before the battle of Leuctra).

KeywordsAgesilaus, Kleombrotos, Sphodrias, Phoebidas, Xenophon, Diodorus, Plutarch, Sparta, Thebes
AcknowledgmentRussian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 20-09-00455
Publication date17.09.2020
Number of characters66297
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