Lysander the Spartan, after he had introduced governments in
all the cities under the Lacedaemonians in accordance with the will of the ephors, establishing
a rule of ten men in some and oligarchies in others, was the cynosure of Sparta. For by
bringing the Peloponnesian War to an end he had bestowed upon his native land the supreme
power, acknowledged by all, both on land and on sea.
Consequently, having become filled with pride on this account, he conceived the idea of
putting an end to the kingship of the Heracleidae1
and making every
Spartan eligible to election as king; for he hoped that the kingship would very soon come to
him because of his achievements, which were very great and glorious.
Knowing that the Lacedaemonians gave very great heed to the responses of oracles, he
attempted to bribe the prophetess in Delphi, since he believed that, if he should receive an
oracular response favourable to the designs he entertained, he should easily carry his project
to a successful end.
But when he could not win over the
attendants of the oracle, despite the large sum he promised them, he opened negotiations on the
same matter with the priestesses of the oracle of Dodone, through a certain Pherecrates, who
was a native of Apollonia and intimate with the attendants of the shrine.
Meeting with no success, he made a
journey to Cyrene, offering as his reason payment of vows to Ammon,2
but actually for
the purpose of bribing the oracle; and he took with him a great sum of money with which he
hoped to win over the attendants of the shrine.
And in fact
Libys, the king of those regions, was a guest-friend of his father, and it so happened that
Lysander's brother had been named Libys by reason of the friendship with the king.
With the king's help, then, and the money he brought, he hoped to win
them, but not only did he fail of his design, but the overseers of the oracle sent ambassadors
to lay charges against Lysander for his effort to bribe the oracle. When Lysander arrived at
Lacedaemon, a trial was proposed, but he presented a persuasive defence of his conduct.
Now at that time the Lacedaemonians knew nothing of
Lysander's purpose to abolish the kings in line of descent from Heracles; but some time later,
after his death, when some documents were being searched for in his house, they found a speech,
composed at great expense,3
which he had prepared to deliver to the people, to persuade them that the
kings should be elected from all the citizens.