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Restoration of Royalty In Sparta

The party, however, at Sparta who were the original
Murder of the Ephors, B. C. 220.
instigators of the outbreak could not make up their minds to give way. They once more therefore determined to commit a crime of the most impious description, having first corrupted some of the younger men. It was an ancestral custom that, at a certain sacrifice, all citizens of military age should join fully armed in a procession to the temple of Athene of the Brazen-house, while the Ephors remained in the sacred precinct and completed the sacrifice. As the young men therefore were conducting the procession, some of them suddenly fell upon the Ephors, while they were engaged with the sacrifice, and slew them. The enormity of this crime will be made apparent by remembering that the sanctity of this temple was such, that it gave a safe asylum even to criminals condemned to death; whereas its privileges were now by the cruelty of these audacious men treated with such contempt, that the whole of the Ephors were butchered round the altar and the table of the goddess. In pursuance of their purpose they next killed one of the elders, Gyridas, and drove into exile those who had spoken against the Aetolians. They then chose some of their own body as Ephors, and made an alliance with the Aetolians. Their motives for doing all this, for incurring the enmity of the Achaeans, for their ingratitude to the Macedonians, and generally for their unjustifiable conduct towards all, was before everything else their devotion to Cleomenes, and the hopes and expectations they continued to cherish that he would return to Sparta in safety. So true it is that men who have the tact to ingratiate themselves with those who surround them can, even when far removed, leave in their hearts very effective materials for kindling the flame of a renewed popularity. This people for instance, to say nothing of other examples, after nearly three years of constitutional government, following the banishment of Cleomenes, without once thinking of appointing kings at Sparta, no sooner heard of the death of Cleomenes than they were eager—populace and Ephors alike—to restore kingly rule.
Agesipolis appointed king.
Accordingly the Ephors who were in sympathy with the conspirators, and who had made the alliance with Aetolia which I just now mentioned, did so. One of these kings so restored they appointed in accordance with the regular and legal succession, namely Agesipolis.
B. C. 242.
He was a child at the time, a son of Agesipolis, and grandson of that Cleombrotus who had become king, as the next of kin to this family, when Leonidas was driven from office. As guardian of the young king they elected Cleomenes, son of Cleombrotus and brother of Agesipolis.

Of the other royal house there were surviving two sons of

and Lycurgas.
Archidamus, son of Eudamidas, by the daughter of Hippodemon; as well as Hippodemon himself, the son of Agesilaus, and several other members of the same branch, though somewhat less closely connected than those I have mentioned. But these were all passed over, and Lycurgus was appointed king, none of whose ancestors had ever enjoyed that title. A present of a talent to each of the Ephors made him "descendant of Hercules" and king of Sparta. So true is it all the world over that such nobility1 is a mere question of a little money. The result was that the penalty for their folly had to be paid, not by the third generation, but by the very authors of this royalist restoration.

1 Rending with Hultsch, τὰ καλὰ.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 35.36
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