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Pleisto'anax

Πλειστοάναξ, Πλειστώναξ), the nineteenth king of Sparta in the line of the Agidae, was the eldest son of the Pausanias who conquered at Plataea in B. C. 479. On the death of Pleistarchus, in B. C. 458, without issue, Pleistoanax succeeded to the throne, being yet a minor, so that in the expedition of the Lacedae-monians in behalf of the Dorians against Phocis, in B. C. 457, his uncle Nicomedes, son of Cleombrotus, commanded for him. (Thuc. 1.107; Diod. 11.79; Paus. 1.13, 3.5.) In B. C. 445 he led in person an invasion into Attica, being however, in consequence of his youth, accompanied by Cleandridas as a counsellor. The premature withdrawal of his army from the enemy's territory exposed both Cleandridas and himself to the suspicion of having been bribed by Pericles, and, according to Plutarch, while Cleandridas fled from Sparta and was condemned to death in his absence, the young king was punished bya heavy fine, which he was unable to pay, and was therefore obliged to leave his country. Pleistoanax remained nineteen years in exile, taking up his abode near the temple of Zeus on Mount Lycaeus in Arcadia, and having half his house within the sacred precincts that he might enjoy the benefit of the sanctuary. During this period his son Pausanias, a minor, reigned in his stead. The Spartans at length recalled him in B. C. 426, in obedience to the repeated injunctions of the Delphic oracle,--"to bring back the seed of the demi-god, the son of Zeus; else they should plough with a silver plough ;"--and his restoration was accompanied with solemn dances and sacrifices, such as those with which the first kings of his race had been inaugurated. But he was accused of having tampered with the Pythian priestess to induce her to interpose for him, and his alleged impiety in this matter was continually assigned by his enemies as the cause of all Sparta's misfortunes in the war; and therefore it was that he used all his influence to bring about peace with Athens in B. C. 421. (Thuc. 1.114, 2.21, 3.26, 5.16, 19, 24; Arist. Nub. 849; Ephor. apud Schol. ad loc. ; Plut. Per. 22, Nic. 28; Diod. 13.106) [CLEANDRIDAS ; PERICLES.] In the last-mentioned year he marched with an army into Arcadia, where he released the Parrhasians from their dependence on Mantineia, and destroyed the fortress which the Mantineans had built, to command Laconia, at a place called Cypsela on the borders. (Thuc. 5.33.) In B. C. 418 he set forth at the head of the old men and boys to the assistance of his colleague, Agis II.; but, on his arrival at Tegea, he heard of the victory which Agis had just won at Mantineia, and, finding that his presence was not required, he returned to Sparta. (Thuc. 5.75.) He died in B. C. 408, after a reign of 50 years, and was succeeded by his son Pausanias. (Diod. 13.75; Wess. ad loc. ; comp. Clint. F. H. vol. ii. App. iii.) One saying of Pleistoanax is found in Plutarch's collection (Apoph. Luc.), but it is hardly brilliant enough to deserve being recorded.

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