1. An Elean soothsayer, of the family of the Clytiadae, who seem to have been a branch of the Iamidae, if the received reading in Herodotus (9.33
) is sound, (Comp. Philostr. Vit. Apoll.
5.25; Cic. de Dir,
According to the story told by Herodotus, Tisamenus had been assured by the Delphic oracle that he should be successful in five great conflicts. Supposing this to be a promise of distinction as an athlete, he devoted himself to gymnastic exercises, and on one occasion was very near winning the prize for the pentathlum at Olympia. The Spartans, however, understanding the oracle to refer, not to gymnastic, but to military victories, made great offers to Tisamenus to induce him to take with their kings the joint-command of their armies.
This he refused to do on any terms short of receiving the full franchise of their city, whereupon the Spartans at first indignantly broke off the negotiation, but afterwards professed their readiness to yield the point. Tisamenus then rising in his demands, stipulated for the same privilege on behalf of his brother Hegias, and this also was granted him.
He was present with the Spartans at the battle of Plataea, in B. C. 379, which, according to Herodotus, was the first of the five conflicts referred to by the oracle.
The second was with the Argives and Tegeans at Tegea; the third, with all the Arcadians except the Mantineans, at Dipaea, in the Maenalian territory (both between B. C. 479 and 465); the fourth was the third Messenian War (B. C. 465-455); and the last was the battle of Tanagra, with the Athenians and their allies, in B. C. 457. (Hdt. 9.33
; Müller, Dor.
bk. i. ch. 9. §§ 9-11.)