2. A Lacedaemonian, who, though not of the royal blood, was chosen king, in B. C. 220, together with Agesipolis III., after the death of Cleomenes; in the words of Polybius, "by giving a talent to each of the Ephori, he hecame a descendant of Heracles and king of Sparta."
It was not long before he deposed his colleague and made himself sole sovereign, though under the control of the Ephori. Placed on the throne by the party favourable to Aetolia, he readily listened to the instigations of Machatas, the Aetolian envoy, to make war on Philip V. of Macedon, and the Achaeans. Having invaded Argolis and taken several towns, he laid siege to the fortress named Athenaeum, in the district of Belbina, claimed by the Megalopolitans as their territory, and took it in conselquenct of the dilatory conduct of Aratus, to whom it looked for succour, B. C. 219.
In the same year he barely escaped with his life from the conspiracy of CHEILON, and fled for refuge to Pellene on the western frontier of Laconia. In B. C. 218 he made an incursion into Messenia, simultaneously with the invasion of Thessaly by Dorimachus, the Aetolian, in the hope of drawing Philip away from the siege of Palus in Cephallenia; but Philip, while he himself invaded Aetolia, desired Eperatus, the Achaean general, to go to the relief of the Messenians. Lycurgus effected little in Messenia, and was equally unsuccessful in the same year, in an attempt which he made on the citadel of Tegea, and also in his endeavour to intercept and defeat Philip in the passes of the Menelaion, on his return from his invasion of Laconia. Not long after, he was falsely accused to the Ephori of revolutionary designs, and was obliged to flee to Aetolia for safety.
In the following year, however (B. C. 217), the Ephori discovered the groundlessness of the charge and recalled him; and soon after he made an inroad into Messenia, in which he was to have been joined by Pyrrhias, the Aetolian general, but the latter was repulsed in his attempt to pass the frontier, and Lycurgus returned to Sparta without having effected any thing.
He died about B. C. 210, and Machanidas then made himself tyrant. (Pol. 4.2, 35-37, 60, 81, 5.5, 17, 21-23, 29, 91, 92; Paus. 4.29
; Liv. 34.26
.) Lycurgus left a son named Pelops, who was put to death by Nabis, B. C. 205. (Diod. Exc. de Virt. et Vit.
p. 570; Vales. and Wess. ad loc.