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Upon this, he was sent as ambassador to the Hellespont; and though he was angry with Agesilaus, he did not neglect to do his duty, but induced Spithridates the Persian, a high-minded man with forces at his command, to revolt from Pharnabazus, with whom he was at odds, and brought him to Agesilaus.1 [2] The king made no further use of Lysander, however, in the war, and when his time had expired, he sailed back to Sparta without honor, not only enraged at Agesilaus, but hating the whole form of government more than ever, and resolved to put into execution at once, and without delay, the plans for a revolutionary change which he is thought to have devised and concocted some time before. [3]

They were as follows. Of the Heracleidae who united with the Dorians and came down into Peloponnesus, there was a numerous and glorious stock flourishing in Sparta; however, not every family belonging to it participated in the royal succession, but the kings were chosen from two houses only, and were called Eurypontidae and Agiadae. The rest had no special privileges in the government because of their high birth, but the honors which result from superior excellence lay open to all who had power and ability. [4] Now Lysander belonged to one of these families, and when he had risen to great fame for his deeds, and had acquired many friends and great power, he was vexed to see the city increased in power by his efforts, but ruled by others who were of no better birth than himself. He therefore planned to take the government away from the two houses, and restore it to all the Heracleidae in common, [5] or, as some say, not to the Heracleidae, but to the Spartans in general,2 in order that its high prerogatives might not belong to those only who were descended from Heracles, but to those who, like Heracles, were selected for superior excellence, since it was this which raised him to divine honors. And he hoped that when the kingdom was awarded on this principle, no Spartan would be chosen before himself.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.4.10
    • Plutarch, Agesilaus, 8.3
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