2. Son of Menares, and sixteenth of the Eurypontids. Having become king of Sparta, about B. C. 491, on the deposition of Demaratus, through the contrivance of Cleomenes and the collusion of the Delphic oracle [CLEOMENES; DEMARATUS], he accompanied Cleomenes to Aegina, and aided him in seizing the hostages, of whom he had previously attempted to possess himself in vain. (Hdt. 6.65
, &c.; Paus. 3.4
.) On the death of Cleomenes, soon after, the Aeginetans complained at Sparta of the detention of their hostages by the Athenians, in whose hands they had been placed, and the Lacedaemonians thereupon decided that Leotychides should be given up, by way of satisfaction, to the complainants. On the proposal, however, of a Spartan named Theasides, it was agreed that Leotychides should proceed to Athens and recover the prisoners; but the men thus detained belonged, doubtless, to the oligarchical party at Aegina, and the Athenians refused to give them up, alleging that they had been placed with them by Cleomenes and Leotychides together, whereas the latter only had come to claim them.
The remonstrances of Leotychides, backed though they were by the warning anecdote of the perjury and punishment of GLAUCUS [see above, p. 275b.], were of no avail, and he returned to Sparta with the object of his mission unaccomplished. (Hdt. 6.85
.) In B. C. 479, after the flight of Xerxes, we find Leotychides in command of the Greek fleet at Aegina,--a most unusual appointment for a Spartan king (see Arist. Pol.
2.9, ed. Bekk.), and hence he advanced as far as Delos; but, in spite of the entreaties of the Chians, fear of the Persians kept him from sailing further eastward, until an embassy from the Samians, and further information doubtless as to the condition and spirit of Ionia, induced him to proceed to Samos to aid the Ionians in their intended revolt. The Persians fled at his approach to Mycale, where their army was stationed. Here they disembarked, and drew up their ships on shore: the Greeks also landed, Leotychides having first called aloud on the Ionians in the enemy's army to aid in the attainment of their own freedom; and in the battle of Mycale, which ensued, the Persians were utterly defeated. (Hdt. 8.131
; Diod. 11.34
; Paus. 3.7
.) Afterwards Leotychides was sent with an army into Thessaly to punish those who had sided with the barbarians in the Persian war.
He was uniformly successful in the field, and might have reduced the whole of Thessaly, had he not yielded to the bribes of the Aleuadae. For this he was brought to trial on his return home, and went into exile to Tegea, B. C. 469, where he died. His house at Sparta was razed to the ground. His son, Zeuxidamus, died before his banishment, and he was succeeded on the throne by his grandson, Archidamus II.
By a second wife he had a daughter, named Lampito, whom he gave in marriage to Archidamus. (Hdt. 6.71
; Paus. 3.7
; Diod. 11.48
; Clinton, F. H.
vol. ii. pp. 209, 210.)