There is, however, considerable doubt whether this or Λυσιάδης
is the more correct forms of the name. (See Schweigh. ad Polyb.
1. A citizen of Megalopolis, who, though of an obscure family, raised himself while yet a young man to the sovereignty of his native city. We know nothing of the steps by which he rose to power, but he is represented to us as a man of an ambitious built generous character, whho was misled by false rhetorical arguments to believe a monarchical government to be the best for his fellow-citizens. (Plut. Arat. 30
; Paus. 8.27.12
.) So far as we are able to judge, his elevation appears to have taken place about the time that Antigonus Gonatas made himself master of Corinth, B. C. 244. (Droysen, Hellenism.
vol. ii. p. 372.) We find him mentioned by Pausanias as one of the commanders of the forces of Megalopolis at the battle of Mantmneia against Agis IV., king of Sparta (Paus. 8.10
. §§ 6, 10); but the date of that battle is unknown. From his being associated on that occasion with another general, Leocydes, we may perhaps infer that he had not then established himself in the absolute power. If the date above assigned to the commencement of his reign be correct, he had held the sovereign power about ten years, when the progress of the Achaean league and the fame attained by Aratus as its leader, led him to form projects more worthy of his ambition; and after the fall of Aristippus, tyrant of Argos, instead of waiting till he should be attacked in his turn, he determined voluntarily to abdicate the sovereignty, and permit Megalopolis to join the Achaean league as a free state.
This generous resolution was rewarded by the Achaeans by the election of Lydiades to be strategus or commander-in-chief of the confederacy the following year, B. C. 233. (Concerning the date see Droysen, vol. ii. p. 438.) His desire of fame, and wish to distinguish the year of his command by some brilliant exploit, led him to project an expedition against Sparta, which was, however, opposed by Aratus, who is said to have already begun to be jealous of his favour and reputation. Lydiades, indeed, threatened to prove a formidable rival; he quickly rose to such consideration in the league as to be deemed second only to Aratus himself, and notwithstanding the opposition of the latter, was elected strategus a second and third time, holding that important office alternately with Aratus.
The most bitter enmity had by this time arisen between the two ; each strove to undermine the other in the popular estimation; but though Lydiades was unable to shake the long-established credit of Aratus, lie himself maintained his ground, notwithstanding the insidious attacks of his rival, and the suspicion that naturally attached to one who had formerly borne the name of tyrant. In B. C. 227 the conduct of Aratus, in avoiding a battle with Cleomenes at Pallantium, gave Lydiades fresh cause to renew his attacks, but they were again unsuccessful, and he was unable to prevent the appointment of Aratus for the twelfth time to the office of strategus, B. C. 226. His enmity did not, however, prevent him from taking the field under the command of his rival: the two armies under Aratus and Cleomenes met at a short distance from Megalopolis, and though Aratus would not consent to bring on a general engagement, Lydiades, with the cavalry under his command, charged the right wing of the enemy and put them to the rout, but being led by his eagerness to pursue them too far, got entangled in some enclosures, where his troops suffered severely, and he himself fell, after a gallant resistance. His body was left on the field, but Cleomenes had the generosity to honour a fallen foe, and sent it back to Megalopolis, adorned with the insignia of royal dignity. Except Cleomenes himself, the later history of Greece presents few brighter names than that of Lydiades. (Plb. 2.44
; Plut. Arat. 30
6, de Ser. Num. vind.
6, p. 552; Paus. 8.27.12