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Agesilaus

Full Show Notes: https://plutarch.life/agesilaus

Important People

Agis II – The Spartan king and older brother of Agesilaus who led Sparta during most of the latter half of the Peloponnesian War. After his death around 398 BC, the Spartans must decide whether his son, whose father could be Alcibiades, has a legitimate claim to the throne or whether they should grant the kingship to Agesilaus. 

Lysander – Spartan naval commander who conquered Athens and annexed the old Athenian Empire, enriching his friends along the way. His influence in Sparta is powerful enough to reinterpret an oracle and convince the Spartan people to accept Agesilaus as their king. 

Xenophon – Personal friend of Agesilaus and Socrates, Xenophon made Agesilaus the protagonist of his Hellenika and then went so far as to write another encomiastic biography of Agesilaus. Plutarch writes this life and the Life of Pelopidas with these works of Xenophon in mind and attempts in part to provide for us a perspective that balances out the pro-Spartan biases of Xenophon with Plutarch's pro-Boeotian leanings. 

Pharnabazus – Are you a good satrap, or a bad satrap? Pharnabazus is the satrap Agesilaus would love to have as a friend, but will also respect as an enemy; he's a man of his word who honors his commitments and deals fairly with both enemy and friend. 

Tissaphernes – A perfidious satrap mistrusted by every Greek who interacts with him, particularly Alcibiades. When he meets his end (as detailed in this life), Plutarch can't find a reason to be sad. 

Antalcidas – The ephor (re-elected many times?) who negotiates in Persia for the King's Peace (387 BC sometimes also called the Peace of Antalcidas)

Sphodrias – The Spartan opportunist who attempts to take the Athenian port at the Peiraeus by surprise at night. He fails and is recalled to Sparta for trial, in which he is acquitted because of the influence of his friends and Agesilaus's son. 

Cleonymus – Sphodrias's son 

Epaminondas – The Theban general who invades Laconia twice, victorious in the battles of Leuctra (371 BC) and Mantineia (362 BC), his wounds at the latter lead to his early death and the unraveling of Theban hegemony in the Peloponnese. 

Archidamus III – Agesilaus's son

Chabrias – The Athenian naval mercenary who serves first under Tachys and then under Nectabanis in Egypt. 

Nectabanis or Nectanebo II – The Egyptian leader who revolts from Tachys and convinces Agesilaus to switch sides and join him. Agesilaus's tactical perspective allows Nectabanis to secure his claim to the throne. Nectabanis sends Agesilaus back to Sparta with 230 silver talents. 

Agamemnon and Menelaus – The two brothers who led the Bronze Age attack against Troy now immortalized in Homer's Iliad and whose homeward journeys are recounted in Homer's Odyssey. Because Agesilaus begins his reign by attacking Persia, Plutarch draws many comparisons with Agamemnon in this life (5.4; 6.4.; 6.5; 9.4). Since Agesilaus dies near where Menelaus was shipwrecked on his way home (cf. Odyssey Book 4), Agesilaus can be compared with both leaders of this legendary expedition. 

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