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Agesilaus II

Agesilaus II (əjĕˌsĭlāˈəs) [key], c.444–360 B.C., king of Sparta. After the death of Agis I (398? B.C.), he was brought to power by Lysander, whom he promptly ignored. After the Peloponnesian War the Greek cities in Asia Minor had not been ceded to Persia despite Sparta's promises, and in 396 B.C. Agesilaus went there to oppose the Persian satraps Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus by attacking them. He managed to rout Tissaphernes, but Persian naval power drove him back to Greece, where he won (394 B.C.) a hollow victory over the Thebans and their allies at Coronea, but he could not reestablish Spartan hegemony. By the King's Peace (or Peace of Antalcidas) in 386 B.C., the cities of Asia Minor were ceded to Persia. Thebes and Athens entered an alliance against Sparta, and war followed. When Agesilaus deliberately excluded Thebes from the peace talks, Thebes renewed the war and the Theban general Epaminondas won (371 B.C.) a resounding victory at Leuctra. Sparta did not recover. Agesilaus took Spartan mercenaries to Asia Minor and Egypt and died on the way back. His rule had seen the ruin of Sparta, although he was lauded by his contemporaries, notably Xenophon.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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