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Cleomenes III

Cleomenes III, c.260–219 B.C., king of Sparta (235–221 B.C.). He was probably the most energetic king Sparta ever had, a conscious imitator of Agis III (see under Agis). In his determined effort to restore the prestige of the city, he began (227 B.C.) a war against the Achaean League and was successful in many battles. At home his reforms were revolutionary: the kingship was made the supreme power, the ephorate was abolished, and the citizenship was widely extended, apparently to decrease the danger of discontent and to ally the people with the king. Cleomenes came to his downfall suddenly in 222 B.C. (or possibly 221 B.C.) when the Achaean League, allied with Antigonus III of Macedon, routed the Spartan army. Cleomenes fled to Egypt to the protection of his patron, Ptolemy III. Imprisoned by Ptolemy's successor, he escaped, but, failing in an attempt to stir up a revolt in Alexandria, he committed suicide.

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

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