Agesilaus II

Agesilaus II (/əˌɛsəˈləs/; Greek: Ἀγησίλαος Agesilaos; c. 444/443 – c. 360 BC) was the king of Sparta between c. 400 to 360 BC. Generally considered the most important king in the history of Sparta, Agesilaus was the main actor during the period of Spartan hegemony that followed the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC). Although brave in combat, Agesilaus lacked the diplomatic skills to preserve Sparta's position, especially against the rising power of Thebes, which reduced Sparta to a secondary power after its victory at Leuctra in 371 BC.

Basileus of Sparta, Hegemon of the Peloponnesian League
Spartan King Agesilaus.
King of the Spartans
Reignc. 400 – c. 360 BC
PredecessorAgis II
SuccessorArchidamus III
Bornc. 444/443
Diedc. 360 BC
SpouseCleora (Κλεόρα)
IssueArchidamus III
Regnal name
Agesilaus II
DynastyHouse of Eurypontid
FatherArchidamus II
Military career
Native name
Ἀγησίλαος Agesilaos

Despite the traditional secrecy fostered by the Spartiates, the reign of Agesilaus is particularly well-known thanks to the works of his friend Xenophon, who wrote a large history of Greece (the Hellenica) covering the years 411 to 362 BC, therefore extensively dealing with Agesilaus' rule. Xenophon furthermore composed a panegyric biography of his friend, perhaps to clean his memory from the criticisms voiced against him. Another historical tradition—much more hostile to Agesilaus than Xenophon's writings—has been preserved in the Hellenica Oxyrhynchia, and later continued by Diodorus of Sicily. Moreover, Plutarch wrote a biography of Agesilaus in his Parallel Lives, which contains many elements deliberately omitted by Xenophon.