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Leotychidas (also Leotychides, Latychidas; Ancient Greek: Λεωτυχίδας; c. 545 BC–469 BC) was a ruler of Sparta in 491–476 BC. He led Spartan forces during the Persian Wars from 490 BC to 478 BC. He is not to be confused with another Eurypontid Leotychides, the (allegedly illegitimate) son of Agis II.

Born in Sparta around 545 BC, Leotychidas was a descendant of the Royal House of the Eurypontids (through Menamus, Agesilaus, Hippocratides, Leotychides, Anaxilaus, Archidamos, Anaxandridas I and Theopompus) and came to power in 491 BC with the help of the Agiad King Cleomenes I by challenging the legitimacy of the birth of Demaratus for the Eurypontid throne of Sparta. Later that year, he joined Cleomenes' second expedition to Aegina, where ten hostages were seized and given to Athens. However, after Cleomenes' death in 488 BC, Leotychidas was almost surrendered to Aegina. In the spring of 479 BC, Leotychidas commanded a Greek fleet consisting of 110 ships at Aegina and later at Delos, supporting the Greek revolts at Chios and Samos against Persia. Leotychidas defeated Persian military and naval forces at the Battle of Mycale on the coast of Asia Minor in the summer of 479 BC (possibly around mid-August). In 476 BC, Leotychidas led an expedition to Thessaly against the Aleuadae family for collaboration with the Persians but withdrew after being bribed by the family. Upon returning to Sparta he was tried for bribery, and fled to the temple of Athena Alea in Tegea. He was sentenced to exile, his house was burned and his grandson Archidamus II, son of his son Zeuxidamus, called Cyniscus by many Spartans, who had died in his father's life, became the ruler of Sparta. Leotychidas died some years later, around 469 BC.

In popular culture

In the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, Leotychidas is portrayed by an uncredited actor and with one line of dialogue.

Further reading

  • Andrew R. Burn, Persia and the Greeks: The Defense of the West 456-478 B.C., New York, 1962
  • Peter Green, The Year of Salamis 480-479 B.C., London, 1970
  • Simon Hornblower, The Greek World, 479-323 B.C., 3rd ed., London 2002
Preceded by
Eurypontid King of Sparta
c. 491 BC – 476 BC
Succeeded by
Archidamus II