Un regno di un solo anno? Anomalie nella tradizione su Agesipoli II.


  • Marcello Lupi


A one-year reign? Inconsistencies in the tradition on Agesipolis II
On the base of two passages from Diodorus Siculus (XV 60.4 and XX 29.1),scholars generally assume that Agesipolis II, the eldest son of the Spartanking Kleombrotos, reigned for only one year after his father’s death inthe battle of Leuktra; when he died in 370 bc, the Agiad throne passed tohis brother Kleomenes II, who kept it until 309/8. Yet, the three sayingsattributed to Agesipolis son of Kleombrotos in Plutarch’s Apophthegmatalaconica (215b) imply that he was still alive forty years after his allegeddeath, when he was handed over as a hostage to Antipater, the Macedonianregent, following the Spartan defeat at Megalopolis in 331/330. Sincethe Plutarchean collection of apophthegms is considered of limited value ashistorical evidence, this source is mostly disregarded. This paper, however,aims to demonstrate the substantial reliability of the tradition reflected inAgesipolis’ three sayings. His role as hostage, in particular, appears a consolidatedbiographical datum in Spartan memory. For this reason, a differentand more likely scenario is here reconstructed: in 371 Agesipolis II, whenascended the throne, was still a child; this would explain his absence fromthe historiographical tradition during the sixties and fifties of the 4th century.Later, between the late 40s and early 30s, he was deposed, thus yielding thekingdom to his younger brother; lastly, after Megalopolis, Agesipolis wasone of the fifty most remarkable Spartans sent as hostages to Antipater.