List of kings of Sparta

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For most of its history, the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta in the Peloponnese was ruled by kings. Sparta was unusual among the Greek city-states in that it maintained its kingship past the Archaic age. It was even more unusual in that it had two kings simultaneously, who were called the archagetai,[1][n 1] coming from two separate lines. According to tradition, the two lines, the Agiads (Ἀγιάδαι, Agiadai) and Eurypontids (Εὐρυποντίδαι, Eurypontidai), were respectively descended from the twins Eurysthenes and Procles, the descendants of Heracles, who supposedly conquered Sparta two generations after the Trojan War. The dynasties themselves, however, were named after the twins' grandsons, the kings Agis I and Eurypon, respectively. The Agiad line was regarded as being senior to the Eurypontid line.[3]

Although there are lists of the earlier purported Kings of Sparta, there is little evidence for the existence of any kings before the middle of the sixth century BC or so.

Spartan kings received a recurring posthumous hero cult like that of the similarly Doric kings of Cyrene.[4] The kings' firstborn sons, as heirs-apparent, were the only Spartan boys expressly exempt from the Agoge; however, they were allowed to take part if they so wished, and this endowed them with increased prestige when they ascended the throne.

Legendary kings of Sparta


Ancient Greeks named males after their fathers, producing a patronymic with the suffix -id-; for example, the sons of Atreus were the Atreids. For royal houses, the patronymic was formed from the name of the founder or of an early significant figure of a dynasty. A ruling family might thus have a number of dynastic names; for example, Agis I named the Agiads, but he was a Heraclid and so were his descendants.

If the descent was not known or was scantily known, the Greeks made a few standard assumptions based on their cultural ideology. Agiad people were treated as a tribe, presumed to have descended from an ancestor bearing its name. He must have been a king, who founded a dynasty of his name. That mythologizing extended even to place names. They were presumed to have been named after kings and divinities. Kings often became divinities, in their religion.



The Lelegid were the descendants of Lelex (a back-formation), ancestor of the Leleges, an ancient tribe inhabiting the Eurotas valley before the Greeks, who, according to the mythological descent, amalgamated with the Greeks

Year Lelegid Other notable information
c. 1600 BC Lelex son of Poseidon or Helios, or he was said to be autochthonous
c. 1575 BC Myles son of Lelex
c. 1550 BC Eurotas son of Myles, father of Sparta



The Lacedaemonids contain Greeks from the age of legend, now treated as being the Bronze Age in Greece. In the language of mythologic descent, the kingship passed from the Leleges to the Greeks.

Year Lacedaemonid Other notable information
c. Lacedaemon son of Zeus, husband of Sparta
c. Amyklas son of Lacedaemon. He founded Amyklai
c. Argalus son of Amyklas
c. Kynortas son of Amyklas
c. Perieres son of Kynortas
c. Oibalos son of Kynortas
c. Tyndareos (First reign); son of Oibalos and father of Helen
c. Hippocoon son of Oibalos and brother of Tyndareos
c. Tyndareos (Second reign)
Years with no dates (only "c.") are unknown



The Atreidai (Latin Atreidae) belong to the Late Bronze Age, or the Mycenaean Period. In mythology, they were the Perseides. As the name of Atreus is attested in Hittite documents, this dynasty may well be protohistoric.

Year Atreid Other notable information
c. 1250 BC Menelaus son of Atreus and husband of Helen
c. 1150's BC Orestes son of Agamemnon and nephew of Menelaus
c. Tisamenos son of Orestes
c. 1100 BC Dion husband of Iphitea, the daughter of Prognaus
Years with no dates (only "c.") are unknown



The Spartan kings as Heracleidae claimed descent from Heracles, who through his mother was descended from Perseus. Disallowed the Peloponnesus, Hercules embarked on a life of wandering. The Heracleidae became ascendant in the Eurotas valley with the Dorians who, at least in legend, entered it during an invasion called the Return of the Heracleidae; driving out the Atreids and at least some of the Mycenaean population.

Genealogical Tree of the Kings of Sparta
Year Heraclid Other notable information
c. Aristodemos son of Aristomachus and husband of Argeia
c. Theras (regent) son of Autesion and brother of Aristodemus's wife Argeia;[n 2] served as regent for his nephews, Eurysthenes and Procles.
Years with no dates (only "c.") are unknown

Agiad dynasty


The dynasty was named after its second king, Agis.

Year Agiad Other notable information
c. 930 BC Eurysthenes Return of the Heracleidae
c. 930 – 900 BC[n 3] Agis I Subjugated the Helots
c. 900 – 870 BC Echestratus Expelled the Cynurensians[n 4] that were in power.
c. 870 – 840 BC Labotas[n 5]
c. 840 – 820 BC Doryssus
c. 820 – 790 BC Agesilaus I
c. 790 – 760 BC Archelaus
c. 760 – 740 BC Teleclus Killed by the Messenians
c. 740 – 700 BC Alcamenes First Messenian War begins
c. 700 – 665 BC Polydorus First Messenian War ends; killed by the Spartan nobleman Polemarchus[5]
c. 665 – 640 BC Eurycrates
c. 640 – 615 BC Anaxander
c. 615 – 590 BC Eurycratides
c. 590 – 560 BC Leon
c. 560 – 520 BC Anaxandridas II Battle of the Fetters
c. 520 – 490 BC Cleomenes I Greco-Persian Wars begins
c. 490 – 480 BC Leonidas I Battle of Thermopylae
c. 480 – 459 BC Pleistarchus First Peloponnesian War begins
c. 459 – 445 BC, 426 – 409 BC Pleistoanax Second Peloponnesian War begins
c. 445 – 426 BC, 409 – 395 BC Pausanias Helped restore democracy in Athens; Spartan hegemony
c. 395 – 380 BC Agesipolis I Corinthian War begins
c. 380 – 371 BC Cleombrotus I
c. 371 – 369 BC Agesipolis II[n 6]
c. 369 – 309 BC Cleomenes II Third Sacred War begins
c. 309 – 265 BC Areus I Killed in battle against Aristodemus, the tyrant of Megalopolis
c. 265 – 262 BC Acrotatus II
c. 262 – 254 BC Areus II[6]
c. 254 – 242 BC Leonidas II Briefly deposed while in exile avoiding trial
c. 242 – 241 BC Cleombrotus II
c. 241 – 235 BC Leonidas II
c. 235 – 222 BC Cleomenes III Exiled after the Battle of Sellasia
Following the Battle of Sellasia, the dual monarchy remained vacant until Cleomenes III's death in 219.
c. 219 – 215 BC Agesipolis III last Agiad, deposed by the Eurypontid Lycurgus

Eurypontid dynasty


The dynasty is named after its third king Eurypon. Not shown is Lycurgus, the lawgiver, a younger son of the Eurypontids, who served a brief regency either for the infant Charilaus (780–750 BC) or for Labotas (870–840 BC) the Agiad.

Year Eurypontid Other notable information
c. 930 BC Procles Return of the Heracleidae
c. 890 BC Soos Son of Procles and father of Eurypon. Likely fictitious.[7]
c. 890 – 860 BC Eurypon Likely fictitious.[7]
c. 860 – 830 BC Prytanis Likely fictitious.[7]
c. 830 – 800 BC Polydectes
c. 800 – 780 BC Eunomus Likely fictitious.[7]
c. 780 – 750 BC Charilaus Ward and nephew of the Spartan reformer Lycurgus; War with the Argives; destroyed the border-town of Aegys; Battle of Tegea. Perhaps the first historical Eurypontid king.[8]
c. 750 – 725 BC Nicander
c. 725 – 675 BC Theopompus First Messenian War
Currently known two lists of kings:
Year Eurypontid Other notable information
c. 575 – 550 BC Agasicles Contemporary with Leon
c. 550 – 515 BC Ariston Battle of the Fetters.
c. 515 – 491 BC Demaratus deposed
c. 491 – 469 BC Leotychidas II great grandson of Hippocratidas, Greco-Persian Wars
c. 469 – 427 BC Archidamus II Second Peloponnesian War begins
c. 427 – 401 BC[n 7] Agis II Spartan hegemony; Attacked Epidaurus, Leuctra,[n 8] Caryae, Orchomenos, and Mantineia; Invaded the Argolis; Council of war[n 9] formed to check his powers.
c. 401[n 7] – 360 BC Agesilaus II Corinthian War begins
c. 360 – 338 BC Archidamus III Third Sacred War begins
c. 338 – 331 BC Agis III
c. 331 – 305 BC Eudamidas I
c. 305 – 275 BC Archidamus IV
c. 275 – 245 BC Eudamidas II
c. 245 – 241 BC Agis IV
c. 241 – 228 BC Eudamidas III
c. 228 – 227 BC Archidamus V
c. 227 – 222 BC Eucleidas Actually an Agiad; installed by Cleomenes III[n 10] in place of Archidamus V. Died in the Battle of Sellasia.
Following the Battle of Sellasia, the dual monarchy remained vacant until Cleomenes III's death in 219.
c. 219 – 210 BC Lycurgus obscure background and possibly of non-royal descent, deposed the Agiad Agesipolis III and ruled alone
c. 210 – 206 BC Pelops son of Lycurgus

Sole kings

Year Tyrants Other notable information
c. 210–207 BC Machanidas regent for Pelops
c. 206–192 BC Nabis first regent for Pelops, then usurper, claiming descent from the Eurypontid king Demaratus
c. 192 BC Laconicus last known king of Sparta from Heraclid dynasty

The Achaean League annexed Sparta in 192 BC.

Notes and references

  1. ^ Greek: ἀρχᾱγέται, archagétai, plural of ἀρχᾱγέτης, archāgétēs, Doric Greek form of Attic ἀρχηγέτης, archēgétēs, 'first/chief leader'.[2]
  2. ^ A Cadmid of Theban descent.
  3. ^ According to Apollodorus of Athens.
  4. ^ Cynuria is said to have been colonized by Cynurus; Cynurensian bandits were common in the lands.
  5. ^ Or Labotes, Leobotes.
  6. ^ Agesilaus II, distinguished king of Sparta, being asked which was the greater virtue, valor or justice, replied: "Unsupported by justice, valor is good for nothing; and if all men were just, there would be no need of valor".
  7. ^ a b Or 427 – 400 BC.
  8. ^ And again, after the Carnean festival.
  9. ^ Consisting of 10 Spartans.
  10. ^ I.e. Eucleidas's brother.
  1. ^ Hall, Jonathan M. (2007). A History of the Archaic Greek World: Ca. 1200-479 BCE. John Wiley & Sons. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-631-22668-0.
  2. ^ ἀρχᾱγέτας, ἀρχηγέτης. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  3. ^ Cartledge, Paul, The Spartans, Vintage Books, 2003.
  4. ^ Pindar and the cult of heroes. By Bruno Currie Page 245 ISBN 0-19-927724-9.
  5. ^ A Classical Dictionary By John Lemprière. Pg 618.
  6. ^ A Prosopography of Lacedaemonians, Part 396. By Alfred S. Bradford. Page 44.
  7. ^ a b c d Cartledge, Sparta and Lakonia, p. 90.
  8. ^ Cartledge, Sparta and Lakonia, p. 92.