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Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 494 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CLEOMENES I. was the son of Anaxandridas, whom he succeeded about 520 B.C. His chief exploit was his crushing victory near Tiryns over the Argives, some 6000 of whom he burned to death in a sacred grove to which they had fled for refuge (Herodotus vi. 76-82). This secured for Sparta the undisputed hegemony of the Peloponnese. Cleomenes' interposition in the politics of central Greece was less successful. In 510 he marched to Athens with a Spartan force to aid in expelling the Peisistratidae, and subsequently returned to support the oligarchical party, led by Isagoras, against Cleisthenes (q.v.). He expelled seven hundred families and transferred the government from the council to three hundred of the oligarchs, but being blockaded in the Acropolis he was forced to capitulate. On his return home he collected a large force with the intention of 3 Dom Chapman (ut supra, p. 158) says during the Neoplatonist reaction under Julian 361-363, to which period he also assigns the Homilies.making Isagoras despot of Athens, but the opposition of the Corinthian allies and of his colleague Demaratus caused the expedition to break up after reaching Eleusis (Herod. v. 64-76; Aristotle, Ath. Pol. 19, 20). In 491 he went to Aegina to punish the island for its submission to Darius, but the intrigues of his colleague once again rendered his mission abortive. In revenge Cleomenes accused Demaratus of illegitimacy and secured his deposition in favour of Leotychides (Herod. vi. 50-73). But when it was discovered that he had bribed the Delphian priestess to substantiate his charge he was himself obliged to flee; he went first to Thessaly and then to Arcadia, where he attempted to foment an anti-Spartan rising. About 488 B.C. he was recalled, but shortly afterwards, in a fit of madness, he committed suicide (Herod. vi. 74, 75). Cleomenes seems to have received scant justice at the hands of Herodotus or his informants, and Pausanias (iii. 3, 4) does little more than condense Herodotus's narrative. In spite of some failures, largely due to Demaratus's jealousy, Cleomenes strengthened Sparta in the position, won during his. father's reign, of champion and leader of the Hellenic race; it was to him, for example, that the Ionian cities of Asia Minor first applied for aid in their revolt against Persia (Herod. v. 49-51). For the chronology see J. Wells, Journal of Hellenic Studies (1905), p. 193 if., who assigns the Argive expedition to the outset of the reign, whereas nearly all historians have dated it in or about 495 B.c.
End of Article: CLEOMENES I

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