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Cleomenes I

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'''Cleomenes''' ([[Greek language|Greek]] ''Κλεομένης'', d. ca. [[490 BC]]) was one of the [[Kings of Sparta]] in the [[6th century BC|6th]] and [[5th century BC|5th centuries BC]]. He was the son of [[Anaxandridas II]], of the Agiad royal house, and his second wife, and the half-brother of Dorieus. Although Dorieus was the son of Anaxandridas' first wife and therefore had a better claim to the throne according to tradition, Cleomenes succeeded his father around [[520 BC]].

Around [[510 BC]] the [[Alcmaeonidae]] family, who had been exiled from [[Athens]], requested that [[Sparta]] help them overthrow [[Hippias (son of Pisistratus)|Hippias]], the son of [[Pisistratus]] and [[tyrant]] of [[Athens]]. The Alcmaeonidae, led by [[Cleisthenes]], bribed the oracle at [[Delphi]] to tell the Spartans to assist them, and Cleomenes came to their aid. The first attack on Athens was a failure, but Cleomenes personally led the second attack and besieged Hippias and his supporters on the [[Acropolis, Athens|Acropolis]]. He was unable to force Hippias to surrender, but the Spartans captured some of Hippias' relatives and took them hostage until he agreed to give up the city. but later attempted to restore Hippias as tyrant when the Spartans realized Athens was too powerful for them to control.

Cleisthenes and [[Isagoras]] then fought for control of Athens. Cleomenes supported Isagoras and they forced Cleisthenes and the Alcmaeonidae family to go into exile for a second time. Cleomenes also abolished the [[Boule]], a council set up by Cleisthenes, and occupied the Acropolis. The citizens of Athens objected to this and forced him out of the city. Cleomenes gathered an army, intending to set up Isagoras as tyrant, and invaded [[Attica, Greece|Attica]]. The [[Corinth]] in his force refused to attack Athens once they learned of Cleomenes' plan, and the invasion failed.

Cleomenes was still king when [[Aristagoras]], the tyrant of [[Miletus]], came to Sparta to request help for the [[Ionian Revolt]] in [[499 BC]]. Aristagoras was almost able to convince Cleomenes to help, promising an easy conquest of Persia and its riches, but Cleomenes sent him away when he learned how far away Persia really was.

When the Persians invaded [[Greece]] after putting down the revolt in [[494 BC]], many [[city-state]]s quickly submitted to them. Among these states was [[Aegina]], so Cleomenes attempted to arrest the major collaborators there. The Aeginetans would not cooperate with him, and the other Spartan king, [[Demaratus]], was also attempting to undermine his efforts. Cleomenes overthrew Demaratus, after first bribing the oracle at Delphi to announce that this was the divine will, and replaced him with [[Leotychides]]. The two kings successfully captured the Persian collaborators in Aegina.

Also around 494, Cleomenes invaded [[Argos]], and by fooling the Argive army he killed about 6000 inhabitants. Argos remained a bitter enemy of Sparta for decades after this attack.

Around [[490 BC]] Cleomenes was forced to flee Sparta when his plot against Demaratus was discovered, but the Spartans allowed him to return when he began gathering an army in the surrounding territories. However, according to [[Herodotus]] he was by this time insane, and the Spartans put him in prison. He then tried to escape by cutting himself into pieces, and died as a result.

He was succeeded by [[Leonidas I]], who married his daughter Gorgo.

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{{succession box|title=[[Kings of Sparta|Agiad King of Sparta]]|before=[[Anaxandridas II]]|after=[[Leonidas I]]|years=c.520-489}}
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[[Category:490 BC deaths]]
[[Category:Rulers of Sparta]]

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