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The Agiads were the senior royal house at Sparta, descended mythically from the elder of Heraclid twins (Hdt. 6. 52; see heracles); the junior was known as the Eurypontids. The origins of the Spartan dual kingship are unknown, but the office was entrenched in the ‘Great Rhetra’ ascribed to the lawgiver Lycurgus (2) (Plut. Lyc. 6) and persisted until the end of the 3rd cent. bce. Distinguished Agiads included Cleomenes (1) I, his half-brother Leonidas (1), and Cleomenes (2) III. The latter effectively terminated the traditional dyarchy in c.227 by installing his brother on the formerly Eurypontid throne.


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