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date: 25 June 2022

Agis IVlocked

, c. 262–241 BCE

Agis IVlocked

, c. 262–241 BCE
  • Paul Cartledge

Extract

Agis IV (c. 262–241 bce), son of Eudamidas, ascended the *Eurypontid throne in c. 244, at a time of domestic crisis. Concentration of estates in a few hands, heavy indebtedness of the majority, depletion of citizen numbers, and desuetude of the ancient civic regimen were ills he proposed to remedy by an alleged return to the aboriginal ‘Lycurgan’ order (see lycurgus (2)). But the cure proved as dangerous as the diseases. Opposition was overcome by impeaching and forcing into exile his fellow king Leonidas, driving an uncle into exile, and unprecedentedly deposing a board of *ephors. The reforms were apparently passed but could not be implemented before Leonidas staged a counter-coup while Agis was abroad assisting his allies of the *Achaean Confederacy against Aetolia (see aetolian confederacy) and had him executed by the ephors on his return. High-minded but impractical, he fell before more astute political operators. His death became the legend around which a new generation rallied (see cleomenes (2) iii).

Subjects

  • Greek History and Historiography

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