Leonidas II
King of Sparta
Reignc. 254 – 242 BC
c. 241 – 235 BC
PredecessorAreus II, Cleombrotus II
SuccessorCleombrotus II, Cleomenes III
Cleombrotus II ordered into banishment by Leonidas II king of Sparta, Pelagio Palagi (1775–1860).
Kleombrotos sent into Exile by Leonidas II, Oil on canvas, Benjamin West, c. 1768.

Leonidas II (/liˈɒnɪdəs, -dæs/; Ancient Greek: Λεωνίδας Β΄, Leōnídas B', "Lion's son, Lion-like") was the 28th Agiad King of Sparta from 254 to 242 BC and from 241 to 235 BC.


Leonidas was the son of Cleonymus and grandson of king Cleomenes II (r. 370–309), who belonged to the Agiad dynasty, one of the two royal families of Sparta (the other being the Eurypontids).[1][2]

Leonidas II was raised at the Seleucid court, and according to Plutarch's Life of Agis IV, he married a Persian woman. According to other sources, this non-Spartan wife was actually a Seleucid, possibly the daughter of Seleucus I Nicator by his Persian wife Apama. She was therefore not fully Persian, but half-Macedonian and half-Persian. His Persian-influenced lifestyle, his non-Spartan (therefore foreign) wife and his half-Spartan children would all be made issues by the ephor Lysander, the co-king Agis IV and their supporters.

Leonidas II opposed the attempted reforms of his Eurypontid co-king, Agis IV. The ephor, Lysander, claimed to have seen a sign from the gods against Leonidas, and Leonidas fled to avoid his trial. In his absence, Leonidas was deposed from the throne and replaced by his son-in-law, Cleombrotus II.

He later returned to Sparta while Agis was on campaign in Aetolia and deposed and exiled Cleombrotus II, and reclaimed his throne. Soon after, he deposed and executed Agis IV alongside his mother Agesistrate and grandmother Archidamia.


He was the father of three children by his wife Cratesiclea,[3] who belonged to the Seleucid dynasty founded by Seleucus Nicator.[4]

His son Cleomenes III eventually succeeded him, having been married at age 18 to Agiatis (d. 224 BC), widow of Agis IV, the Eurypontid king; they had at least one son together who died in Egypt with his grandmother. His daughter Chilonis was married to Cleombrotus II who replaced his father-in-law as king for some time. She was notable for her fidelity to her father, whom she followed into exile, and then to her husband whom she also followed into exile after her father returned to power.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Cartledge, Hellenistic and Roman Sparta, p. 40.
  2. ^ Christien, "Léonidas II", p. 244.
  3. ^ Sarah B. Pomeroy Spartan Women p. 88-89. After her cousin fled into exile in Ptolemaic Egypt, Cratisiclea and his children were kept as hostages in Egypt by Ptolemy IV Philopator who ordered her death.
  4. ^ Sarah B. Pomeroy Spartan Women p. 87. She may have been the daughter of Seleucus I Nicator, who lived several decades earlier; however, only two of his daughters are known by name.
  5. ^ Sarah B. Pomeroy Spartan Women pages 87-88.


Regnal titles Preceded byAreus II Agiad King of Sparta 254–242 BC Succeeded byCleombrotus II Preceded byCleombrotus II Agiad King of Sparta 241–235 BC Succeeded byCleomenes III