~ 480 BC
|CROSSING THE HELLESPONT WITH XERXES|
Demaratus was an exiled Spartan king who lost his position due to a conflict with Cleomenes I, the other King of Sparta. There
was some question regarding the paternity of Demaratus, since his mother was previously married, but the issue of his legitimate
succession to the Spartan throne was not raised until after several years of feuding with Cleomenes I. They first
differed on the degree to which Sparta should continue to interfere with internal affairs in Athens, after Cleomenes had
driven Hippias out of the city. Later, Demaratus refused to support a Spartan campaign against Aegina, in which Cleomenes
sought to punish the
city's leaders who had sought an alliance with Persia. This lapse fired up enough indignation among the Spartans that
plans were made to depose Demaratus, and place his brother Leotychides II on the throne. Demaratus was driven from Sparta
and sought refuge in Persia, where he was granted the city
of Pergamum and surrounding areas.
Ten years after his exile, Demaratus accompanied Xerxes on his expedition to Greece, and alone among his advisors,
expressed doubt at Xerxes's
ability to defeat the Greeks. Herodotus records numerous consultations between Xerxes and Demaratus, and at all
times Demaratus courageously refrained from flattering Xerxes, and expressed his true assessment of the military
Key events during the life of Demaratus:
||Demaratus ascends to the Eurypontid kingship of Sparta.
||Cleomenes I drives Hippias from Athens, but is displeased with Cleisthenes democratic reforms.
||Cleomenes I and Demaratus disagree regarding further interference in Athens politics.
||Cleomenes I attempts to punish Aegina for submitting to Persia, but Demaratus interferes.
||Cleomenes I drives Demaratus from the throne of Sparta, claiming illegitimacy.
||Flees to Persia and is granted the city of Pergamum.
||Accompanies Xerxes on his campaign to Greece. Present at the battle of Thermopylae.
||Returned to Asia Minor. Descendents were still in power 100 years later.
||King of Sparta before Persian Wars, removed tyrants from Athens, defeated Argos.
||Previous King of the Eurypontid line. Possibly father of Demaratus.
||Son of Ariston, who claimed the throne in preference to Demaratus.
||Spartan King whose whole army died defending the pass of Thermopylae.
||Raised an enormous army for Persian invasion of Greece. Defeated at Battle of Salamis.
||Athenian enemy of Cleisthenes, supported by Cleomenes I, but not by Demaratus.
||First husband of Demaratus's mother. Possibly father of Demaratus.