Lysander was a Spartan admiral and statesman who was very influential during the final years of the Peloponnesian War
and for the decade following. He was thought to be the son of a helot mother and a Spartan father.
It is not known how he rose to eminence: he first appears as admiral of the
Spartan navy in 407 B.C., and two
years later, he led the Spartans to a decisive victory at Aegospotami, and then blockaded the harbor
at Athens until their surrender a year later. By 404 B.C. he was the most powerful man in the Greek world and set
about completing the task of building up a Spartan empire. He was very influential in the replacement
of democratic governments throughout Greece, with oligarchies under the control of Spartan governors.
|A NAVAL BATTLE|
But Lysander's boundless influence, and the honours paid him, roused the jealousy of the kings and the ephors, and,
on being accused by the Persian satrap Pharnabazus, he was recalled to Sparta. Soon afterwards he was sent
to Athens with an army to aid the oligarchs, but Pausanias, one of the kings, followed him and brought
about a restoration of democracy. On the death of Agis II., Lysander secured the succession of Agesilaus,
whom he hoped to find amenable to his influence. But in this he was disappointed. Though chosen to accompany
the king to Asia as one of his thirty advisers, he was kept inactive and his influence was broken by studied
affronts, and finally he was sent at his own request as envoy to the Hellespont. He soon returned to Sparta
to mature plans for overthrowing the hereditary kingship and substituting an elective monarchy, but his
efforts were fruitless, and his schemes were cut short by the outbreak of war with Thebes. In 395 B
invaded Boeotia from the west, receiving the submission of Orchomenus and sacking Lebadea, but the enemy
intercepted his despatch to Pausanias, who had meanwhile entered Boeotia from the south, containing plans
for a joint attack upon Haliartus. The town was at once strongly garrisoned, and when Lysander marched
against it he was defeated and slain. He was buried in the territory of Panopeus, the nearest Phocian city.
An able commander and an adroit diplomatist, Lysander was fired by the ambition to make Sparta supreme in
Greece and himself in Sparta. To this end he shrank from no treachery or cruelty; yet, like Agesilaus, he was
totally free from the characteristic Spartan vice of avarice, and died, as he had lived, a poor man.
—Adapted from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Key events during the life of Lysander:
||Assumed command of the Spartan Navy.
||Defeated Athens fleet at the battle of Aegospotami.
||Blockaded harbor of Athens until it surrendered.
||Established oligarchies that were subject to Sparta, throughout Greece.
||On death of Agis II, supported Agesilaus to inherit the throne.
||Followed Agesilaus to Asia Minor to free Ionian colonies.
||Invaded Boeotia in eary battle of the Persian War, died at Battle of Haliartus
||Spartan commander during the late Peloponnesian War. Sought peace, distained alliance with Persia.
||Leader of Sparta after the Peloponnesian War. Campaigned in Asia Minor and warred with Thebes.
||Leading General of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War.
||Persian Satrap of Phrygia. Allied with Sparta near end of Peloponnesian War.