On Cleomenes and Sphaerus: How Stoic was the Spartan King?

Leonidas Konstantakos


The Lycurgan reforms of Hellenistic Sparta by King Cleomenes III and the Stoic philosopher Sphaerus of Borysthenes have been seen as either propaganda for a ruthless, upstart king by an opportunistic intellectual or as a return to the archaic and classical Spartan warrior code influenced by the principles of early Stoicism. I begin with a brief history of Cleomenes and Sphaerus and the relevant events of 3rd BCE century Sparta. Next, Stoic themes in Plutarch's account are discussed. I then give a summary of some main points on both sides and various reasons in support of these arguments. An evaluation follows, with an argument supporting the latter view.


Sphairus; Cleomenes; Stoicism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.47661/afcl.v7i14.1367


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