Son of Agesilaus II and lover of the son of Sphodrias, reigned from 360/59 to 338 bc. He was born about 400 but did not fight at Leuctra (371), after which disastrous defeat he was charged with escorting back to Sparta the remnant of the Spartan army. He commanded troops successfully against the Arcadians in 368 and 365, and distinguished himself in the defence of Sparta against Epaminondas in 362. In the Third Sacred War he took the Phocians' part against Thebes, but withdrew Spartan forces in disgust at the duplicity of their commander Phalaecus (346). Now that Sparta had lost an empire and failed to find a role, he aped his father's later career as a mercenary, responding to an appeal from Sparta's Italian daughter-city Tarentum against the non-Greek Lucanians (c.342). But in 338, when other Greek leaders were preoccupied with the threat of Philip II of Macedon, Archidamus died in battle at Manduria in southern Italy. If the Archidamus of Isocrates (a speech placed in the mouth of the then crown prince at a dramatic date of 366) is to be credited, Archidamus like his father was an irredentist believer in Sparta's futile mission to regain Messenia.
Paul Anthony Cartledge
Subjects: Classical Studies.