Subject Area

History

Description

Of all the figures who took part in the Peloponnesian War, perhaps no single person contributed so much to the outcome of the war as Archidamus II. However, if you scour the ancient primary sources, you will be hard-pressed to find a good, objective biography of this Spartan king. Plutarch mentions him only in passing in his Parallel Lives when writing of Agesilaus II, his son. In Xenophon’s Hellenica, Archidamus receives no mention at all, even though his descendants, one of whom bears the same name, feature prominently. Scholars must rely on Thucydides, therefore, to construct a rendering of Archidamus, son of Zeuxidamus. However, this presents a natural problem, for, as classicists have rightly pointed out for decades, Archidamus is not presented in a vacuum and often figures as a mouthpiece for Thucydides. In spite of this, the speeches of Archidamus that are recorded in the Peloponnesian War are significant, and must be intently studied to do him justice and bring out an accurate profile. This paper will seek to discredit the traditional portrait of Archidamus as dragged out of Thucydides by classicists and settle on a fairer, more realistic one, deduced by his appearances in the Peloponnesian War of Thucydides.

Publisher

Providence College

Academic Year

2018-2019

Date

12-6-2018

Type

Article

Format

Text

.pdf

Language

English

Included in

History Commons

Share

COinS