Cleomenes, the name of three kings of Sparta, of the Agid line. I. Son of Anaxan-drides, reigned from about 520 till 491 B. C. Before his accession he was regarded as almost insane; and subsequently he displayed great rashness and cruelty, especially in the burning of Argive captives after the great battle in which 6,000 of his enemies fell. He commanded the Spartans who were sent, in obedience to the repeated oracles of Delphi, to deliver Athens from the tyranny of Hip-pias (510). He then assisted the party of Isagoras against the Alemaeonidae headed by Clisthenes; but Isagoras, after having banished 700 families from Athens, still more betrayed his ambitious schemes by attempted changes in the senate, and roused the people against himself; the exiles were recalled, and Cleomenes was besieged in the acropolis, and compelled to capitulate. Many years after, accused by his colleague Demaratus of a leaning toward Persia, he bribed the oracle of Delphi, and caused the deposition of Demaratus. He was soon banished himself, and went to Thessaly, then to Arcadia, where he incited the people against the Spartans, who, dreading his revenge, permitted him to resume the throne; but on his return the insanity which he had manifested from his earliest life became so violent that he was confined in the stocks, where he committed suicide.
II. Son of Cle-ombrotus I. and successor of his brother Agesipolis II., reigned 370-309 B. C. Nothing historically important is recorded of his life. III. Son of Leonidas II., reigned 236-220 B. C. He married at an early age the widow of Agis IV., commenced war with the Achaean league, caused the banishment or death of distinguished citizens opposed to his schemes of regeneration, poisoned his infant colleague, and reigned with his own brother Euclidas. He proclaimed the abolition of all debts, relinquished his own property, made a new distribution of the lands, and restored the ancient system of education, the public tables, and other institutions of Lycurgus. The Achaeans, attacked and beaten by Cleomenes, invoked the aid of Macedon; and Antigonus Doson entered the Peloponnesus with a large army, and routed the Spartans in the bloody battle of Sellasia. Cleomenes fled to his ally, Ptolemy Euergetes of Egypt, who received him kindly, but soon died, and his son Philopator threw the Spartan king into prison on a charge of conspiracy against his life.
He escaped, and killed himself, after a vain attempt to raise an insurrection.