DEATH OF AGIS
WHEN Agis heard of the changes which had been taking
place in Sparta during his absence, he quickly went
home. On arriving in the city, he found the party of
the rich so powerful that he could not oppose them, and
was even forced to seek refuge in a temple, as Leonidas
and Cleombrotus had each done in turn.
His wife, Agiatis, forced by illness to stay at
home, could not show her love by following him there;
but a few faithful friends went with him, and kept
guard over him. Their watchfulness was needed, because
Agis slipped out of the temple every night to go to the
bath and refresh himself.
It happened, however, that two of these friends were
false. They basely took the bribes offered by the
ephors for information about the king, and told them
that he left the temple every night, and for what
 Thus advised, the ephors surprised the little party the
next night, and thrust Agis into prison. He was tried
and condemned to death by order of Leonidas, and thus
died when only twenty-two years of age, after having
vainly tried for three years to bring the Spartans back
to their former simplicity and virtue.
Leonidas, not content with killing Agis, gave the widow
Agiatis in marriage to his son, Cleomenes, who was a
mere boy, several years younger than she. Agiatis soon
won great influence over the young prince, and told him
so much about her dead husband, that he tried to follow
the example of Agis in everything.
When Leonidas died, Cleomenes succeeded him, and,
thanks to the teachings of his wife, was both great and
virtuous. He drove away the ephors, who were rich and
corrupt, and then distributed all the property equally
among the people, as Agis had planned.
When Aratus heard of the reforms made by Cleomenes, he
began to fear that Sparta would win back her former
power, and again try to lord it over the rest of
Greece. To prevent such a misfortune, he decided to
attack the Spartan king while he was too young to excel
in the art of war.
He therefore advanced with a good army; but, to his
surprise and dismay, he was completely defeated by the
young king. Several of the smaller towns now showed a
desire to leave the Achæan League and join Sparta, so
Aratus became more eager than ever to suppress her
In his eagerness he forgot all caution, and even asked
help of Antigonus Doson, King of Macedon, the
suc-  cessor of Antigonus Gonatas. This ruler owed his
surname of Doson ("who will give") to a bad habit of
promising all kinds of gifts to his
followers,—promises which were never kept.
Antigonus Doson was only too glad to send a Macedonian
army into Greece, and not only garrisoned the fortress
on the Isthmus of Corinth, but also sent troops on into