In Bologna’s Civic Art Museums I saw a painting by Pelagio Palagi showing Leonidas II sending Cleombrotus (also II as it turned out) into exile. And there’s nothing I like as much as a classical subject I haven’t heard about.

Turns out Cleombrotus was a son-in-law of Leonidas, king of Sparta. As Sparta has two kings Cleombrotus made nice with his Leonidas’ co-ruler, Agis IV and allied ephors (magistrates), and took over Leonidas’ throne when Leonidas was exiled.

Leonidas left, taking Chilonides, his daughter and Cleombrotus’ wife with him.

And then he came back next year, killed Agis, appointed new magistrates and exiled Cleombrotus. That’s the moment we see in the painting below (note Zeus doing a Batu Khan impersonation in the background).

And off long-suffering Chilonides went into exile again, this time with her husband and two sons. There’s no story of her ever returning to Sparta and it is likely that she didn’t live long enough, since all we know is that her grandson had to come back from exile to take over Spartan throne almost sixty years later. I hope she really liked Alexandria or wherever it is she actually lived all those years.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *