The Story of the Greeks
Page: 122But the people were eager for the new division which would make them all equal as of old; and they were so angry with Leonidas for his resistance, that they rose up against him, and proposed to depose him by reviving an old law which forbade the ruling of a king who married a foreign wife.
Leonidas had time to flee to the Temple of Athene; and when the ephors called him to appear before them, he refused to do so, because he feared for his life. As
Leonidas, who had led a selfish, pleasure-loving life, was now forsaken by every one except his daughter, Chi-lo´nis, who gave up her husband and the throne in order to console her unfortunate father. She kept him company in the temple, cared for him and amused him, and, when her husband begged her to come back, she answered that her place was rather with her unhappy father than with her prosperous husband.
When it became known that the Spartans were plotting to kill the unhappy Leonidas, Agis helped him to escape, and Chilonis followed him into exile.
The Ætolian League, which just then was very strong, now sent an army across the isthmus to attack the Spartans. The latter sallied forth under the leadership of Agis, who proved such a skillful general, that he not only won a great victory, but also drove the Ætolians out of the peninsula.
During the absence of Agis, many of the richest Spartans who had not yet given up their property refused to do so, and when urged by Cleombrotus to obey, they revolted against him, and recalled Leonidas.
Cleombrotus had only time to take refuge in the same temple where his father-in-law had once found shelter. Here he was soon joined by his wife, Chilonis, who, ever faithful to the most unhappy, came thither to comfort him.
Leonidas was so angry that he would probably have treated Cleombrotus with the utmost severity, had not[Pg 274] Chilonis fallen at his feet and begged him to spare her husband's life. Her tears touched her father, and he granted the favor she asked, declaring, however, that Cleombrotus should go into exile.
In spite of her father's entreaties to remain with him, Chilonis insisted upon accompanying her husband. She gave Cleombrotus one of their two children, clasped the other to her breast, and left the city, proudly walking at her husband's side.
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, A-gi-a´tis, 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.