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On this page: Aristodeme – Aristodemus



ARISTODEME ('Apicr-roSr;^), a Sicyonian woman, who, according to a local tradition of Sicyon, became the mother of Aratus by Asclepius, in the form of a dragon (serpent). A painting of her and the dragon existed at Sicyon in the tem­ ple of Asciepius. (Pans. ii. 10. § 3, iv. 14. § 5.) A daughter of Priam of this name occurs in Apollod. iii. 12. § 5. [L. S.]

ARISTODEMUS ('Apto-To'S^os), a son of Aristomachus, and a descendant of Heracles, was married to Argeia, by whom he became the father of Eurysthenes and Procles. According to some traditions Aristodemus was killed at Naupactus by a flash of lightning, just as he was setting out on his expedition into Peloponnesus (Apollod. ii. 8. § 2, &c.), or by an arrow of Apollo at Delphi be­ cause he had consulted Heracles about the return of the Heraclids instead of the Delphic oracle. (Paus. iii. 1. §5.) According to this tradition, Eurysthenes and Procles were the first Heraclid kings of Lacedaemon; but a Lacedaemonian tra­ dition stated, that Aristodemus himself came to Sparta, was the first king of his race, and died a natural death. (Herod, vi, 52 ; Xenoph. Agesil. 8. § 7.) Another Heraclid of this name, the grand­ father of the former, is mentioned by Euripides. (Ap. Scliol. ad Find. Istli. iv. 104.) [L. S.]

ARISTODEMUS ('Api<r<roHuos), the Spartan, when the last battle at Thermopylae was expected, was lying with Eurytus sick at Alpeni; or as others related, they were together on an errand from the camp. Eurytus returned and fell among the Three Hundred. Aristodemus went home to Sparta. The Spartans made him an/^os', "no man gave him light for his fire, no man spoke with him; he was called Aristodemus the coward" (o rpecras seems to have been the legal title; comp. Diod. xix. 70). Stung with his treatment, next year at Plataea, b. c. 479, he fell in doing away his disgrace by the wildest feats of valour. The Spartans, how­ ever, though they removed his arista, refused him a share in the honours they paid to his fel­ lows, Poseidonius, Philocyon, and Amompharetus, though he had outdone them. (Herod, vii. 229— 231; see Valckn. and Bahr,ad loo.; ix. 71; Suidas, s. v. AvKovpyos.) [A. H. C.]

ARISTODEMUS ('Apurro'S^uos), historical. 1. A Messenian, who appears as one of the chief heroes in the first Messenian war. In the sixth year of that war the Messenians sent to Delphi to consult the oracle, and the ambassador Tisis brought back the answer, that the preservation of the Mes­senian state demanded that a maiden of the house of the Aepytids should be sacrificed to the gods of the lower world. When the daughter of Lyciscus was drawn, by lot, the seer Epebolus declared that she was a supposititious child, and not a daugh­ter of Lyciscus. Hereupon Lyciscus left his country and went over to the Lacedaemonians. As, however, the oracle had added, that if, for some reason, the maiden chosen by lot could not be sacrificed, another might be chosen in her stead, Aristodemus, a gallant warrior, who likewise belonged to the house of the Aepytids, came forward and offered to sacrifice his own daughter for the deliverance of his country. A young Messenian, however, who loved the maiden, opposed the intention of her father, and declared that he as her betrothed had more power over her than her father. When this reason was not list­ened to, his love for the maiden drove him to


despair, and in order to save her life, he declared that she was with child by him. Aristodemus, enraged at this assertion, murdered his daughter and opened her body to refute the calumny. The seer Epebolus, who was present, now demanded the sacrifice of another maiden, as the daughter of Aristodemus had not been sacrificed to the gods, but murdered by her father. But king Euphaes persuaded the Messenians, who, in their indigna­tion, wanted to kill the lover, who had been the cause of the death of Aristodemus' daughter, that the command of the oracle was fulfilled, and as he was supported by the Aepytids, the people accept­ed his counsel. (Paus. iv. 9. §§ 2—6 ; Diodor. Fragm. Vat. p. 7, ed. Dindorf. ; Euseb. Praep. Evang. v. 27.) When the news of the oracle and the manner of its fulfilment became known at Sparta, the Lacedaemonians were desponding, and for five years they abstained from attacking the Messenians, until at last some favourable signs in the sacrifices encouraged them to undertake a fresh campaign against Ithome. A battle was fought, in which king Euphaes lost his life, and as he left no heir to the throne, Aristodemus was elected king by the Messenians, notwithstanding the opposition of some, who declared him unworthy on account of the murder of his daughter. This happened about b. c. 729. Aristodemus shewed himself worthy of the confidence placed in him : he continued the war against the Lacedaemonians, and in b. c. 724 he gained a great victory over them. The Lace­daemonians now endeavoured to effect by fraud what they had been unable to accomplish in the field, and their success convinced Aristodemus that his country was devoted to destruction. In his despair he put an end to his life on the tomb of his daughter, and a short time after, b. c. 722, the Messenians were obliged to recognize the supremacy of the Lacedaemonians. (Paus. iv. 10—13.)

2. Tyrant of Cumae in Campania, a contempo­rary of Tarquinius Superbus. His history is re­lated at great length by Dionysius. He was of a distinguished family, and surnamed MaAa/cos,— respecting the meaning of which the ancients them­selves are not agreed. By his bravery and popular arts, he gained the favour of the people; and hav­ing caused many of the nobles to be put to death, or sent into exile, he made himself tyrant of Cumae, b. c. 502. Pie secured his usurped power by sur­rounding himself with a strong body-guard, by disarming the people, removing the male descend­ants of the exiled nobles from the town, and com­pelling them to perform servile labour in the coun­try. In addition to this, the whole of the young generation of Cumae were educated in an effemi­nate and enervating manner. In this way he maintained himself for several years, until at last the exiled nobles and their sons, supported by Cani-panians and mercenaries, recovered the possession of Cumae, and took cruel vengeance on Aristodemus and his family. (Dionys. Hal. vii. p. 418, &c., ed. Sylb.; Diod. Fragm, lib. vii. in the " Excerpt, de Virt. et Vit.;" Suidas, s. v. >Api(rTo8?j/xos.) Accord­ing to Plutarch (de Virt. Mulier. p. 261), he as­sisted the Romans against the Etruscans, who endeavoured to restore the Tarquins. According to Livy (ii. 21), Tarquinius Superbus took refuge at the court of this tyrant, and died there. (Comp. Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, i, p. 553, &c.)

3. Surnamed the Small (6 jiu/cpos), a disciple of Socrates, who is reported to have had a converse-

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