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The son of King Anaxandridas and his successor to the Agiad throne in Sparta after his half-brother Cleomenes I went mad (490); married Cleomenes' daughter Gorgo, and probably adopted Cleomenes' policies; placed in command of a small expeditionary force of 300 Spartan hoplites, he led a force of 6,000-7,000 Greeks north to hold the pass of Thermopylae and so delay Xerxes' invading Persian army (July?
Descended from the Eurypontid house, he came to the throne by successfully challenging the title of Demaratus with help of Cleomenes I (491); took part in Cleomenes' second expedition to Aegina (Aigina), during which ten hostages were seized and given to the Athenians for safekeeping; for his role in this deed he was nearly given to Aegina after Cleomenes' death; commanded the Greek fleet of 110 ships first at Aegina and then at Delos (spring 479), and supported the revolts of Chios (Khios) and Samos against the Persians; moved against the Persian position at Cape Mycale on the coast of Asia Minor, defeating the army and smashing the fleet, which was drawn up ashore (mid-August?