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Lysander (died 395 BC, Greek: Λύσανδρος, Lýsandros) was a Spartan general who commanded the Spartan fleet in the Hellespont which defeated the Athenians at Aegospotami in 405 BC. The following year, he was able to force the Athenians to capitulate, bringing the Peloponnesian War to an end; he organized the dominion of Sparta over Greece in the last decade of his life.


Early life

Little is known of Lysander's early life. Lysander's father was Aristocleitus, who was a member of the Spartan Heracleidae; that is, like most Dorian men of good family, he claimed descent from Heracles. Nevertheless, Lysander's family was poor and when he was young he needed sponsorship to be able to participate in the Spartan training to be a soldier.

The Battle of Notium

Lysander was appointed Spartan navarch (admiral) for the Aegean Sea in 407 BC. It was during this period that he gained the friendship and support of Cyrus the Younger, a son of Darius II of Persia and Parysatis.

Lysander then undertook the major project of creating a strong Spartan fleet based at Ephesus which could take on the Athenians and their allies.[1][2]

Alcibiades was appointed commander-in-chief with autocratic powers and left for Samos to rejoin his fleet and try and engage Lysander in battle. The Spartan navarch Lysander refused to be lured out of Ephesus to do battle with Alcibiades. However, while Alcibiades was away seeking supplies, the Athenian squadron was placed under the command of Antiochus, his helmsman. During this time Lysander managed to engage the Athenian fleet and they were routed by the Spartan fleet (with the help of the Persians under Cyrus) at the Battle of Notium in 406 BC. This defeat by Lysander gave the enemies of Alcibiades the excuse they needed to strip him of his command. He never returned again to Athens. He sailed north to the land he owned in the Thracian Chersonese.

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