Teleutias, d.381 BC

Teleutias (d.381 BC) was a half-brother of Agesilaus II of Sparta and a successful admiral and general who was killed in battle against the Olynthians.

Teleutias and Agesilaus had the same mother, and it was probably this family connection that got Teleutias his first recorded military command, as commander of a Spartan fleet in the Corinthian Gulf.

In 394 BC the main Spartan fleet in the Aegean was defeated at Cnidus by a combined Persian and Athenian fleet (Persian-Spartan War). The victorious allies then visited mainland Greece, where they provided money that allowed Corinth to build a fleet with which they gained command of the gulf (Corinthian War). In 393 Teleutias was given command of a Spartan fleet and used it to regain control of the Gulf. In 391 he advanced to Lechaeum, the Corinthian port at the eastern end of the gulf, where he joined up with Agesilaus and captured the port and the long walls that linked it to Corinth.

In 390 BC Teleutias replaced Ecdicus as the Spartan admiral in Asian waters. He sailed from Greece to Samos, where he gained reinforcements, then went on to Cnidus, where he took over command of Ecdicus's fleet. He then sailed for Cyprus, and on the way he captured ten Athenian warships that had been sent to support King Evagoras of Salamis in a revolt against the Persians.

The Athenians responded by sending forty ships under Thrasybulus to support the democratic party on Rhodes. When the Athenians arrived they discovered that the situation was deadlocked, and left for the Hellespont.

In 388 BC Teleutias became involved in a complex campaign around Aegina, a great rival of Athens located just off the coast of Attica. The Athenians responded by building a fort on the island supported by a fleet of ten triremes. Teleutias was able to drive away the Athenian ships, but the fort remained in Athenian hands for some time after this. Teleutias was replaced by Hierax and then by Gorgopas. During this period the Athenians abandoned the fort, but established a base on the mainland opposite Aegina. Gorgopas had some success, ambushing the Athenian squadron from this base, but he was then killed in an Athenian ambush on the island itself. Teleutias was sent to restore the situation, and carried out a daring raid into the harbour at Piraeus, then raiding along the Attic coast. 

In 382 BC Teleutias was given command of the Spartan expedition against Olynthus, in Chalcidice. At the time Olynthus was expanding its power in the area, and the Spartans were called in by several of her worried rivals. Although he had the help of Amyntas III of Macedon and Derdas of Elymia, he made little progress in 382 (battle of Olynthus, 382 BC).

Teleutias was killed outside the walls of Olynthus. During the fighting of 381 the Olynthian cavalry routed part of the Spartan army. Teleutias was enraged and ordered his entire army to attack. This brought them within missile range of the defenders of the city. The Spartan formation was disrupted and the defenders took the chance to carry out a sortie in which Teleutias was killed and his army defeated (battle of Olynthus, 381 BC). The Spartans persisted with their attack, and eventually King Agesipolis managed to force the Olynthians to dissolve their confederation, but they were probably unable to enforce the agreement. 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 February 2016), Teleutias, d.381 BC ,

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