Political Events and Economic Ideas
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Political Events and Economic Ideas

Edited by Ingo Barens, Volker Caspari and Bertram Schefold

The influence of political developments on the evolution of economic thought is the main theme behind this book. As the authors reveal throughout the book, history has shown many times that political events can trigger the formulation of new economic conceptions that in turn influence the future economic development of a country.
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Chapter 10: Cleomenes III's Politico-Economic Reforms in Sparta (235-222 BC) and Cercidas' Economic Thought

Christos P. Baloglou


10. Cleomenes III’s politico-economic reforms in Sparta (235–222 ) and Cercidas’ economic thought Christos P. Baloglou* INTRODUCTION The period between the battle of Corupedion (281) – death of Seleucus – and the battle of Sellasia (222) is generally accepted as the most obscure in the history of the Hellenistic World.1 The leading historical work on this period, that of Phylarchus of Athens,2 is lost except for a few fragments and for the extensive use that Plutarch and Polybius made of it. None of the secondary sources which gave a continuous narrative of the events of the period, such as Diodorus Siculus or Pompeius Trogus, is preserved. The only bright spots in the darkness are the biography of Pyrrhus by Plutarch, the history of the Achaean League in Polybius, Plutarch’s life of Aratus based on Aratus’ memoirs (υποµνηµατα)3 and the work of Phylarchus, and ! the history of Sparta under Agis and Cleomenes in Plutarch’s biographies of these kings, based mainly on Phylarchus. The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the relation and influence of the reforms made by Cleomenes III (263–219, r. 235–222), King of Sparta, on the socio-economic thought of his time, and especially on the Cynic Cercidas of Megalopolis. After a brief description of the socio-economic conditions in Greece and especially in Sparta during the second half of the third century, we describe the reforms made by Cleomenes. The spiritual environment which possibly influenced Cleomenes’ ideas is also investigated in the next section. It is...

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