Xenophon and Plutarch present conflicting narratives on the accession of Agesilaus to the Spartan throne that have puzzled scholars investigating this historically pivotal event. Xenophon presents Agesilaus as an agent of his own destiny while Plutarch portrays him as being the tool of Lysander. Scholars have argued that Plutarch’s version may have originated in Boeotian sources and therefore his narrative should be regarded as more accurate. The key, however, lies in the influence of Plutarch’s thematic agenda on the narrative in the Agesilaus-Pompey. Analysis of Plutarch’s accession narrative within this context clarifies that a friendship theme governed his unique version.

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