TYRTAEUS, Greek elegiac poet, lived at Sparta about the middle of the 7th century B.C. According to the older tradition he was a native of the Attic deme of Aphidnae, and was invited to Sparta at the suggestion of the Delphic oracle to assist the Spartans in the second Messenian war.
Busolt, who suggests that Tyrtaeus was a native of Aphidnae in Laconia, conjectures that the entire legend may have been concocted in connexion with the expedition sent to the assistance of Sparta in her struggle with the revolted Helots at Ithome (464).
Theseus and Pirithous now carried off Helen from Sparta, and when they drew lots for her she fell to the lot of Theseus, who took her to Aphidnae, and left her in charge of his mother Aethra and his friend Aphidnus.
Its eponymous hero, Decelus, was said to have indicated to the Tyndaridae, Castor and Pollux, the place where Theseus had hidden their sister Helen at Aphidnae; and hence there was a traditional friendship between the Deceleans and the Spartans (Herodotus ix.