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The ancient sources which discuss the etymology of the name of the polis Kleonai in the northeastern Peloponnesos have received little study; with close scrutiny, more texts than previously thought can be found to relate directly to the question. In these texts, traces of three different founding myths for the city can be discerned. The associations provided for Kleonai by each of these little discussed passages and myths are explored here, as are the circumstances under which the myths may have originated and times during the city’s history when they may have been promoted. Ultimately, the founding myths of Kleonai contain strong indications of the real and potential political alliances of the strategically located city in the Archaic and Early Classical periods, and shed light on the contemporary relations between larger powers such as Argos, Mycenae, Sparta, and Sikyon.