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This webpage reproduces part of the essay
Apophthegmata Laconica


as published in Vol. III
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1931

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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(Vol. III) Plutarch, Moralia

 p243  Sayings of Spartans

208b Agasicles1

1 When someone expressed surprise to Agasicles, king of the Spartans, because, although he was very fond of reading and lectures, yet he would not admit to his presence Philophanes, a learned man, he said, "I want to be a pupil of those whose son I should like to be as well."

2 In answer to a man who raised the question how anyone could possibly rule in safety without the protection of a bodyguard, he said, "If one rules his subjects as fathers rule their sons."2

208c‑215a pp243‑285 Agesilaus the Great:
see separate page

bAgesipolis, son of Cleombrotus3

1 Agesipolis, son of Cleombrotus, when somebody said that Philip in a few days had razed Olynthus to the ground, said, "By Heaven, he will not build another like it in many years!"4

2 When someone else remarked that he while king had been made hostage with those in the prime of life, and not their children or their women, he said, "That is but just, for it is good that we ourselves should bear the consequences of our own mistakes."

3 When he wished to send for some dogs from home, and some said, "There is no such export permitted from there," he said, c"Nor was there of men before this; but now it has been done!"

Agesipolis, son of Pausanias5

Agesipolis, the son of Pausanias, when the Athenians  p287 offered to accept the city of Megara as arbitrator regarding some complaints which they had each against the other, said, "It is a shame, men of Athens, that those who have held the hegemony of the Greeks should know less about justice than the Megarians."

Agis, son of Archidamus6

1 Once upon a time the Ephors said to Agis the son of Archidamus, "Take the young men and march against the country of this man here. dHe will himself guide you to its citadel." "And how, sirs," said Agis, "is it right to entrust so many youths to a man who is betraying his own country?"7

2 Being asked what form of instruction was most in vogue in Sparta, he said, "Knowledge of how to rule and to be ruled."8

3 He said that the Spartans did not ask 'how many are the enemy,' but 'where are they?'9

4 When, at Mantineia, he was not permitted to risk a decisive battle with the enemy, who outnumbered his men, he said, "He who would rule over many must fight with many."10

5 When someone inquired how many Spartans there were, he said, "Enough to keep all bad men away."11

6 As he was going about among the walls of the Corinthians and observed that they were high and  p289 towering and vast in extent, ehe said, "What women live in that place?"12

7 When a lecturer said, "Speech is the most important thing of all," he retorted, "Then if you are silent, you are of no worth at all!"

8 When the Argives, after their defeat, met him again with greater boldness, and he saw that his allies were greatly perturbed, he said, "Do not be afraid, men; for when we who are victorious are frightened, what do you think those vanquished by us are doing?"

9 In answer to the ambassador from Abdera, who, after winding up a long discourse, fasked him what report he should make to his people at home, he said, "Report that during all the time you wanted to speak I listened in silence."13

10 When some commended the people of Elis because they were very just in conducting the Olympic games, he said, "What great or marvellous accomplishment is it if they practise justice on one day only in four years?"14

11 In answer to those who said that some members of the other royal house15 were jealous of him he said, "So then, their own ill fortune will make them miserable and, besides that, the good fortune of myself and of my friends."

12 When someone proffered the advice that they ought to give a passage-way to those of the enemy who were fleeing,16 he said, "And how, if we do not  p291 fight those who because of cowardice are fleeing, shall we fight those who because of bravery stand their ground?"

21613 When someone brought forward a plan for the freedom of the Greeks, which, while not lacking idealism, was difficult to put into practice, he said, "Your words, my friend, need the backing of power and money."17

14 When someone said that Philip would make Greece forbidden ground to them, he said, "It is quite enough, my friend, for us to go and come within the confines of our own land."18

15 An ambassador who had come from Perinthus to Sparta made a long harangue; and when he had stopped speaking and asked Agis what report he should make to the people of Perinthus, Agis said, "What else except that it was hard for you to stop speaking, and that I said nothing?"19

b16 He came alone on an embassy to Philip, and when Philip exclaimed, "What is this? Have you come all alone?", he said, "Yes, for I came to only one man."20

17 When one of the elderly men said to him in his old age, inasmuch as he saw the good old customs falling into desuetude, and other mischievous practices creeping in, that for this reason everything was getting to be topsy-turvy in Sparta, Agis said humorously, "Things are then but following a logical course if that is what is happening; for when I was a boy, I used to hear from my father that everything was topsy-turvy among them; and my father said that,  p293 when he was a boy, his father had said this to him; so nobody ought to be surprised if conditions later are worse than those earlier, cbut rather to wonder if they grow better or remain approximately the same."21

18 Being asked how one could be a free man all his life, he said, "By feeling contempt for death."22

The Younger Agis23

d1 The younger Agis, when Demades said that the jugglers who swallow swords use the Spartan swords because of their shortness, retorted, "But all the same the Spartans reach their enemies with their swords."24

2 In answer to a base man who asked repeatedly who was the best Spartan, he said, "The one most unlike you."25

The Last Agis26

Agis, the last of the kings of Sparta, was arrested as the result of treachery and condemned by the Ephors without a trial. As he was being led away to the halter he saw one of the officers weeping, and said, "Stop your weeping for me, man. For in spite of my being put to death in such defiance of law and justice, I am superior to those who are taking my life." With these words he willingly offered his neck for the noose.27

 p295  Acrotatus28

Acrotatus, when his parents claimed it was his duty to co‑operate with them in some unjust action, spoke in opposition up to a certain limit. But when they insisted, he said, "While I was with you, I had not the slightest idea of justice; ebut since you have surrendered me to our country and its laws, and, besides, have had me instructed in justice and honourable conduct so far as lay in your power, I shall try to follow these rather than you. And since your wish is for me to do what is best, and since what is just is best both for a private citizen, and much more so for a ruler, I will do what you wish; but as for what you propose I shall beg to be excused."29

Alcamenes, son of Teleclus30

1 Alcamenes, the son of Teleclus, when somebody inquired how a man could best keep a kingdom secure, said, "If he should not hold his own advantage too high."

2 When another person sought to know the reason why he did not accept gifts from the Messenians, he said, f"Because if I took gifts, it would be impossible to maintain peace with impartial regard for the laws."

3 When someone said that he lived a straitened life while possessed of plenty of property, he said, "Yes, for it is a noble thing for one who possesses much to live according to reason and not according to his desires."

 p297  Anaxandridas31

1 Anaxandridas, the son of Leo, in answer to a man who took much to heart the sentence imposed upon him of exile from the country, said, "My good sir, be not downcast at being an exile from your country but at being an exile from justice."

2 To a man who told the Ephors of things that were needful, but spoke at greater length than would have sufficed, he said, "My friend, in needless time you dwell upon the need!"32

3 When someone inquired why they put their fields in the hands of the Helots, 217and did not take care of them themselves, he said, "It was by not taking care of the fields, but of ourselves, that we acquired those fields."

4 When someone else said that high repute works injury to men and that he who is freed from this will be happy, he retorted, "Then those who commit crimes would, according to your reasoning, be happy. For how could any man, in committing sacrilege or any other crime, be concerned over high repute?"

5 When another person asked why the Spartans, in their wars, ventured boldly into danger, he said, "Because we train ourselves to have regard for life and not, like others, to be timid about it."

6 When someone asked him why the elders continue the trials of capital cases bover several days, and why, even if the defendant is acquitted, he is none the less still under indictment, he said, "They take many days to decide, because, if they make an error in a capital case, there can be no reversal of  p299 the judgement; and the accused continues, perforce, to be under indictment of the law, because, under this law, it may be possible, by deliberation, to arrive at a better decision."33

Anaxander, son of Eurycrates34

Anaxander, the son of Eurycrates, when someone inquired why the Spartans did not amass money in the public treasury, said, "So that those made the guardians of it may not become corrupt."


cAnaxilas, in answer to the man who wondered why the Ephors did not rise and offer their places to the kings,36 and this, too, although they were appointed to their position by the kings, said, "For the very same reason that they hold the office of Ephor."


Androcleidas the Spartan, who had a crippled leg, enrolled himself among the fighting-men. And when some persons were insistent that he be not accepted because he was crippled, he said, "But I do not have to run away, but to stay where I am when I fight the opposing foe."38


1 When Androcleidas was being initiated into the mysteries at Samothrace, he was asked by the priest  p301 dwhat especially dreadful thing he had done during his life, and he replied, "If any such deed has been committed by me, the gods themselves will know it."40

2 In answer to the Athenian who called the Spartans unlearned, he said, "At any rate we are the only people who have learned no evil from you."41

3 When another Athenian said to him, "You must admit that we have many a time put you to rout from the Cephisus," he retorted, "But we have never put you to rout from the Eurotas."42

4 Being asked how anybody could best make himself agreeable to the people, he said, "If his conversation with them is most pleasant and his suggestions most profitable."43

5 When a lecturer was about to read a laudatory essay on Heracles, he said, e"Why, who says anything against him?"44

6 When Agesilaus was wounded in battle by the Thebans, Androcleidas said to his face, "You have your just reward for the lessons in fighting you have given to that people who had no desire to fight and no knowledge even of fighting." For it appeared that they had been made warlike by the continual campaigns of Agesilaus against them.45

7 He used to say that the young men were the walls of Sparta, and the points of their spears its boundaries.46

8 In answer to the man who sought to know why the Spartans use short daggers in war, he said, "Because we fight close to the enemy."47

 p303  Antiochus

fAntiochus, when he was Ephor, hearing that Philip had given Messenians their land, asked if he had also provided them with the power to prevail in fighting to keep it.48


1 Areus, when some men commended, not their own wives, but certain wives of other men, said, "By Heaven, there ought to be no random talk about fair and noble women, and their characters ought to be totally unknown save only to their consorts."50

2 Once upon a time, when he was passing though Selinus in Sicily, he saw inscribed upon a monument this elegiac couplet:

Here at Selinus these men, who tyranny strove to extinguish,

Brazen-clad Ares laid low; nigh to our gates were they slain.

Whereupon he said, "You certainly deserved to die for trying to extinguish tyranny when it was ablaze; rather you ought to have let it burn itself out completely."51


2181 When someone commended the maxim of Cleomenes, who, on being asked what a good king ought to do, said, "To do good to his friends and evil to his enemies," Ariston said, "How much better,  p305 my good sir, to do good to our friends, and to make friends of our enemies?" This, which is universally conceded to be one of Socrates' maxims,53 is also referred to Ariston.54

2 When someone inquired how many Spartans there were in all, he said, "Enough to keep away our enemies."55

3 When one of the Athenians read a memorial oration bin praise of those who fell at the hands of the Spartans, he said, "What kind of men, then, do you think ours must be who vanquished these?"56


1 Archidamidas, in answer to a man who commended Charillus because he was gentle towards all alike, said, "And how could any man be justly commended if he be gentle towards the wicked?"57

2 When somebody found fault with Hecataeus the sophist because, when he was received as a member at the common table, he spoke not a word, Archidamidas said, "You do not seem to realize that he who knows how to speak knows also the right time for speaking."58

cArchidamus, son of Zeuxidamus59

1 Archidamus, the son of Zeuxidamus, when someone inquired of him who were at the head of Sparta, said, "The laws and the magistrates in accordance with the laws."

 p307  2 In answer to a man who praised a harper and expressed amazement at his ability, he said, "My good sir, what honours shall you be able to offer to good men when you have such praise for a harper?"

3 When someone, in introducing a musician to him, remarked, "This man is a good musician," he said, "And in this country of ours that man there rates as a good soup-maker," thus implying that there was no distinction between giving pleasure through the sound of instruments and giving it dthrough the preparation of appetizing foods and soup.60

4 When somebody promised him to make the wine pleasant to the taste, he said, "What for? For more of it will be used, and it will make the men's eating together less beneficial."61

5 As he was establishing his camp hard by the city of Corinth, he saw hares start up from a spot near the wall. He said therefore to his fellow-soldiers, "The enemy are ours."62

6 When two persons accepted him as arbiter, he took them to the sacred precinct of Athena of the Brazen House, and made them swear to abide by his decision; and when they had given their oaths, he said, "My decision, then, is that you are not to leave this sacred precinct before eyou compose your differences."

7 When Dionysius, the despot of Sicily, sent costly raiment to Archidamus' daughters, he would not accept it, saying, "I am afraid that, if the girls should put it on, they would appear ugly to me."63

 p309  8 Observing that his son was fighting impetuously against the Athenians, he said, "Either add to your strength, or subtract from your courage."

Archidamus, son of Agesilaus64

1 Archidamus, the son of Agesilaus, when Philip, after the battle of Chaeroneia, wrote him a somewhat haughty letter, wrote in reply, f"If you should measure your own shadow, you would not find that it has become any greater than before you were victorious."

2 Being asked how much land the Spartans controlled, he said, "As much as they can reach with the spear."65

3 Periander, the physician, was distinguished in his profession and commended very highly, but was a writer of wretched verses. "Why in the world, Periander," said Archidamus, "do you yearn to be called a bad poet instead of a skilful physician?"

4 In the war against Philip, when some proffered the advice that they ought to engage him in battle at a good distance from their own land,66 Archidamus said, "No, there is not what we ought to look to, but where, in fighting, we shall be superior to the enemy."

5 In answer to those who commended him when he had been victorious in battle67 against the Arcadians, he said, "It would have been better if he had vanquished them by intelligence rather than by strength."

 p311  2196 When he invaded Arcadia, he learned that the Eleans were supporting the Arcadians, and so he sent this letter to them: "Archidamus to the Eleans. Quiet is a good thing."68

7 In the plebeian war, when his allies sought to know how much money would be sufficient, and said it was only fair that he set a limit to their contributions, he said, "War does not feed on fixed rations."69

8 When he saw the missile shot by a catapult, which had been brought then for the first time from Sicily, he exclaimed, "Great Heavens! man's valour is no more!"70

9 When the Greeks were not willing to take his advice and break their agreements with Antipater71 and Craterus the Macedonian, band be free, because of a feeling that the Spartans would be harsher than the Macedonians, he said, "A sheep or a goat bleats always in the same way, but a man talks in a great variety of ways until he accomplishes what he has set his mind upon."


When someone said to Astycratidas, after the defeat of Agis their king in the battle against Antipater in the vicinity of Megalopolis, "What will you do, men of Sparta? Will you be subject to the Macedonians? he said, "What! Is there any way in which Antipater can forbid us to die fighting for Sparta?"

 p313  Bias72

cBias, caught in an ambush by Iphicrates the Athenian general, and asked by his soldiers what was to be done, said, "What else except for you to save your lives and for me to die fighting?"


1 Brasidas caught a mouse among some figs, and, when he got bitten, let it go. Then, turning to those who were present, he said, "There is nothing so small that it does not save its life if it has the courage to defend itself against those who would lay hand on it."74

2 In a battle he was wounded by a spear which pierced his shield, and, pulling the weapon out of the wound, with this very spear he slew the foe. dAsked how he got his wound, he said, " 'Twas when my shield turned traitor."75

3 As he was going forth to war he wrote to the Ephors, "What I wull to dae I'll dae as regairds the war or be a deid mon."

4 When it came to pass that he fell in trying to win independence for the Greeks who were living in the region of Thrace, the committee which was sent to Sparta waited upon his mother Argileonis. Her first question was whether Brasidas had come to his end honourably; and when the Thracians spoke of him in the highest terms, and said that there was no other like him, she said, "You have no knowledge of that, sirs, being from abroad; for Brasidas was  p315 eindeed a good man, but Sparta has many better than he was."76


Damonidas, being assigned to the last place in the chorus by the director, exclaimed, "Good! You have discovered, sir, how this place which is without honour may be made a place of honour."77


Damis, with reference to the instructions sent from Alexander that they should pass a formal vote deifying him, said, "We concede to Alexander that, if he so wishes, he may be called a god."78


fWhen Philip invaded the Peloponnesus, and someone said, "There is danger that the Spartans may meet a dire fate if they do not make terms with the invader," Damindas exclaimed, "You poor womanish thing! What dire fate could be ours if we have no fear of death?"


Dercylidas, when Pyrrhus had his army near Sparta,79 was sent to him as ambassador; and when Pyrrhus stated that they must receive their king Cleonymus, or they would find out that they were no braver than any of the rest, Dercylidas interrupted to say, "If this man is a god, we do not fear him, for we are guilty of no wrong; but if he is a man, he is surely not superior to us."

 p317  Demaratus80

1 Demaratus, when Orontes had talked to him rather haughtily and someone remarked, 220"Orontes has treated you haughtily, Demaratus," said, "He has committed no fault against me; for it is those who talk to please that do harm, not those who talk with hatred at heart."

2 When someone asked why they visited disgrace upon those among them who lost their shields, but did not do the same thing to those who lost their helmets or their breastplates, he said, "Because these they put on for their own sake, but the shield for the common good of the whole line."

3 As he was listening to a musician, he said, "He seems to do his silly task fairly well."81

4 In a council meeting he was asked whether it was due to foolishness or lack of words that he said nothing. b"But a fool," said he, "would not be able to hold his tongue."82

5 When someone inquired why he was an exile from Sparta, being a king, he said, "Because her laws are more powerful than I am."

6 When one of the Persians, by unremitting bribery, had got away from him his beloved youth, and said to him, "Ho, Spartan, I have captivated your beloved," he said, "Not you, I swear, but you have bought and paid for him!"

7 When one of the Persians deserted from the king and was persuaded by Demaratus to change  p319 his mind and return, and the king was going to have him put to death, Demaratus said: "For shame, your Majesty! To think that when this man was your enemy you could not punish him for his desertion cbut now that he has become your friend, you would put him to death!"

8 In answer to a man who was a parasite of the king and often jeered at him over his exile, he said, "I have no quarrel with you, my friend; for I have squandered my position in life."


Ecprepes, an Ephor, cut out with an adze two of the nine strings of Phrynis the musician, saying, "Do not murder music."83


Epaenetus said that liars are to blame for all sins and crimes.


Euboedas, on hearing some men praising the wife of another man, could not stomach it, saying, "In regard to a woman's endowments there should be absolutely no talk among those outside the family."84

Eudamidas, son of Archidamus85

1 Eudamidas, the son of Archidamus and the brother of Agis, seeing Xenocrates in the Academy,  p321 already well on in years, discussing philosophy with his acquaintances, inquired who the old man was. Somebody said that he was a wise man and one of the seekers after virtue. "And when will he use it," said Eudamidas, "if he is only now seeking for it?"86a

e2 Hearing a philosopher discoursing to the effect that the wise man is the only good general, he said, "The speech is admirable, but the speaker is not to be trusted; for he has never been amid the blare of trumpets."86b

3 Xenocrates had been expounding his theme, and had just reached the stopping-point when Eudamidas arrived. One of the persons with him remarked, "Just when we arrive he comes to the stopping-point." "Quite properly so," said Eudamidas, "if he has already said all he wanted to say." "It would have been nice to hear him," said the other. "Indeed," said Eudamidas, "and if we came to a man who had just dined, should we insist that he eat another dinner?"

4 Someone inquired why, when the citizens professed to be all for war against the Macedonians, fhe himself decided in favour of keeping the peace. He replied, "Because I do not need to prove that they are lying."

5 When another man brought up their brave successes against the Persians, and was urgent for the war, Eudamidas said, "You do not seem to realize that your proposition is the same as fighting fifty wolves after overcoming a thousand sheep!"

6 When a certain musician made a great hit, they asked Eudamidas what he thought of the man, and he replied, "He has great power to charm in a trifling matter."

 p323  7 When someone praised Athens, he said "And who could praise that city deservedly, towards which nobody has ever felt any affection for having been made a better man by it?"

8 When a man from Argos said that the Spartans became more unscrupulous on going abroad and being out of the control of their long-established laws,87 he said, 221"But you, when you come to Sparta, do not become worse, but better."

9 When Alexander caused proclamation to be made at Olympia that all exiles might return to their own land,88 save only the Thebans, Eudamidas said, "The proclamation for you, men of Thebes, is unfortunate, but very complimentary; for it is you only that Alexander fears."

10 Being asked for what purpose they offered sacrifice to the Muses before hazardous ventures, he said, "So that our deeds may find good words."89

Eurycratidas, son of Anaxandridas90

bEurycratidas, the son of Anaxandridas, when someone inquired why the Ephors try cases involving contracts91 each day, said "So that also amid our enemies we may trust one another."


1 When someone inquired why they kept the laws in regard to bravery unwritten, and did not have  p325 them written down and thus give them to the young men to read, Zeuxidamus said, c"Because the young ought to accustom themselves to deeds of manly valour, a better thing than to apply their mind to writings."

2 When a certain Aetolian asserted that, for those who are able to play the part of real men, war is better than peace, Zeuxidamus said, "By Heaven, no; but for such men death is better than life."


Herondas was at Athens when a man there was found guilty on a charge of not having any occupation,93 and when he heard of this, he bade them point out to him the man who had been convicted of the freeman's crime!94


Thearidas, as he was whetting his sword, was asked if it was sharp, and he replied, "Sharper than slander."


Themisteas foretold to Leonidas, the king, the coming destruction dboth of himself and of his fellow-soldiers at Thermopylae, for he was a prophet. He was sent away by Leonidas to Sparta, on the pretext of announcing there what would come to pass, but in reality so that he should not suffer death with the rest. He, however, would not brook this, but said, "I was sent out to fight, not to carry messages."95

 p327  Theopompus96

1 Theopompus, in answer to a man who asked how anyone could keep a kingdom most securely, said, "If he concede to his friends their just share of frank speech, and, so far as lies in his power, do not suffer any of his subjects to be wronged."

2 In answer to a man from abroad who said that among his own citizens he was called a lover of Sparta, he said, e"It would be better to be called a lover of your own country than a lover of Sparta."

3 When the ambassador from Elis said that his citizens had sent him for the especial reason that he alone emulated the Spartan way of living, Theopompus said, "Is your way of living or that of the other citizens better?" And when the man said that his own was, Theopompus said, "How, then, can that State be saved in which, among many citizens, only one is a good man?"

4 When someone said that Sparta was saved through its kings, because they were competent to rule, he said, "Not so, but through its citizens, because they are obedient to the rulers."97

f5 º When the people of Pylos voted him some unusually high honours, he wrote in reply that time increases modest honours, but obliterates those that are extravagant.

6 When someone pointed out to him a wall, and inquired if it was strong and high, he said, "Is it not a place where women live?"98

 p329  Thorycion

Thorycion, arriving from Delphi and seeing in the Isthmus the forces of Philip, who had already gained possession of the narrow entrance, said, "The Peloponnesus has poor gate-keepers in you, men of Corinth!"


Thectamenes, when the Ephors condemned him to death, went away smiling. Someone among the bystanders asked him if he felt such contempt for the laws of Sparta. "No," said he, "but I rejoice to think that I must pay this penalty myself without begging or borrowing anything from anybody."99


222Hippodamus, when Agis was taking his place on the field of battle beside Archidamus, was sent with Agis to Sparta to render his services there. "But look you," said he, "I shall meet no more honourable death than in playing the part of a brave man for Sparta's sake." (He was over eighty years old.) And thereupon, seizing his arms and taking his stand at the king's right hand, he fell fighting.


1 This is the answer of Hippocratidas to the governor of Caria who wrote a letter to him because  p331 ba man from Sparta had been privy to the plot of certain conspirators, and had said nothing about it; and the governor added a line, asking how he should deal with him. Hippocratidas wrote in reply: "If you have done him any great favour, put him to death; but if not, expel him from your country, for he is a poltroon so far as any virtue is concerned."

2 When a youth with a lover in attendance met him one day, and turned colour, he said, "You ought to walk with persons such that when you are seen with them you shall keep the same complexion."


1 Callicratidas, an admiral, when Lysander's friends made him a fair offer that he permit them to make away with one of their enemies and receive ten thousand pounds, calthough he was in sore need of money for rations for his sailors, would not consent. Cleander, who was a member of his council, said, "But I would take it, if I were you." "And so would I," said Callicratidas, "if I were you!"103

2 When he came to Cyrus the Younger at Sardis (who was allied with the Spartans) to get money for his fleet, on the first day he bade them send in word that he wished to have an audience with Cyrus. But when he was told that Cyrus was busy drinking, he said, "I will wait till he has finished drinking." dAnd at that time he withdrew, when he realized that it was not possible to meet Cyrus on that day, thus creating the impression that he was somewhat lacking in manners. On the succeeding day, when he was again told that Cyrus was drinking and would not come forth, he said, "We must not be so eager to  p333 get money as to do anything unworthy of Sparta," and withdrew to Ephesus, invoking many evil curses on those who were first wantonly treated by the barbarians and had taught the barbarians to be arrogant because of wealth. And he swore to the persons present that, just so soon as he should arrive at Sparta, he would do everything to bring about a reconciliation among the Greeks, that they might become more formidable to the barbarians, and cease begging them efor their resources to use against one another.104

3 Being asked what kind of men the Ionians were, he said, "Poor freemen, but good slaves."105

4 When Cyrus sent on money to pay the soldiers, and special presents for himself as a token of friendship, he took the money only and sent back the presents, saying that there was no need of any private friendship between him and Cyrus, but the general friendship which had been contracted with all the Spartans would also serve for him.106

5 As he was about to engage in the naval battle at Arginusae, Hermon the pilot said that it would be well to sail away, ffor the ships of the Athenians were many more in number; but Callicratidas said, "And what of that? To flee is a disgrace and an injury to Sparta. No; to stay here, be it death or be it victory, is best."107

6 As he offered sacrifice before the battle, and heard from the seer that the indications of the omens were victory for the army, but death for its commander, he said, not at all disconcerted, "Sparta's  p335 fate rests not with one man. For, if I am killed, my country will not be impaired in any way; but if I yield to the enemy, it will be."108 And so, after appointing Cleander to take his place as commander, he put forth without delay for the naval engagement, and met his death in the battle.

Cleombrotus, son of Pausanias109

2231 Cleombrotus, the son of Pausanias, when a man from abroad was disputing with Cleombrotus's father about excellence, said, "My father is a better man than you — until you too have become a father."110

Cleomenes, son of Anaxandridas111

1 Cleomenes, the son of Anaxandridas, said that Homer was the poet of the Spartans, and Hesiod of the Helots; for Homer had given the necessary directions for fighting, and Hesiod for farming.112

2 Having made an armistice of seven days with the Argives, he kept a watch on them, and on the third night, when they were sleeping because of their reliance on the truce, he attacked them, and slew some and took the others prisoners.113 b3 When he was reproached for his violation of the oath, he said that he had not included the nights as well as the days in his plighted word; and anyway, whatever ill one can do to one's enemies is regarded, among both gods and men, as something vastly higher than justice.114

 p337  4 It was his fortune to be repulsed from Argos, to gain which he had violated the truce, owing to the women's taking down the weapons in the shrines and defending themselves against him with these.115 Later he went out of his mind, cand, getting hold of a small dagger, he slashed himself, beginning with his ankles until he reached the vital parts, and thus departed this life laughing and grinning.116

5 The seer tried to dissuade him from leading his army against the city of the Argives, for the return, he said, would be made in disgrace. But when Cleomenes had advanced near the city, and saw the gates closed and the women upon the walls, he said, "Does it seem to you that the return from here can be made in disgrace, where, since the men are dead, the women have barred the gates?"

6 In answer to those of the Argives who upbraided him as an impious perjurer, he said, "You have the power to speak ill of me, but I have the power to do ill to you."

d7 To the ambassadors from Samos who urged him to make war upon the despot Polycrates, and for this reason spoke at great length, he said, "What you said at the beginning I do not remember; for that reason I do not comprehend the middle part; and the conclusion I do not approve."117

8 A certain pirate overran the country, and, when he was captured, said, "I had not the means to provide subsistence for my soldiers; therefore, to  p339 those who had it, but would not willingly give it, I came with the purpose of taking it by force." To this Cleomenes said, "Villainy is curt."

9 When a certain low fellow spoke ill of him, he said, "So it is for this reason, is it, that you speak ill of everyone, that we, busied in defending ourselves, may not have time to speak of your baseness?"

e10 When one of the citizens said that the good king ought to be mild at all times and in every way, he remarked, "Yes, but not to the extent of being despised."

11 When he was afflicted with a lingering illness, and began to give attention to mind-healers and seers, to whom formerly he had given no attention, someone expressed surprise. "Why are you surprised?" said he; "for I am not now the same man that I was, and, not being the same man, I do not approve the same things."118

f12 When a public lecturer spoke at considerable length about bravery, he burst out laughing and when the man said, "Why do you laugh, Cleomenes, at hearing a man speak about bravery, and that, too, when you are a king?" "Because, my friend," he said, "if it had been a swallow speaking about it, I should have done the same thing, but if it had been an eagle, I should have kept very quiet."

13 When the people of Argos asserted that they would wipe out their former defeat119 by fighting again, he said, "I wonder if by the addition of a word of two syllables120 you have now become more powerful than you were before!"

14 When someone upbraided him, saying, "You are inclined to luxury, Cleomenes," he said, "Well,  p341 that is better than being unjust. And you are avaricious though you possess property enough."

15 When someone, wishing to introduce a musician to him, 224said, in addition to other commendations, that the man was the best musician among the Greeks, Cleomenes pointed to one of the persons near, and said, "Yonder man, I swear, ranks with me as the best soup-maker."121

16 Maeandrius, the despot of Samos, because of the inroad of the Persians, fled to Sparta, and exhibited all the gold and silver vessels which he had brought with him, and offered to favour Cleomenes with as many as he wished; but he would have none, and taking good care that the man should not distribute any among the rest of the citizens, he went to the Ephors and said that it was better for Sparta that his own friend and guest from Samos should withdraw from the Peloponnesus, so that he should not persuade anyone of the Spartans to become a bad man. bAnd they listened to his advice and proclaimed the expulsion of Maeandrius that very day.122

17 When someone said, "Why have you not killed off the people of Argos who wage war against you so often?" he said, "Oh, we would not kill them off, for we want to have some trainers for our young men."

18 When somebody inquired of him why Spartans do not dedicate to the gods the spoils from their enemies, he said, "Because they are taken from cowards."123

 p343  Cleomenes, son of Cleombrotus

cCleomenes, the son of Cleombrotus, when someone offered him fighting cocks and said that they would die fighting for victory, said, "Well then, give me some of those that kill them, for those are better than these."124


Labotas, when someone spoke at very great length, said, "Why, pray, such a big introduction to a small subject? For proportionate to the topic should be the words you use."126


1 Leotychidas the First, when somebody remarked to him that he was very changeable, said, d"Yes, because of varying occasion; not like all you because of your baseness."

2 In answer to the man who asked how any man could best preserve his present state of good fortune, he said, "By not trusting everything to chance."

3 Being asked what freeborn boys had best learn, he said, "Those things which may help them when they become men."128

4 When someone inquired for what reason the Spartans drank so little, he said "So that others may not deliberate over us, but we over others."

 p345  Leotychidas, son of Ariston129

1 Leotychidas, the son of Ariston, in answer to a man who said that the sons of Demaratus were speaking ill of him, remarked, e"Egad, I don't wonder; for not one of them could ever speak a good word."130

2 When at the adjacent gate a snake had coiled around the key, and the soothsayers declared this to be a prodigy, he said, "It doesn't seem so to me, but if the key had coiled around the snake, that would be a prodigy!"131

3 This is his retort to Philip, the priest of the Orphic mysteries, who was in the direst straits of poverty, but used to assert that those who were initiated under his rites were happy after the conclusion of this life; to him Leotychidas said, "You idiot! Why then don't you die as speedily as possible fso that you may with that cease from bewailing your unhappiness and poverty?"132

4 When someone inquired why they did not dedicate to the gods the arms taken from the enemy, he said that property wrested from its owners owing to cowardice it is not good either for the young men to see, or to dedicate to the gods.133

Leo, son of Eurycratidas134

1 When Leo, the son of Eurycratidas, was asked what kind of a city one could live in so as to live most safely, he said, "Where the inhabitants shall possess neither too much nor too little, and where right shall be strong and wrong shall be weak."

 p347  2 Seeing that the runners at Olympia were eager to gain some advantage in starting, he said, "How much more eager are the runners for a quick start than for fair play!"

3 When someone, at an inappropriate time, discoursed about some matters which were not unprofitable, he said, "My friend, in needless time you dwell upon the need!"135

Leonidas, son of Anaxandridas136

1 Leonidas, the son of Anaxandridas and the brother of Cleomenes, in answer to a man who remarked, 225"Except for your being king, you are no different from the rest of us," said, "But if I were no better than you others, I should not be king."

2 His wife Gorgo inquired, at the time when he was setting forth to Thermopylae to fight the Persian, if he had any instructions to give her, and he said, "To marry good men and bear good children."137

3 When the Ephors said that he was taking but few men to Thermopylae, he said, "Too many for the enterprise on which we going."138

4 And when again they said, "Hae ye decided to dae aught else save to keep the barbarians from gettin' by?" "Nominally that," he said, "but actually expecting to die for the Greeks."

b5 When he had arrived at Thermopylae he said to his comrades in arms, "They say that the barbarian  p349 has come near and is comin' on while we are wastin' time. Truth, soon we shall either kill the barbarians, or else we are bound to be killed oursel's."

6 When someone said, "Because of the arrows of the barbarians it is impossible to see the sun," he said, "Won't it be nice, then, if we shall have shade in which to fight them?"139

7 When someone else said, "They are near to us," he said, "Then we also are near to them."140

8 When someone said, "Leonidas, are you here to take such a hazardous risk with so few men against so many?" he said, "If you men think that I rely on numbers, then all Greece is not sufficient, cfor it is but a small fraction of their numbers; but if on men's valour, then this number will do."

9 When another man remarked the same thing he said, "In truth I am taking many if they are all to be slain."141

10 Xerxes wrote to him, "It is possible for you, by not fighting against God but by ranging yourself on my side, to be the sole ruler of Greece." But he wrote in reply, "If you had any knowledge of the noble things of life, you would refrain from coveting others' possessions; but for me to die for Greece is better than to be the sole ruler over the people of my race."

11 When Xerxes wrote again, "Hand over your arms," dhe wrote in reply, "Come and take them."

 p351  12 He wished to engage the enemy at once, but the other commanders, in answer to his proposal, said that he must wait for the rest of the allies. "Why," said he, "are not all present who intend to fight?142 Or do you not realize that the only men who fight against the enemy are those who respect and revere their kings?"

13 He bade his soldiers eat their breakfast as if they were to eat their dinner in the other world.143

14 Being asked why the best of men prefer a glorious death to an inglorious life, he said, "Because they believe the one to be Nature's gift but the other to be within their own control."

e15 Wishing to save the lives of the young men, and knowing full well that they would not submit to such treatment, he gave to each of them a secret dispatch,144 and sent them to the Ephors. He conceived the desire to save also three of the grown men, but they fathomed his design, and would not submit to accepting the dispatches.145 One of them said, "I came with the army, not to carry messages, but to fight;" and the second, "I should be a better man if I stayed here"; and the third, "I will not be behind these, but first in the fight."


Lochagus, the father of Polyaenides and Seiron, when word was brought to him that one of his sons was dead, said, "I have known this long while that fhe was fated to die."

226a‑229a pp353‑371 Lycurgus:
see separate page

 p371  Lysander

1 When Dionysius, the despot of Sicily, sent costly garments for Lysander's daughters, he would not accept them, saying that he was afraid that because of them his daughters would appear ugly rather than beautiful.146 But a little later, when he was sent as ambassador to the same despot from the same State, Dionysius sent to him two robes and bade him choose whichever one of them he would, and take it to his daughter; but Lysander said that  p373 she herself would make a better choice, and, taking them both, he departed.

2 Lysander, who was a clever quibbler, and given to employing cunning deceptions to further most of his designs, counted justice as mere expediency, and honour as that which is advantageous. He said that the truth is better than falsehood, bbut that the worth and value of either is determined by the use to which it is put.147

3 In answer to those who blamed him because his carrying out most of his designs through deception, which they said was unworthy of Heracles,148 and gaining his successes by wile in no straightforward way, he said laughing that where he could not get on with the lion's skin it must be pieced out with the skin of the fox.149

4 When others censured him for his violation of his oaths which he had made in Miletus he said that one must trick children with knuckle-bones, but men with oaths.150

5 He conquered the Athenians by a ruse at Aegospotami, and by pressing them hard through famine he forced them to surrender their city, whereupon he wrote to the Ephors, "Athens is taken."151

c6 In answer to the Argives, who were disputing with the Spartans in regard to the boundaries of their land and said that they had the better of the case,  p375 he drew his sword and said, "He who is master of this talks best about boundaries of land."152

7 Seeing that the Boeotians were wavering at the time when he was about to pass through their country he sent to them to inquire whether he should march through their land with spears at rest or ready for action.153

8 When a Megarian in the common council used plain words to him, he said, "My friend, your words need a city to back them."154

d9 When the Corinthians had revolted and he was going through their country along by the walls and saw that the Spartans were reluctant to attack, a hare was seen leaping across a ditch, whereupon he said, "Are you not ashamed, men of Sparta, to be afraid of such enemies as these, who are so slack that hares sleep in the walls of their city?"155

10 As he was consulting the oracle in Samothrace, the priest bade him tell what was the most lawless deed that had ever been committed by him in his lifetime. Lysander asked, "Must I do this at your command or at the command of the gods?" When the priest said, "At the command of the gods," Lysander said, "Then do you take yourself out of my way, and I will tell them in case they inquire."156

e11 When a Persian asked what kind of government he commended most highly, he said, "The government which duly awards what is fitting to both the brave and the cowardly."

12 In answer to a man who said that he commended him and was very fond of him, he said "I have two oxen in a field, and although they  p377 both may utter no sound, I know perfectly well which one is lazy and which one is the worker."

13 When someone was reviling him, he said, "Talk right on, you miserable foreigner, talk, and don't leave out anything if thus you may be able to empty your soul of the vicious notions with which you seem to be filled."

f14 Some time after his death, when a dispute arose regarding a certain alliance, Agesilaus came to Lysander's house to examine the documents in regard to this, for Lysander had kept these at his own house. Agesilaus found also a book written by Lysander in regard to the government, to this effect: that the citizens should take away the kingship from the Eurypontids and the Agiads157 and put it up for election, and make their choice from the best men, so that this high honour should belong not to those who were descended from Heracles, but to men like Heracles, who should be selected for their excellence; for it was because of such excellence that Heracles was exalted to divine honours. This document Agesilaus was bent upon publishing to the citizens, and demonstrating what kind of a citizen Lysander had been in secret, and with the purpose also of discrediting the friends of Lysander. But they say that Cratidas, who at that time was at the head of the Ephors, anxious lest, if the speech should be read, it might convert the people to this way of thinking, restrained Agesilaus and said that he ought not to disinter Lysander, 230but to inter the speech along with him, since it was composed with a vicious purpose and in a plausible vein.158

 p379  15 The suitors of his daughters, when after his death he was found to be a poor man, renounced their obligations; but the Ephors punished them because when they thought he was rich they courted his favour, but when they found from his poverty that he was just and honest they disdained him.159


Namertes was sent as an ambassador, and when one of the people in that country congratulated him because he had many friends, he asked bif this man had any sure means of testing the man of many friends; and when the other desired to learn, Namertes said, "By means of misfortune."160


1 Nicander, when someone said that the Argives were speaking ill of him, said, "Well then, they are paying the penalty for speaking ill of the good!"162

2 When someone inquired why the Spartans wore their hair long and cultivated beards, he said, "Because for a man his own adornment is the very beside and cheapest."163

3 When one of the Athenians said, "Nicander, you Spartans insist too much on your principle of doing no work," he said, "Quite true; we do not make work of this thing or that thing in your haphazard fashion."164

 p381  cPanthoedas165

1 Panthoedas went on embassy to Asia and when they pointed out to him a very strong wall he said, "By Heaven, strangers, fine quarters for women!"166

2 When the philosophers in the Academy were conversing long and seriously, and afterwards some people asked Panthoidasº how their conversation impressed him, he said, "What else than serious? But there is no good in it unless you put it to use."167

Pausanias,168 the son of Cleombrotus

1 Pausanias, son of Cleombrotus, at the time when the people of Delos were asserting their rightful claims to the island against the Athenians, and said that according to the law169 which prevailed among them dthere were no births and no burials in the island, said, "How can this be your native land in which no one of you has ever been born nor shall ever be hereafter?"170

2 When the exiles were inciting him to lead his army against the Athenians, and saying that, when his name was proclaimed at Olympia, they were the only people who hissed him, he said, "What do you think that those who hissed when they were being well treated will do if they are treated ill?"171

3 When someone inquired why the Spartans had  p383 made Tyrtaeus the poet a citizen, he said, "So a stranger shall never appear as our leader."172

e4 In answer to the man who was weak in body, but was urging that they risk a battle against the enemy by both land and sea, he said, "Are you willing to strip yourself and show what kind of man you are — you who advise us to fight?"

5 When some people were amazed at the costliness of the raiment found among the spoils of the barbarians, he said that it would have been better for them to be themselves men of worth than to possess things of worth.173

6 After the victory at Plataea over the Persians he ordered that the dinner which had been prepared for the Persians should be served to himself and his officers. As this had a wondrous sumptuousness, he said, f"By Heaven, the Persian was a greedy fellow who, when he had all this, came after our barley-cake."174

Pausanias, the son of Pleistoanax175

1 Pausanias, the son of Pleistoanax, in answer to the question why it was not permitted to change any of the ancient laws in their country, said, "Because the laws ought to have authority over the men, and not the men over the laws."

2 When, in Tegea, after he had been exiled,176 he commended the Spartans, someone said, "Why did you not stay in Sparta instead of going into exile?" And he said, "Because physicians, too, are wont to spend their time, not among the healthy, but where the sick are."177

 p385  3 When someone inquired of him how they could become able to conquer the Thracians, he said, "If we should make the best man our general."

2314 When a physician paid him a visit and said, "You have nothing wrong with you," he said, "No, for I do not employ you as my physician."

5 When one of his friends blamed him because he spoke ill of a certain physician, although he had never had anything to do with him, and had not suffered any harm at his hands, he said, "Because if I had ever had anything to do with him I should not now be alive."

6 When the physician said to him, "You have lived to be an old man," he said, "That is because I never employed you as my physician."

7 He said that the best physician was the man who did not allow his patients to rot, but buried them quickly.


b1 Paedaretus, when someone said that the enemy were many in number, remarked, "Then we shall be the more famous, for we shall kill more men."

2 Seeing a certain man who was effeminate by nature, but was commended by the citizens for his moderation, he said, "People should not praise men who are like to women nor women who are like to men, unless some necessity overtake the woman."

3 When he was not chosen as one of the three hundred,179 which was rated as the highest honour in the State, he went away cheerful and smiling; but when the Ephors called him back, and asked why he was laughing, he said, "Because I congratulate  p387 the State cfor having three hundred citizens better than myself."180


1 Pleistarchus the son of Leonidas, in answer to one who asked him for what reason they did not take their titles from the names of the first kings, said, "Because the first kings needed to be absolute monarchs, but those who followed them had no such need."182

2 When a certain advocate kept making jests, he said, "You had better be on your guard, my friend, against jesting all the time, lest you become a jest yourself, just as those who wrestle all the time become wrestlers."

3 In retort to the man who imitated a nightingale, he said, "My friend, I have had more pleasure in hearing the nightingale itself."183

d4 When someone said that a certain evil-speaker was commending him, he said, "I wonder whether possibly someone may not have told him that I was dead; for the man can never say a good word of anybody who is alive."184


Pleistoanax, the son of Pausanias, when an Attic orator called the Spartans unlearned, said, "You are  p389 quite right, for we alone of the Greeks have learned no evil from you."186


1 Polydorus, the son of Alcamenes, when a certain man was continually making threats against his enemies, said, "Don't you see that you are using up the best part of your vengeance?"

e2 As he was leading out his army to Messene, someone asked him if he was going to fight against his brothers. He said that he was not, but was merely proceeding to the unassigned portion of the land.

3 The Argives, after the battle of the three hundred,188 were again overcome, with all their forces, in a set battle, and the allies urged Polydorus not to let slip the opportunity, but to make a descent upon the enemy's wall and capture their city; for this, they said, would be very easy, since the men had been destroyed and the women only were left. He said in answer to them, "To my mind it is not honourable, when fighting on even terms, to conquer our opponents, but, after having fought to settle the boundaries of the country, to desire to capture the city I do not regard as just; ffor I came to recapture territory and not to capture a city."

4 Being asked why the Spartans risked their lives so bravely in war, he said, "Because they have learned to respect their commanders and not to fear them."189

 p391  Polycratidas

Polycratidas was sent, along with others, as ambassador to the king's generals, and when these asked whether they were there as private citizens or had been sent as public representatives, he said, "If we succeed, public; if not, private."190


Phoebidas, before the hazardous engagement at Leuctra, when some remarked that this day would show the brave man, said that the day was worth much if it had the power to show the brave man.


232The story is told that Soüs being besieged by the Cleitorians in a rugged and waterless stronghold, agreed to give up to them the land which he had captured by the spear if all the men with him should drink from the neighbouring spring. This spring the enemy were guarding. When the oaths had been exchanged, he got together his men and offered the kingdom to the man who would not drink; however no one had the strength to resist, but they all drank; whereupon he came down after all the rest, and sprinkled himself, the enemy still being present, and went back and took possession of the land on the ground that he had not drunk.193

 p393  Teleclus194

b1 Teleclus, in answer to the man who said that Teleclus's father was speaking ill of him, said, "If he had had no cause to speak, he would not have spoken."

2 When his brother said to him that the citizens did not comport themselves toward himself as they did toward the king (although he was of the same family), but with much less consideration, he said, "The reason is, you do not know how to submit to injustice, and I do."195

3 Being asked why it was the custom among them for the younger men to rise up and give place to the elder, he said, "So that, having this attitude regarding honour toward those who are not related to them, they may pay greater honour to their parents."196

4 When someone inquired how much property he possessed, he said, "Not more than enough."


1 Charillus, being asked why Lycurgus made so few laws, said, c"Because those who use few words have need of but few laws."198

2 When someone inquired why they took their girls into public places unveiled, but their married women veiled, he said, "Because the girls have to find husbands, and the married women have to keep to those who have them!"

 p395  3 When one of the Helots conducted himself rather boldly toward him, he said, "If I were not angry, I would kill you."199

4 When someone asked him what he thought to be the best form of government, he said, "That in which the greatest number of citizens are willing, without civil strife, to vie with one another in virtue."200

d5 When someone inquired why all the statues of the gods erected among them were equipped with weapons,201 he said, "So that we may not put upon the gods the reproaches which are spoken against men because of their cowardice, and so that the young men may not pray to the gods unarmed."

6 In answer to the man who inquired why they wore their hair long, he said, "Because this is the natural and inexpensive form of ornament."202

232e‑236e pp395‑421 Various Sayings of Spartans to Fame Unknown:
see separate page

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 One of the early kings of Sparta.

2 Cf. Homer, Od. II.47.

3 Agesipolis II, king of Sparta, 371‑370 B.C.

4 Cf. Moralia, 40E and 458B.

5 King of Sparta, 394‑380 B.C.

6 Agis II, king of Sparta, 427‑401 B.C. Some of the sayings attributed to him here should doubtless be assigned to the younger Agis (Agis III).

7 See the note on Moralia, 191E (2), supra, where the saying is attributed to the younger Agis.

8 Cf. the note on 212C (51), supra.

9 Cf. the note on 190C (1), supra.

10 Cf. the note on 190C (2), supra.

11 Cf. the note on 190D (5), supra.

12 Cf. the note on 190A, supra.

13 Cf. Moralia, 232E (2), infra.

14 Cf. the note on 190C (3), supra.

15 The Spartans had two kings and consequently two royal families.

16 This was a part of the tactics of Agesilaus according to Polyaenus, Strategemata, II.1.4. Cf. Xenophon, Hellenica, IV.2.22 and IV.3.19.

17 The same idea which is expressed in Moralia, 212E (56), supra.

18 This remark must have been made by the younger Agis (Agis III).

19 Cf. Moralia, 232E (2), infra.

20 This remark also must be assigned to the younger Agis. Cf. Moralia, 233F (29), infra, and 511A, where an unnamed Spartan makes this retort to Demetrius.

21 The latter part of this has been suspected on account of the length. For the sentiment cf. Homer, Od. 276‑277; Hor. Odes, III.6.46; Aratus, Phaenomena, 123‑127.

22 Cf. Moralia, 210F (35), supra.

23 Agis III, king of Sparta, 338‑331 B.C.

24 Cf. the note on 191E (1).

25 Cf. the note on 190D (4).

26 Agis IV, king of Sparta, 245‑241 B.C.

27 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Agis, chaps. xix‑xx (p. 803C).

28 Son of Cleomenes II. He died before his father, and so never became king.

29 Cf. a similar remark of Agesilaus, Moralia, 534D.

30 King of Sparta, 779‑742 B.C. (the date is uncertain).

31 King of Sparta, circa 560‑520 B.C.

32 Attributed to Leo, the father of Anaxandridas, in Moralia, 224F (3), and to Leonidas, the son of Anaxandridas, in Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. xx (52B).

33 For the fact cf. Plato, Apology, chap. xxvii (37A); Thucydides, I.132.

34 King of Sparta in the earlier part of the seventh century B.C.

35 Son of Archidamus, perhaps one of the arbiters between Athens and Megara over Salamis, seventh century B.C.

36 Cf. Xenophon, Constitution of Sparta, 15.6; and Nicolaus quoted by Stobaeus, Florilegium, XLIV.41 ad fin.

37 Possibly the opponent of Lysander, mentioned in Plutarch's Life of Lysander, chap. viii (437C).

38 Cf. the note on Moralia, 210F (34), supra.

39 See the note on Moralia, 192B, supra.

40 The same story is told of Lysander in Moralia, 229D (1), infra, and of an unknown Spartan in Moralia, 236D (68), infra.

41 Cf. the note on Moralia, 192B (1), supra.

42 Cf. the note on Moralia, 192C (2), supra.

43 Cf. Moralia, 213C (65), supra.

44 Cf. the note on Moralia, 192C (3), supra.

45 Cf. the note on Moralia, 189F (5), supra.

46 Cf. the notes on Moralia, 210E (28, 29, 30), supra.

47 Cf. the note on Moralia, 191E, supra.

48 Repeated in Moralia, 192B, supra.

49 Areus I, king of Sparta, 309‑265 B.C.

50 Cf. Moralia, 220D and 242E, infra; Thucydides, II.45.

51 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. xx (52E).

52 King of Sparta, circa 560‑510 B.C.

53 But not quite in these words cf. Plato, Republic, I chap. ix (335B ff.), Crito, chap. x (49A ff.), Gorgias, 469A‑B and 475B‑D.

54 A similar remark is attributed to Cleobulus by Diogenes Laertius, I.91.

55 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190D (5), supra.

56 Perhaps the remark of another man named Ariston who lived later.

57 Cf. Moralia, 55E and 537D.

58 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. xx (52C).

59 Archidamus II, king of Sparta, 469‑427 B.C.

60 Cf. Moralia, 223F, infra (15), where the saying is attributed to Cleomenes.

61 See Moralia, 240D (2), infra, which makes the meaning of this passage quite clear.

62 A similar remark is attributed to Lysander in Moralia, 190E, supra, and 229D, infra.

63 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190D (1), supra.

64 Archidamus III, king of Sparta, 361‑338 B.C.

65 Cf. the note on Moralia, 210E (28), supra.

66 The policy of Demosthenes (e.g. Olynthiac i. ad fin.).

67 The "tearless battle" in 368 B.C. described by Xenophon, Hellenica, VII.1.28‑32. Cf. Plutarch's Life of Agesilaus, chap. xxxiii (614E).

68 The saying is attributed to Periander by Diogenes Laertius, I.97.

69 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190A, supra. The saying plainly belongs to Archidamus II (218C, supra), who lived at the time of the Peloponnesian war. See Plutarch's Life of Cleomenes, chap. xxvii (817E).

70 Cf. Moralia, 191D, supra.

71 Either Antipater (Wyttenbach's certain emendation) or Antigonus (MSS.) is too late for Archidamus III, who died in 338 B.C.

72 It seems almost certain that this anecdote is the same as that told of Anaxibius by Xenophon, Hellenica, IV.8.32‑39, but if so, the name is out of alphabetical order, and the mistake must be ancient.

73 See the note on Moralia, 190B, supra.

74 Ibid. (1).

75 Ibid. (2).

76 See the note on Moralia, 190B (3), supra.

77 See the note on Moralia, 191F, supra.

78 Cf. Aelian, Varia Historia, II.19.

79 In 272 B.C.

80 King of Sparta circa 510 until 491 B.C., when he was deposed and went to Persia. In 490 B.C. he accompanied Xerxes in his invasion of Greece.

81 Cf. the similar remarks in Moralia, 220F (6) and 234D (42), infra.

82 Cf. the similar remark of Bias in Moralia, 503F, and of Solon in Stobaeus, Florilegium, XXXIV.15.

83 The story is repeated in Plutarch's Life of Agis, chap. x (799F), and with variations in Moralia, 84A, 238C (infra); Athenaeus 636E; Boethius, De Musica, I.1.

Thayer's Note: See other variations in Cic. de Leg. II.15 (39) and Dio Chrysostom, Or. 32.67, 33.57.

84 Cf. the note on Moralia, 217F, supra.

85 Eudamidas I, king of Sparta, 330‑300 (?) B.C.

86a 86b Cf. the note on Moralia, 192A, supra.

87 "Lions at home, but foxes abroad" was proverbial. Cf. Plutarch's Comparison of Lysander and Sulla, chap. iii (476E).

88 In 323 B.C. Cf. Diodorus, XVIII.8.

89 Cf. Moralia, 238B, infra; Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. xxi (53D).

90 Presumably Eurycratidas, son of Anaxander, mentioned by Herodotus, VII.204, in the genealogy of Leonidas. He was king of Sparta in the first half of the sixth century B.C.

91 Cf. Aristotle, Politics, III.1.10 (1275B).

92 Presumably the son of Leotychidas II, king of Sparta (Moralia, 224E). He died before his father, and so never became king.

93 On the subject see Busolt, Griechische Staatskunde (Munich, 1926), p815.

94 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. xxiv (54E). The free population of Sparta did no labour.

95 A somewhat different version is to be found in Moralia, 866C. The original is in Herodotus, VII.221, where the seer's name is given as Megistias.

96 King of Sparta at the time of the first Messenian war, eighth (?) century B.C.

97 Cf. Moralia, 816E, and Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. xxx (58D).

98 Cf. the note on 190A, supra. This paragraph is not found in some MSS.

99 Cf. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, I.42 (100).

100 The attempt has been made to identify Hippodamus with the Hippodamus mentioned in Athenaeus, 452A and in Polyaenus, Strategemata, II.15, and, by emendation, to reconcile this passage with the time of Agis IV; but both Agis II and Agis III had fathers named Archidamus, and it is quite possible that the incident of sending away from danger the old man and the young heir to the throne took place as here narrated.

101 The name occurs in Herodotus, VIII.131, as one of the earlier kings of Sparta.

102 Upright and straightforward Spartan who commanded the Spartan fleet at the battle of Arginusae in 406 B.C. He was killed in the battle.

103 Cf. the reply of Alexander, Moralia, 180C (11).

104 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lysander, chap. vi (436C); Xenophon, Hellenica, I.6.6‑7.

105 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190F (1), supra.

106 Cf. Moralia, 213D (69), supra.

107 Cf. Xenophon, Hellenica, I.6.32; Cicero, De officiis, I.24 (84).

108 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Pelopidas, chap. ii (177D).

109 King of Sparta, 380‑371 B.C.

110 Cf. Moralia, 227F (14), infra, and Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. xv (48C).

111 King of Sparta, circa 517‑488 B.C.

112 Cf. Aelian, Varia Historia, XIII.19.

113 Cf. Cicero, De officiis, I.10 (33). Herodotus, VI.78‑79 (followed by other writers), relates that Cleomenes defeated the Argives by a different trick.

114 For the phrase cf. Euripides, Electra, 584; and Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag., Euripides, no. 758.

115 Cf. Moralia, 245D, infra; Pausanias, II.20.8; Polyaenus, VIII.33.

116 Cf. Herodotus, VI.75 and 84; Athenaeus, 427C; Aelian, Varia Historia, II.41. His madness was traditionally ascribed to over-indulgence in strong drink.

117 Cf. Herodotus, III.46, and the note on 216A (15), supra. The traditional date of the mission from Samos (525 B.C.) seems too early to fall within Cleomenes's reign, but the chronology is uncertain.

118 For a similar change in the attitude of Pericles and of Bion cf. Plutarch's Life of Pericles, chap. xxxviii (173A) and Diogenes Laertius, IV.54.

119 Presumably in the battle over Thyrea in 546 B.C. Cf. Herodotus, I.82, and the reference in Plato, Phaedo, 89C.

120 The word "again." They had lost in the previous fighting.

121 Cf. Moralia, 218C (3) supra, where the saying is attributed to Archidamus II.

122 The story is taken from Herodotus, III.148, in part word for word.

123 Cf. Moralia, 224F (4) infra.

124 Cf. the note on Moralia, 191F, supra.

125 An early king of Sparta.

126 Cf. the note on Moralia, 208C (3), supra.

127 King of Sparta in the seventh century B.C.

128 Cf. the note on Moralia, 213D (67), supra.

129 Doubtless the son of Menares, Leotychidas II, king of Sparta, circa 491‑469 B.C.

130 The same story is found in Diogenes Laertius, II.35 (of Socrates), and in Stobaeus, Florilegium, XIX.5 (of Plato).

131 The saying is attributed to the others also; cf. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, VIII.843 ed. Potter; or III.18, ed. Stahlin; Cicero, De divinatione, II.28 (62).

132 Cf. Diogenes Laertius, VI.4, where the remark is attributed to Antisthenes.

133 Cf. Moralia, 224B (18), supra.

134 King of Sparta in the first half of the seventh century B.C.

135 Cf. the note on Moralia, 216F (2), supra.

136 The hero of Thermopylae. These sayings were doubtless incorporated, or meant to be incorporated, in Plutarch's Life of Leonidas, according to what he says in Moralia, 866B; and some of them may be found in Moralia, 854E‑874D (De Herodoti malignitate).

137 Cf. Moralia, 240E (6), infra, and 866B.

138 Ibid. Cf. also 225B (8 and 9), infra, and 866B.

139 The remark is attributed to Dieneces by Herodotus, VII.226. Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, VII.46; Valerius Maximus, III.7, ext. 8; Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, I.42 (101).

140 Cf. Moralia, 194D, supra, and 234B.

141 Cf. Moralia, 225A (3), supra, and 866B.

142 Cf. Moralia, 185F, supra.

143 Cf. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, I.42 (101); Valerius Maximus, III.2, ext. 3.

144 The reference is to a well-known form of cipher message in use among the Spartans. A narrow leather thong was wrapped around a cylinder, and on the surface thus formed the message was written. When the thong was received it was applied to a duplicate cylinder kept by the recipient, and so the message was read.

145 Cf. Moralia, 866B; and Herodotus, VII.221, 229, 230.

146 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190E (1), supra.

147 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lysander, chap. vii (437A).

148 The legendary ancestor of both lines of Spartan kings; cf. Herodotus, VII.204 and VIII.131.

149 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190E (2), supra.

150 Repeated in Moralia, 330F, where it is attributed to Dionysius; Moralia, 741C; Diodorus, X.9.1; Dio Chrysostom, Oration LXXIV (399 R., 640 M.); Polyaenus, Strategemata, I.45.3; and Aelian, Varia Historia, VII.12, who says that some attribute it to Lysander, and others to Philip of Macedon.

Thayer's Note: Plutarch also reported the saying again in his Life of Lysander, naturally (8.3).

151 According to Plutarch, Life of Lysander, chap. xiv (441B), the Ephors objected to the verbosity of the dispatch!

152 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190E (3), supra.

153 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lysander, chap. xxii (445D).

154 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190F (5), supra.

155 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190E (4), supra.

156 Cf. the note on Moralia, 217C (1), supra.

157 Cf. the note on Moralia, 231C (1), infra.

158 Cf. the note on Moralia, 212C (52), supra.

159 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lysander, chap. xxx (451A), and Aelian, Varia Historia, VI.4, and X.15.

160 Cf. John Heywood, Proverbs, part I chap. 11: "but indeede a friend is never known till a man have neede."

161 An early Spartan king, perhaps circa 809‑770 B.C. He was the son of Charillus (Moralia, 189F, supra).

162 He was invading Argolis and laying waste the country; see Pausanias, III.7.4.

163 Cf. the note on Moralia, 189F (3), supra.

164 Cf. Moralia, 348F and 710F; Plato, Laws, 803C‑D. See also the note on Moralia, 221C, supra.

165 A Spartan harmost who fell at Tanagra, 377 B.C.

166 Cf. the note on Moralia, 190A, supra.

167 Cf. Moralia, 192B, 220D, and 1033B‑E.

168 Regent of Sparta from 479 B.C.; commander at Plataea.

169 The law seems to have been put into effect (426‑425 B.C.) some years after the death of this Pausanias (468 B.C.).

170 Cf. Thucydides, III.104.

171 A similar remark is attributed to Philip of Macedon in Moralia, 143F, 179A, and 457F.

172 Tyrtaeus, according to tradition, was a native of Athens.

173 Cf. Plato, Laws, 870B; Cicero, Paradoxa Stoicorum, VI.1‑3 (42‑52).

174 Cf. Herodotus, IX.82.

175 King of Sparta, 408‑394 B.C.

176 In 394 B.C.

177 Cf. the similar saying which is attributed to Aristippus in Diogenes Laertius, II.70.

178 See the note on Moralia, 191F, supra.

179 Cf. Herodotus, VIII.124; Xenophon, Constitution of Sparta, 4.3.

180 Cf. the note on Moralia, 191F, supra.

181 King of Sparta, 480‑458 B.C.

182 One of the two lines of the kings of Sparta was called "Agids" (or "Agiads") from Agis, the second of that line, and the other "Eurypontids" from Eurypon, the third of that line. Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. ii (40D); Strabo, VIII.366; Pausanias, III.7.1.

Presumably Plutarch means that the later Spartan kings did not wish to perpetuate the memory of any harshness, which would have been suggested by the names of the earlier absolute monarchs.

183 Cf. the note on Moralia, 212F (58), supra.

184 Cf. the note on Moralia, 224D (1), supra.

185 King of Sparta, 458‑408 B.C.

186 Cf. the note on Moralia, 192B (1), supra.

187 King of Sparta in the second part of the eighth century B.C.

188 Herodotus, I.82.

189 Cf. Moralia, 217A (5), and 227D (12).

190 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. xxv (55C).

191 Spartan general, fourth century B.C.

192 Third king of Sparta, second of the Eurypontid line according to tradition.

193 Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. ii (40C).

194 See the note on Moralia, 190A.

195 Cf. Moralia, 190A, supra.

196 Cf. Moralia, 237D, infra; Xenophon, Constitution of Sparta, 6.1‑3.

197 An early king of Sparta; traditionally a contemporary of Lycurgus. Another spelling is Charilaus.

198 Cf. Moralia, 189F (1), supra.

199 Cf. Moralia, 189F (2), supra.

200 Cf. Moralia, 154E.

201 Cf., for example, Head, Historia Numorum (Oxford, 1911), p434.

202 Cf. the note on Moralia, 189F (3), supra.

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