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Plutarch's Lives

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of open quarrel between them; in all other respects they were very
careful of their conduct, and administered affairs together with great
unanimity. The relations of the slain, being debarred of lawful
satisfaction by reason of Tatius, fell upon him as he was sacrificing
with Romulus at Lavinium, and slew him; but escorted Romulus home,
commending and extolling him for a just prince. Romulus took the body
of Tatius, and buried it very splendidly in the Aventine Mount, near the
place called Armilustrium, but altogether neglected revenging his
murder. Some authors write, the city of Laurentum, fearing the
consequence, delivered up the murderers of Tatius; but Romulus dismissed
them, saying, one murder was requited with another. This gave occasion
of talk and jealousy, as if he were well pleased at the removal of his
copartner in the government. Nothing of these things, however, raised
any sort of feud or disturbance among the Sabines; but some out of love
to him, others out of fear of his power, some again reverencing him as a
god, they all continued living peacefully in admiration and awe of him;
many foreign nations, too, showed respect to Romulus; the Ancient Latins
sent, and entered into league and confederacy with him. Fidenae he
took, a neighboring city to Rome, by a party of horse, as some say, whom
he sent before with commands to cut down the hinges of the gates,
himself afterwards unexpectedly coming up. Others say, they having
first made the invasion, plundering and ravaging the country and
suburbs, Romulus lay in ambush for them, and, having killed many of
their men, took the city; but, nevertheless, did not raze or demolish
it, but made it a Roman colony, and sent thither, on the Ides of April,
two thousand five hundred inhabitants.

Soon after a plague broke out, causing sudden death without any previous
sickness; it infected also the corn with unfruitfulness, and cattle with
barrenness; there rained blood, too, in the city; so that, to their
actual sufferings, fear of the wrath of the gods was added. But when
the same mischiefs fell upon Laurentum, then everybody judged it was
divine vengeance that fell upon both cities, for the neglect of
executing justice upon the murder of Tatius and the ambassadors. But
the murderers on both sides being delivered up and punished, the
pestilence visibly abated; and Romulus purified the cities with
lustrations, which, they say, even now are performed at the wood called
Ferentina. But before the plague ceased, the Camertines invaded the
Romans and overran the country, thinking them, by reason of the
distemper, unable to resist; but Romulus at once made head against them,
and gained the victory, with the slaughter of six thousand men; then
took their city, and brought half of those he found there to Rome;
sending from Rome to Camerium double the number he left there. This was
done the first of August. So many citizens had he to spare, in sixteen
years' time from his first founding Rome. Among other spoils, he took a
brazen four-horse chariot from Camerium, which he placed in the temple
of Vulcan, setting on it his own statue,
with a figure of Victory crowning him.

The Roman cause thus daily gathering strength, their weaker neighbors
shrunk away, and were thankful to be left untouched; but the stronger,
out of fear or envy, thought they ought not to give way to Romulus, but
to curb and put a stop to his growing greatness. The first were the
Veientes, a people of Tuscany, who had large possessions, and dwelt in a
spacious city; they took occasion to commence a war, by claiming Fidenae
as belonging to them; a thing not only very unreasonable, but very
ridiculous, that they, who did not assist them in the greatest
extremities, but permitted them to be slain, should challenge their
lands and houses when in the hands of others. But being scornfully
retorted upon by Romulus in his answers, they divided themselves into
two bodies; with one they attacked the garrison of Fidenae, the other
marched against Romulus; that which went against Fidenae got the
victory, and slew two thousand Romans; the other was worsted by Romulus,
with the loss of eight thousand men. A fresh battle was fought near
Fidenae, and here all men acknowledge the day's success to have been
chiefly the work of Romulus himself, who showed the highest skill as
well as courage, and seemed to manifest a strength and swiftness more
than human. But what some write, that, of fourteen thousand that fell
that day, above half were slain by Romulus's own hand, verges too near
to fable, and is, indeed, simply incredible; since even the Messenians
are thought to go too far in saying that Aristomenes three times offered
sacrifice for the death of a hundred enemies, Lacedaemonians, slain by
himself. The army being thus routed, Romulus, suffering those that were
left to make their escape, led his forces against the city; they, having
suffered such great losses, did not venture to oppose, but, humbly suing
to him, made a league and friendship for an hundred years; surrendering
also a large district of land called Septempagium, that is, the seven
parts, as also their salt-works upon the river, and fifty noblemen for
hostages. He made his triumph for this on the Ides of October, leading,
among the rest of his many captives, the general of the Veientes, an
elderly man, but who had not, it seemed, acted with the prudence of age;
whence even now, in sacrifices for victories, they lead an old man
through the market place to the Capitol, appareled in purple, with a
bulla, or child's toy, tied to it, and the crier cries, Sardians to be
sold; for the Tuscans are said to be a colony of the Sardians, and the
Veientes are a city of Tuscany.

This was the last battle Romulus ever fought; afterwards he, as most,
nay all men, very few excepted, do, who are raised by great and
miraculous good-haps of fortune to power and greatness, so, I say, did
he; relying upon his own great actions, and growing of an haughtier
mind, he forsook his popular behavior for kingly arrogance, odious to
the people; to whom in particular the state which he assumed was
hateful. For he dressed in scarlet, with the purple-bordered robe over
it; he gave audience on a couch of state, having always about him some
young men called Celeres, from their swiftness in doing commissions;
there went before him others with staves, to make room, with leather
thongs tied on their bodies, to bind on the moment whomever he
commanded. The Latins formerly used ligare in the same sense as now
alligare, to bind, whence the name lictors, for these officers, and
bacula, or staves, for their rods, because staves were then used. It is
probable, however, they were first called litores, afterwards, by
putting in a c, lictores, or, in Greek, liturgi, or people's officers,
for leitos is still Greek for the commons,
and laos for the people in general.

But when, after the death of his grandfather Numitor in Alba, the throne
devolving upon Romulus, he, to court the people, put the government into
their own hands, and appointed an annual magistrate over the Albans,
this taught the great men of Rome to seek after a free and anti-
monarchical state, wherein all might in turn be subjects and rulers.
For neither were the patricians any longer admitted to state affairs,
only had the name and title left them, convening in council rather for
fashion's sake than advice, where they heard in silence the king's
commands, and so departed, exceeding the commonalty only in hearing
first what was done. These and the like were matters of small moment;
but when he of his own accord parted among his soldiers what lands were
acquired by war, and restored the Veientes their hostages, the senate
neither consenting nor approving of it, then, indeed, he seemed to put a
great affront upon them; so that, on his sudden and strange
disappearance a short while after, the senate fell under suspicion and
calumny. He disappeared on the Nones of July, as they now call the month
which was then Quintilis, leaving nothing of certainty to be related of
his death; only the time, as just mentioned, for on that day many
ceremonies are still performed in representation of what happened.
Neither is this uncertainty to be thought strange, seeing the manner of
the death of Scipio Africanus, who died at his own home after supper,
has been found capable neither of proof or disproof; for some say he
died a natural death, being of a sickly habit; others, that he poisoned
himself; others again, that his enemies, breaking in upon him in the
night, stifled him. Yet Scipio's dead body lay open to be seen of all,
and any one, from his own observation, might form his suspicions and
conjectures; whereas Romulus, when he vanished, left neither the least
part of his body, nor any remnant of his clothes to be seen. So that
some fancied, the senators, having fallen upon him ill the temple of
Vulcan, cut his body into pieces, and took each a part away in his
bosom; others think his disappearance was neither in the temple of
Vulcan, nor with the senators only by, but that, it came to pass that,
as he was haranguing the people without the city, near a place called
the Goat's Marsh, on a sudden strange and unaccountable disorders and
alterations took place in the air; the face of the sun was darkened, and
the day turned into night, and that, too, no quiet, peaceable night, but
with terrible thunderings, and boisterous winds from all quarters;
during which the common people dispersed and fled, but the senators kept
close together. The tempest being over and the light breaking out, when
the people gathered again, they missed and inquired for their king; the
senators suffered them not to search, or busy themselves about the
matter, but commanded them to honor and worship Romulus as one taken up
to the gods, and about to be to them, in the place of a good prince, now
a propitious god. The multitude, hearing this, went away believing and
rejoicing in hopes of good things from him; but there were some, who,
canvassing the matter in a hostile temper, accused and aspersed the
patricians, as men that persuaded the people to believe ridiculous
tales, when they themselves were the murderers of the king.

Things being in this disorder, one, they say, of the patricians, of
noble family and approved good character, and a faithful and familiar
friend of Romulus himself, having come with him from Alba, Julius
Proculus by name, presented himself in the forum; and, taking a most
sacred oath, protested before them all, that, as he was traveling on the
road, he had seen Romulus coming to meet him, looking taller and
comelier than ever, dressed in shining and faming armor; and he, being
affrighted at the apparition, said, "Why, O king, or for what purpose
have you abandoned us to unjust and wicked surmises, and the whole city
to bereavement and endless sorrow?" and that he made answer, "It
pleased the gods, O Proculus, that we, who came from them, should remain
so long a time amongst men as we did; and, having built a city to be the
greatest in the world for empire and glory, should again return to
heaven. But farewell; and tell the Romans, that, by the exercise of
temperance and fortitude, they shall attain the height of human power;
we will be to you the propitious god Quirinus." This seemed credible to
the Romans, upon the honesty and oath of the relater, and indeed, too,
there mingled with it a certain divine passion, some preternatural
influence similar to possession by a divinity; nobody contradicted it,
but, laying aside all jealousies and detractions, they prayed to
Quirinus and saluted him as a god.

This is like some of the Greek fables of Aristeas the Proconnesian, and
Cleomedes the Astypalaean; for they say Aristeas died in a fuller's
work-shop, and his friends, coming to look for him, found his body
vanished; and that some presently after, coming from abroad, said they
met him traveling towards Croton. And that Cleomedes, being an
extraordinarily strong and gigantic man, but also wild and mad,
committed many desperate freaks; and at last, in a school-house,
striking a pillar that sustained the roof with his fist, broke it in the
middle, so that the house fell and destroyed the children in it; and
being pursued, he fled into a great chest, and, shutting to the lid,
held it so fast, that many men, with their united strength, could not
force it open; afterwards, breaking the chest to pieces, they found no
man in it alive or dead; in astonishment at which, they sent to consult
the oracle at Delphi; to whom the prophetess made this answer,

Of all the heroes, Cleomede is last.

They say, too, the body of Alcmena, as they were carrying her to her
grave, vanished, and a stone was found lying on the bier. And many such
improbabilities do your fabulous writers relate, deifying creatures
naturally mortal; for though altogether to disown a divine nature in
human virtue were impious and base, so again to mix heaven with earth is
ridiculous. Let us believe with Pindar, that

All human bodies yield to Death's decree,
The soul survives to all eternity.

For that alone is derived from the gods, thence comes, and thither
returns; not with the body, but when most disengaged and separated from
it, and when most entirely pure and clean and free from the flesh; for
the most perfect soul, says Heraclitus, is a dry light, which flies out
of the body as lightning breaks from a cloud; but that which is clogged
and surfeited with body is like gross and humid incense, slow to kindle
and ascend. We must not, therefore, contrary to nature, send the
bodies, too, of good men to heaven; but we must really believe that,
according to their divine nature and law, their virtue and their souls
are translated out of men into heroes, out of heroes into demi-gods, out
of demi-gods, after passing, as in the rite of initiation, through a
final cleansing and sanctification, and so freeing themselves from all
that pertains to mortality and sense, are thus, not by human decree, but
really and according to right reason, elevated into gods, admitted thus
to the greatest and most blessed perfection.

Romulus's surname Quirinus, some say, is equivalent to Mars; others,
that he was so called because the citizens were called Quirites; others,
because the ancients called a dart or spear Quiris; thus, the statue of
Juno resting on a spear is called Quiritis, and the dart in the Regia is
addressed as Mars, and those that were distinguished in war were usually
presented with a dart; that, therefore, Romulus, being a martial god, or
a god of darts, was called Quirinus. A temple is certainly built to his
honor on the mount called from him Quirinalis.

The day he vanished on is called the Flight of the People, and the Nones
of the Goats, because they go then out of the city, and sacrifice at
the Goat's Marsh, and, as they go, they shout out some of the Roman
names, as Marcus, Lucius, Caius, imitating the way in which they then
fled and called upon one another in that fright and hurry. Some,
however, say, this was not in imitation of a flight, but of a quick and
hasty onset, referring it to the following occasion: after the Gauls who
had taken Rome were driven out by Camillus, and the city was scarcely as
yet recovering her strength, many of the Latins, under the command of
Livius Postumius, took this time to march against her. Postumius,
halting not far from Rome, sent a herald, signifying that the Latins
were desirous to renew their former alliance and affinity (that was now
almost decayed) by contracting new marriages between both nations; if,
therefore, they would send forth a good number of their virgins and
widows, they should have peace and friendship, such as the Sabines had
formerly had on the like conditions. The Romans, hearing this, dreaded
a war, yet thought a surrender of their women little better than mere
captivity. Being in this doubt, a servant-maid called Philotis (or, as
some say, Tutola), advised them to do neither, but, by a stratagem,
avoid both fighting and the giving up of such pledges. The stratagem
was this, that they should send herself, with other well-looking
servant-maids, to the enemy, in the dress of free-born virgins, and she
should in the night light up a fire-signal, at which the Romans should
come armed and surprise them asleep. The Latins were thus deceived, and
accordingly Philotis set up a torch in a wild fig-tree, screening it
behind with curtains and coverlets from the sight of the enemy, while
visible to the Romans. They, when they saw it, eagerly ran out of the
gates, calling in their haste to each other as they went out, and so,
falling in unexpectedly upon the enemy, they defeated them, and upon
that made a feast of triumph, called the Nones of the Goats, because of
the wild fig-tree, called by the Romans Caprificus, or the goat-fig.
They feast the women without the city in arbors made of fig-tree boughs
and the maid-servants gather together and run about playing; afterwards
they fight in sport, and throw stones one at another, in memory that
they then aided and assisted the Roman men in fight. This only a few
authors admit for true; For the calling upon one another's names by day
and the going out to the Goat's Marsh to do sacrifice seem to agree more
with the former story, unless, indeed, we shall say that both the
actions might have happened on the same day in different years. It was
in the fifty-fourth year of his age and the thirty-eighth of his reign
that Romulus, they tell us, left the world.


This is what I have learnt of Romulus and Theseus, worthy of memory. It
seems, first of all, that Theseus, out of his own free-will, without any
compulsion, when he might have reigned in security at Troezen in the
enjoyment of no inglorious empire, of his own motion affected great
actions, whereas the other, to escape present servitude and a punishment
that threatened him, (according to Plato's phrase) grew valiant purely
out of fear, and dreading the extremest inflictions, attempted great
enterprises out of mere necessity. Again, his greatest action was only
the killing of one king of Alba; while, as mere by-adventures and
preludes, the other can name Sciron, Sinnis, Procrustes, and Corynetes;
by reducing and killing of whom, he rid Greece of terrible oppressors,
before any of them that were relieved knew who did it; moreover, he
might without any trouble as well have gone to Athens by sea,
considering he himself never was in the least injured by those robbers;
where as Romulus could not but be in trouble whilst Amulius lived. Add
to this the fact that Theseus, for no wrong done to himself, but for the
sake of others, fell upon these villains; but Romulus and Remus, as long
as they themselves suffered no ill by the tyrant, permitted him to
oppress all others. And if it be a great thing to have been wounded in
battle by the Sabines, to have killed king Acron, and to have conquered
many enemies, we may oppose to these actions the battle with the
Centaurs and the feats done against the Amazons. But what Theseus
adventured, in offering himself voluntarily with young boys and virgins,
as part of the tribute unto Crete, either to be a prey to a monster or a
victim upon the tomb of Androgeus, or, according to the mildest form of
the story, to live vilely and dishonorably in slavery to insulting and
cruel men; it is not to be expressed what an act of courage,
magnanimity, or justice to the public, or of love for honor and bravery,
that was. So that methinks the philosophers did not ill define love to
be the provision of the gods for the care and preservation of the young;
for the love of Ariadne, above all, seems to have been the proper work
and design of some god in order to preserve Theseus; and, indeed, we
ought not to blame her for loving him, but rather wonder all men and
women were not alike affected towards him; and if she alone were so.
truly I dare pronounce her worthy of the love of a god, who was herself
so great a lover of virtue and goodness, and the bravest man.

Both Theseus and Romulus were by nature meant for governors; yet neither
lived up to the true character of a king, but fell off, and ran, the one
into popularity, the other into tyranny, falling both into the same
fault out of different passions. For a ruler's first end is to maintain
his office, which is done no less by avoiding what is unfit than by
observing what is suitable. Whoever is either too remiss or too strict
is no more a king or a governor, but either a demagogue or a despot, and
so becomes either odious or contemptible to his subjects. Though
certainly the one seems to be the fault of easiness and good-nature, the
other of pride and severity.

If men's calamities, again, are not to be wholly imputed to fortune, but
refer themselves to differences of character, who will acquit either
Theseus of rash and unreasonable anger against his son, or Romulus
against his brother? Looking at motives, we more easily excuse the
anger which a stronger cause, like a severer blow, provoked. Romulus,
having disagreed with his brother advisedly and deliberately on public
matters, one would think could not on a sudden have been put into so
great a passion; but love and jealousy and the complaints of his wife,
which few men can avoid being moved by, seduced Theseus to commit that
outrage upon his son. And what is more, Romulus, in his anger,
committed an action of unfortunate consequence; but that of Theseus
ended only in words, some evil speaking, and an old man's curse; the
rest of the youth's disasters seem to have proceeded from fortune; so
that, so far, a man would give his vote on Theseus's part.

But Romulus has, first of all, one great plea, that his performances
proceeded from very small beginnings; for both the brothers being
thought servants and the sons of swineherds, before becoming freemen
themselves, gave liberty to almost all the Latins, obtaining at once all
the most honorable titles, as destroyers of their country's enemies,
preservers of their friends and kindred, princes of the people, founders
of cities, not removers, like Theseus, who raised and compiled only one
house out of many, demolishing many cities bearing the names of ancient
kings and heroes. Romulus, indeed, did the same afterwards, forcing his
enemies to deface and ruin their own dwellings, and to sojourn with
their conquerors; but at first, not by removal, or increase of an
existing city, but by foundation of a new one, he obtained himself
lands, a country, a kingdom, wives, children, and relations. And, in so
doing, he killed or destroyed nobody, but benefited those that wanted
houses and homes and were willing to be of a society and become
citizens. Robbers and malefactors he slew not; but he subdued nations,
he overthrew cities, he triumphed over kings and commanders. As to
Remus, it is doubtful by whose hand he fell; it is generally imputed to
others. His mother he clearly retrieved from death, and placed his
grandfather who was brought under base and dishonorable vassalage, on
the ancient throne of Aeneas, to whom he did voluntarily many good
offices, but never did him harm even inadvertently. But Theseus, in his
forgetfulness and neglect of the command concerning the flag, can
scarcely, methinks, by any excuses, or before the most indulgent judges,
avoid the imputation of parricide. And, indeed, one of the Attic
writers, perceiving it to be very hard to make an excuse for this,
feigns that Aegeus, at the approach of the ship, running hastily to the
Acropolis to see what news, slipped and fell down, as if he had no
servants, or none would attend him on his way to the shore.

And, indeed, the faults committed in the rapes of women admit of no
plausible excuse in Theseus. First, because of the often repetition of
the crime; for he stole Ariadne, Antiope, Anaxo the Troezenian, at last
Helen, when he was an old man, and she not marriageable; she a child,
and he at an age past even lawful wedlock. Then, on account of the
cause; for the Troezenian, Lacedaemonian, and Amazonian virgins, beside
that they were not betrothed to him, were not worthier to raise children
by than the Athenian women, derived from Erechtheus and Cecrops; but it
is to be suspected these things were done out of wantonness and lust.
Romulus, when he had taken near eight hundred women, chose not all, but
only Hersilia, as they say, for himself; the rest he divided among the
chief of the city; and afterwards, by the respect and tenderness and
justice shown towards them, he made it clear that this violence and
injury was a commendable and politic exploit to establish a society; by
which he intermixed and united both nations, and made it the fountain of
after friendship and public stability. And to the reverence and love
and constancy he established in matrimony, time can witness; for in two
hundred and thirty years, neither any husband deserted his wife, nor any
wife her husband; but, as the curious among the Greeks can name the
first case of parricide or matricide, so the Romans all well know that
Spurius Carvilius was the first who put away his wife, accusing her of
barrenness. The immediate results were similar; for upon those
marriages the two princes shared in the dominion, and both nations fell
under the same government. But from the marriages of Theseus proceeded
nothing of friendship or correspondence for the advantage of commerce,
but enmities and wars and the slaughter of citizens, and, at last, the
loss of the city Aphidnae, when only out of the compassion of the enemy,
whom they entreated and caressed like gods, they escaped suffering what
Troy did by Paris. Theseus's mother, however, was not only in danger,
but suffered actually what Hecuba did, deserted and neglected by her
son, unless her captivity be not a fiction, as I could wish both that
and other things were. The circumstances of the divine intervention,
said to have preceded or accompanied their births, are also in contrast;
for Romulus was preserved by the special favor of the gods; but the
oracle given to Aegeus, commanding him to abstain, seems to demonstrate
that the birth of Theseus was not agreeable to the will of the gods.


There is so much uncertainty in the accounts which historians have left
us of Lycurgus, the lawgiver of Sparta, that scarcely anything is
asserted by one of them which is not called into question or
contradicted by the rest. Their sentiments are quite different as to
the family he came of, the voyages he undertook, the place and manner of
his death, but most of all when they speak of the laws he made and the
commonwealth which he founded. They cannot, by any means, be brought to
an agreement as to the very age in which he lived; for some of them say
that he flourished in the time of Iphitus, and that they two jointly
contrived the ordinance for the cessation of arms during the solemnity
of the Olympic games. Of this opinion was Aristotle; and for
confirmation of it, he alleges an inscription upon one of the copper
quoits used in those sports, upon which the name of Lycurgus continued
uneffaced to his time. But Eratosthenes and Apollodorus and other
chronologers, computing the time by the successions of the Spartan
kings, pretend to demonstrate that he was much more ancient than the
institution of the Olympic games. Timaeus conjectures that there were
two of this name, and in diverse times, but that the one of them being
much more famous than the other, men gave to him the glory of the
exploits of both; the elder of the two, according to him, was not long
after Homer; and some are so particular as to say that he had seen him.
But that he was of great antiquity may be gathered from a passage in
Xenophon, where he makes him contemporary with the Heraclidae. By
descent, indeed, the very last kings of Sparta were Heraclidae too; but
he seems in that place to speak of the first and more immediate
successors of Hercules. But notwithstanding this confusion and
obscurity, we shall endeavor to compose the history of his life,
adhering to those statements which are least contradicted, and depending
upon those authors who are most worthy of credit.

The poet Simonides will have it that Lycurgus was the son of Prytanis,
and not of Eunomus; but in this opinion he is singular, for all the rest
deduce the genealogy of them both as follows:--

Polydectes by his first wife Lycurgus by Dionassa his second.

Dieuchidas says he was the sixth from Patrocles and the eleventh from
Hercules. Be this as it will, Sous certainly was the most renowned of
all his ancestors, under whose conduct the Spartans made slaves of the
Helots, and added to their dominions, by conquest, a good part of
Arcadia, There goes a story of this king Sous, that, being besieged by
the Clitorians in a dry and stony place so that he could come at no
water, he was at last constrained to agree with them upon these terms,
that he would restore to them all his conquests, provided that himself
and all his men should drink of the nearest spring. After the usual
oaths and ratifications, he called his soldiers together, and offered to
him that would forbear drinking, his kingdom for a reward; and when not
a man of them was able to forbear, in short, when they had all drunk
their fill, at last comes king Sous himself to the spring, and, having
sprinkled his face only, without swallowing one drop, marches off in the
face of his enemies, refusing to yield up his conquests, because himself
and all his men had not, according to the articles,
drunk of their water.

Although he was justly had in admiration on this account, yet his family
was not surnamed from him, but from his son Eurypon (of whom they were
called Eurypontids); the reason of which was that Eurypon relaxed the
rigor of the monarchy, seeking favor and popularity with the many.
They, after this first step, grew bolder; and the succeeding kings
partly incurred hatred with their people by trying to use force, or, for
popularity's sake and through weakness, gave way; and anarchy and
confusion long prevailed in Sparta, causing, moreover, the death of the
father of Lycurgus. For as he was endeavoring to quell a riot, he was
stabbed with a butcher's knife, and left the title of king
to his eldest son Polydectes.

He, too, dying soon after, the right of succession (as every one
thought) rested in Lycurgus; and reign he did, until it was found that
the queen, his sister-in-law, was with child; upon which he immediately
declared that the kingdom belonged to her issue, provided it were male,
and that he himself exercised the regal jurisdiction only as his
guardian; the Spartan name for which office is prodicus. Soon after, an
overture was made to him by the queen, that she would herself in some
way destroy the infant, upon condition that he would marry her when he
came to the crown. Abhorring the woman's wickedness, he nevertheless
did not reject her proposal, but, making show of closing with her,
dispatched the messenger with thanks and expressions of joy, but
dissuaded her earnestly from procuring herself to miscarry, which would
impair her health, if not endanger her life; he himself, he said, would
see to it, that the child, as soon as born, should be taken out of the
way. By such artifices having drawn on the woman to the time of her
lying-in, as soon as he heard that she was in labor, he sent persons to
be by and observe all that passed, with orders that if it were a girl
they should deliver it to the women, but if a boy, should bring it to
him wheresoever he were, and whatsoever doing. It so fell out that when
he was at supper with the principal magistrates the queen was brought to
bed of a boy, who was soon after presented to him as he was at the
table; he, taking him into his arms, said to those about him, "Men of
Sparta, here is a king born unto us;" this said, he laid him down in
the king's place, and named him Charilaus, that is, the joy of the
people; because that all were transported with joy and with wonder at
his noble and just spirit. His reign had lasted only eight months, but
he was honored on other accounts by the citizens, and there were more
who obeyed him because of his eminent virtues, than because he was
regent to the king and had the royal power in his hands. Some, however,
envied and sought to impede his growing influence while he was still
young; chiefly the kindred and friends of the queen mother, who
pretended to have been dealt with injuriously. Her brother Leonidas, in
a warm debate which fell out betwixt him and Lycurgus, went so far as to
tell him to his face that he was well assured that ere long he should
see him king; suggesting suspicions and preparing the way for an
accusation of him, as though he had made away with his nephew, if the
child should chance to fail though by a natural death. Words of the
like import were designedly cast abroad by the queen-mother
and her adherents.

Troubled at this, and not knowing what it might come to, he thought it
his wisest course to avoid their envy by a voluntary exile, and to
travel from place to place until his nephew came to marriageable years,
and, by having a son, had secured the succession; setting sail,
therefore, with this resolution, he first arrived at Crete, where,
having considered their several forms of government, and got an
acquaintance with the principal men amongst them, some of their laws he
very much approved of, and resolved to make use of them in his own
country; a good part he rejected as useless. Amongst the persons there
the most renowned for their learning all their wisdom in state matters
was one Thales, whom Lycurgus, by importunities and assurances of
friendship, persuaded to go over to Lacedaemon; where, though by his
outward appearance and his own profession he seemed to be no other than
a lyric poet, in reality he performed the part of one of the ablest
lawgivers in the world. The very songs which he composed were
exhortations to obedience and concord, and the very measure and cadence
of the verse, conveying impressions of order and tranquility, had so
great an influence on the minds of the listeners, that they were
insensibly softened and civilized, insomuch that they renounced their
private feuds and animosities, and were reunited in a common admiration
of virtue. So that it may truly be said that Thales prepared the way
for the discipline introduced by Lycurgus.

From Crete he sailed to Asia, with design, as is said, to examine the
difference betwixt the manners and rules of life of the Cretans, which
were very sober and temperate, and those of the Ionians, a people of
sumptuous and delicate habits, and so to form a judgment; just as
physicians do by comparing healthy and diseased bodies. Here he had the
first sight of Homer's works, in the hands, we may suppose, of the
posterity of Creophylus; and, having observed that the few loose
expressions and actions of ill example which are to be found in his
poems were much outweighed by serious lessons of state and rules of
morality, he set himself eagerly to transcribe and digest them into
order, as thinking they would be of good use in his own country. They
had, indeed, already obtained some slight repute amongst the Greeks, and
scattered portions, as chance conveyed them, were in the hands of
individuals; but Lycurgus first made them really known.

The Egyptians say that he took a voyage into Egypt, and that, being much
taken with their way of separating the soldiery from the rest of the
nation, he transferred it from them to Sparta, a removal from contact
with those employed in low and mechanical occupations giving high
refinement and beauty to the state. Some Greek writers also record
this. But as for his voyages into Spain, Africa, and the Indies, and
his conferences there with the Gymnosophists, the whole relation, as far
as I can find, rests on the single credit of the Spartan Aristocrates,
the son of Hipparchus.

Lycurgus was much missed at Sparta, and often sent for, "for kings
indeed we have," they said, "who wear the marks and assume the titles of
royalty, but as for the qualities of their minds, they have nothing by
which they are to be distinguished from their subjects;" adding, that in
him alone was the true foundation of sovereignty to be seen, a nature
made to rule, and a genius to gain obedience. Nor were the kings
themselves averse to see him back, for they looked upon his presence as
a bulwark against the insolencies of the people.

Things being in this posture at his return, he applied himself, without
loss of time, to a thorough reformation and resolved to change the whole
face of the commonwealth; for what could a few particular laws and a
partial alteration avail? He must act as wise physicians do, in the
case of one who labors under a complication of diseases, by force of
medicines reduce and exhaust him, change his whole temperament, and then
set him upon a totally new regimen of diet. Having thus projected
things, away he goes to Delphi to consult Apollo there; which having
done, and offered his sacrifice, he returned with that renowned oracle,
in which he is called beloved of God, and rather God than man; that his
prayers were heard, that his laws should be the best, and the
commonwealth which observed them the most famous in the world.
Encouraged by these things, he set himself to bring over to his side the
leading men of Sparta, exhorting them to give him a helping hand in his
great undertaking; he broke it first to his particular friends, and then
by degrees gained others, and animated them all to put his design in
execution. When things were ripe for action, he gave order to thirty of
the principal men of Sparta to be ready armed at the market-place by
break of day, to the end that he might strike a terror into the opposite
party. Hermippus hath set down the names of twenty of the most eminent
of them; but the name of him whom Lycurgus most confided in, and who was
of most use to him, both in making his laws and putting them in
execution, was Arthmiadas. Things growing to a tumult, king Charilaus,
apprehending that it was a conspiracy against his person, took sanctuary
in the temple of Minerva of the Brazen House; but, being soon after
undeceived, and having taken an oath of them that they had no designs
against him, he quitted his refuge, and himself also entered into the
confederacy with them; of so gentle and flexible a disposition he was,
to which Archelaus, his brother-king, alluded, when, hearing him
extolled for his goodness, he said, "Who can say he is anything but
good? he is so even to the bad."

Amongst the many changes and alterations which Lycurgus made, the first
and of greatest importance was the establishment of the senate, which,
having a power equal to the kings' in matters of great consequence, and,
as Plato expresses it, allaying and qualifying the fiery genius of the
royal office, gave steadiness and safety to the commonwealth. For the
state, which before had no firm basis to stand upon, but leaned one
while towards an absolute monarchy, when the kings had the upper hand,
and another while towards a pure democracy, when the people had the
better, found in this establishment of the senate a central weight, like
ballast in a ship, which always kept things in a just equilibrium; the
twenty-eight always adhering to the kings so far as to resist democracy,
and, on the other hand, supporting the people against the establishment
of absolute monarchy. As for the determinate number of twenty-eight,
Aristotle states, that it so fell out because two of the original
associates, for want of courage, fell off from the enterprise; but
Sphaerus assures us that there were but twenty-eight of the confederates
at first; perhaps there is some mystery in the number, which consists of
seven multiplied by four, and is the first of perfect numbers after six,
being, as that is, equal to all its parts. For my part, I believe
Lycurgus fixed upon the number of twenty-eight, that, the two kings
being reckoned amongst them, they might be thirty in all. So eagerly
set was he upon this establishment, that he took the trouble to obtain
an oracle about it from Delphi, the Rhetra, which runs thus: "After that
you have built a temple to Jupiter Hellanius, and to Minerva Hellania,
and after that you have phyle'd the people phyles, and obe'd them into
obes, you shall establish a council of thirty elders, the leaders
included, and shall, from time to time, apellazein the people betwixt
Babyca and Cnacion, there propound and put to the vote. The commons
have the final voice and decision. " By phyles and obes are meant the
divisions of the people; by the leaders, the two kings; apellazein,
referring to the Pythian Apollo, signifies to assemble; Babyca and
Cnacion they now call Oenus; Aristotle says Cnacion is a river, and
Babyca a bridge. Betwixt this Babyca and Cnacion, their assemblies were
held, for they had no council-house or building, to meet in. Lycurgus
was of opinion that ornaments were so far from advantaging them in their
counsels, that they were rather an hindrance, by diverting their
attention from the business before them to statues and pictures, and
roofs curiously fretted, the usual embellishments of such places amongst
the other Greeks. The people then being thus assembled in the open air,
it was not allowed to any one of their order to give his advice, but
only either to ratify or reject what should be propounded to them by
the king or senate. But because it fell out afterwards that the people,
by adding or omitting words, distorted and perverted the sense of
propositions, kings Polydorus and Theopompus inserted into the Rhetra,
or grand covenant, the following clause: "That if the people decide
crookedly, it should be lawful for the elders and leaders to dissolve;"
that is to say, refuse ratification, and dismiss the people as depravers
and perverters of their counsel. It passed among the people, by their
management, as being equally authentic with the rest of the Rhetra, as
appears by these verses of Tyrtaeus,--

These oracles they from Apollo heard,
And brought from Pytho home the perfect word:
The heaven-appointed kings, who love the land,
Shall foremost in the nation's council stand;
The elders next to them; the commons last;
Let a straight Rhetra among all be passed.

Although Lycurgus had, in this manner, used all the qualifications
possible in the constitution of his commonwealth, yet those who
succeeded him found the oligarchical element still too strong and
dominant, and, to check its high temper and its violence, put, as Plato
says, a bit in its mouth, which was the power of the ephori, established
one hundred and thirty years after the death of Lycurgus. Elatus and his
colleagues were the first who had this dignity conferred upon them, in
the reign of king Theopompus, who, when his queen upbraided him one day
that he would leave the regal power to his children less than he had
received it from his ancestors, said, in answer, "No, greater; for it
will last longer." For, indeed, their prerogative being thus reduced
within reasonable bounds, the Spartan kings were at once freed from all
further jealousies and consequent danger, and never experienced the
calamities of their neighbors at Messene and Argos, who, by maintaining
their prerogative too strictly, for want of yielding a little to the
populace, lost it all.

Indeed, whosoever shall look at the sedition and misgovernment which
befell these bordering nations to whom they were as near related in
blood as situation, will find in them the best reason to admire the
wisdom and foresight of Lycurgus. For these three states, in their
first rise, were equal, or, if there were any odds, they lay on the side
of the Messenians and Argives, who, in the first allotment, were thought
to have been luckier than the Spartans; yet was their happiness but of
small continuance, partly the tyrannical temper of their kings and
partly the ungovernableness of the people quickly bringing upon them
such disorders, and so complete an overthrow of all existing
institutions, as clearly to show how truly divine a blessing the
Spartans had had in that wise lawgiver who gave their government its
happy balance and temper.
But of this I shall say more in its due place.

After the creation of the thirty senators, his next task, and, indeed,
the most hazardous he ever undertook, was the making a new division of
their lands. For there was an extreme inequality amongst them, and
their state was overloaded with a multitude of indigent and necessitous
persons, while its whole wealth had centered upon a very few. To the
end, therefore, that he might expel from the state arrogance and envy,
luxury and crime, and those yet more inveterate diseases of want and
superfluity, he obtained of them to renounce their properties, and to
consent to a new division of the land, and that they should live all
together on an equal footing; merit to be their only road to eminence,
and the disgrace of evil, and credit of worthy acts, their one measure
of difference between man and man.

Upon their consent to these proposals, proceeding at once to put them
into execution, he divided the country of Laconia in general into thirty
thousand equal shares, and the part attached to the city of Sparta into
nine thousand; these he distributed among the Spartans, as he did the
others to the country citizens. Some authors say that he made but six
thousand lots for the citizens of Sparta, and that king Polydorus added
three thousand more. Others say that Polydorus doubled the number
Lycurgus had made, which, according to them, was but four thousand five
hundred. A lot was so much as to yield, one year with another, about
seventy bushels of grain for the master of the family, and twelve for
his wife, with a suitable proportion of oil and wine. And this he
thought sufficient to keep their bodies in good health and strength;
superfluities they were better without. It is reported, that, as he
returned from a journey shortly after the division of the lands, in
harvest time, the ground being newly reaped, seeing the stacks all
standing equal and alike, he smiled, and said to those about him,
"Methinks all Laconia looks like one family estate just divided among a
number of brothers."

Not contented with this, he resolved to make a division of their
movables too, that there might be no odious distinction or inequality
left amongst them; but finding that it would be very dangerous to go
about it openly, he took another course, and defeated their avarice by
the following stratagem: he commanded that all gold and silver coin
should be called in, and that only a sort of money made of iron should
be current, a great weight and quantity of which was but very little
worth; so that to lay up twenty or thirty pounds there was required a
pretty large closet, and, to remove it, nothing less than a yoke of
oxen. With the diffusion of this money, at once a number of vices were
banished from Lacedaemon; for who would rob another of such a coin? Who
would unjustly detain or take by force, or accept as a bribe, a thing
which it was not easy to hide, nor a credit to have, nor indeed of any
use to cut in pieces? For when it was just red hot, they quenched it in
vinegar, and by that means spoilt it,
and made it almost incapable of being worked.

In the next place, he declared an outlawry of all needless and
superfluous arts; but here he might almost have spared his proclamation;
for they of themselves would have gone after the gold and silver, the
money which remained being not so proper payment for curious work; for,
being of iron, it was scarcely portable, neither, if they should take
the pains to export it, would it pass amongst the other Greeks, who
ridiculed it. So there was now no more means of purchasing foreign
goods and small wares; merchants sent no shiploads into Laconian ports;
no rhetoric-master, no itinerant fortune-teller, no harlot-monger or
gold or silversmith, engraver, or jeweler, set foot in a country which
had no money; so that luxury, deprived little by little of that which
fed and fomented it, wasted to nothing, and died away of itself. For
the rich had no advantage here over the poor, as their wealth and
abundance had no road to come abroad by, but were shut up at home doing
nothing. And in this way they became excellent artists in common,
necessary things; bedsteads, chairs, and tables, and such like staple
utensils in a family, were admirably well made there; their cup,
particularly, was very much in fashion, and eagerly bought up by
soldiers, as Critias reports; for its color was such as to prevent
water, drunk upon necessity and disagreeable to look at, from being
noticed; and the shape of it was such that the mud stuck to the sides,
so that only the purer part came to the drinker's mouth. For this,
also, they had to thank their lawgiver, who, by relieving the artisans
of the trouble of making useless things, set them to show their skill in
giving beauty to those of daily and indispensable use.

The third and most masterly stroke of this great lawgiver, by which he
struck a yet more effectual blow against luxury and the desire of
riches, was the ordinance he made, that they should all eat in common,
of the same bread and same meat, and of kinds that were specified, and
should not spend their lives at home, laid on costly couches at splendid
tables, delivering themselves up into the hands of their tradesmen and
cooks, to fatten them in corners, like greedy brutes, and to ruin not
their minds only but their very bodies, which, enfeebled by indulgence
and excess, would stand in need of long sleep, warm bathing, freedom
from work, and, in a word, of as much care and attendance as if they
were continually sick. It was certainly an extraordinary thing to have
brought about such a result as this, but a greater yet to have taken
away from wealth, as Theophrastus observes, not merely the property of
being coveted, but its very nature of being wealth. For the rich, being
obliged to go to the same table with the poor, could not make use of or
enjoy their abundance, nor so much as please their vanity by looking at
or displaying it. So that the common proverb, that Plutus, the god of
riches, is blind, was nowhere in all the world literally verified but in
Sparta. There, indeed, he was not only blind, but like a picture,
without either life or motion. Nor were they allowed to take food at
home first, and then attend the public tables, for every one had an eye
upon those who did not eat and drink like the rest, and reproached them
with being dainty and effeminate.

This last ordinance in particular exasperated the wealthier men. They
collected in a body against Lycurgus, and from ill words came to
throwing stones, so that at length he was forced to run out of the
marketplace, and make to sanctuary to save his life; by good-hap he
outran all excepting one Alcander, a young man otherwise not ill
accomplished, but hasty and violent, who came up so close to him, that,
when he turned to see who was near him, he struck him upon the face with
his stick, and put out one of his eyes. Lycurgus, so far from being
daunted and discouraged by this accident, stopped short, and showed his
disfigured face and eye beat out to his countrymen; they, dismayed and
ashamed at the sight, delivered Alcander into his hands to be punished,
and escorted him home, with expressions of great concern for his ill
usage. Lycurgus, having thanked them for their care of his person,
dismissed them all, excepting only Alcander; and, taking him with him
into his house, neither did nor said anything severely to him, but,
dismissing those whose place it was bade Alcander to wait upon him at
table. The young man who was of an ingenuous temper, without murmuring
did as he was commanded; and, being thus admitted to live with Lycurgus,
he had an opportunity to observe in him, besides his gentleness and
calmness of temper, an extraordinary sobriety and an indefatigable
industry, and so, from an enemy, became one of his most zealous
admirers, and told his friends and relations that Lycurgus was not that
morose and ill-natured man they had formerly taken him for, but the one
mild and gentle character of the world. And thus did Lycurgus, for
chastisement of his fault, make of a wild and passionate young man one
of the discreetest citizens of Sparta.

In memory of this accident, Lycurgus built a temple to Minerva, surnamed
Optiletis; optilus being the Doric of these parts for ophthalmus, the
eye. Some authors, however, of whom Dioscorides is one (who wrote a
treatise on the commonwealth of Sparta), say that he was wounded indeed,
but did not lose his eye with the blow; and that he built the temple in
gratitude for the cure. Be this as it will, certain it is, that, after
this misadventure, the Lacedaemonians made it a rule never to carry so
much as a staff into their public assemblies.

But to return to their public repasts;--these had several names in
Greek; the Cretans called them andria, because the men only came to
them. The Lacedaemonians called them phiditia, that is, by changing l
into d, the same as philitia, love feasts, because that, by eating and
drinking together, they had opportunity of making friends. Or perhaps
from phido, parsimony, because they were so many schools of sobriety; or
perhaps the first letter is an addition, and the word at first was
editia, from edode, eating. They met by companies of fifteen, more or
less, and each of them stood bound to bring in monthly a bushel of meal,
eight gallons of wine, five pounds of cheese, two pounds and a half of
figs, and some very small sum of money to buy flesh or fish with.
Besides this, when any of them made sacrifice to the gods, they always
sent a dole to the common hall; and, likewise, when any of them had been
a hunting, he sent thither a part of the venison he had killed; for
these two occasions were the only excuses allowed for supping at home.
The custom of eating together was observed strictly for a great while
afterwards; insomuch that king Agis himself, after having vanquished the
Athenians, sending for his commons at his return home, because he
desired to eat privately with his queen, was refused them by the
polemarchs; which refusal when he resented so much as to omit next day
the sacrifice due for a war happily ended, they made him pay a fine.

They used to send their children to these tables as to schools of
temperance; here they were instructed in state affairs by listening to
experienced statesmen; here they learnt to converse with pleasantry, to
make jests without scurrility, and take them without ill humor. In this
point of good breeding, the Lacedaemonians excelled particularly, but if
any man were uneasy under it, upon the least hint given there was no
more to be said to him. It was customary also for the eldest man in the
company to say to each of them, as they came in, "Through this"
(pointing to the door), "no words go out." When any one had a desire to
be admitted into any of these little societies; he was to go through the
following probation, each man in the company took a little ball of soft
bread, which they were to throw into a deep basin, which a waiter
carried round upon his head; those that liked the person to be chosen
dropped their ball into the basin without altering its figure, and those
who disliked him pressed it between their fingers, and made it flat; and
this signified as much as a negative voice. And if there were but one
of these pieces in the basin, the suitor was rejected, so desirous were
they that all the members of the company should be agreeable to each
other. The basin was called caddichus, and the rejected candidate had a
name thence derived. Their most famous dish was the black broth, which
was so much valued that the elderly men fed only upon that, leaving what
flesh there was to the younger.

They say that a certain king of Pontus, having heard much of this black
broth of theirs, sent for a Lacedaemonian cook on purpose to make him
some, but had no sooner tasted it than he found it extremely bad, which
the cook observing, told him, "Sir, to make this broth relish, you
should have bathed yourself first in the river Eurotas."

After drinking moderately, every man went to his home without lights,
for the use of them was, on all occasions, forbid, to the end that they
might accustom themselves to march boldly in the dark. Such was the
common fashion of their meals.

Lycurgus would never reduce his laws into writing; nay, there is a
Rhetra expressly to forbid it. For he thought that the most material
points, and such as most directly tended to the public welfare, being
imprinted on the hearts of their youth by a good discipline, would be
sure to remain, and would find a stronger security, than any compulsion
would be, in the principles of action formed in them by their best
lawgiver, education. And as for things of lesser importance, as
pecuniary contracts, and such like, the forms of which have to be
changed as occasion requires, he thought it the best way to prescribe no
positive rule or inviolable usage in such cases, willing that their
manner and form should be altered according to the circumstances of
time, and determinations of men of sound judgment. Every end and object
of law and enactment it was his design education should effect.

One, then, of the Rhetras was, that their laws should not be written;
another is particularly leveled against luxury and expensiveness, for by
it it was ordained that the ceilings of their houses should only be
wrought by the axe, and their gates and doors smoothed only by the saw.
Epaminondas's famous dictum about his own table, that "Treason and a
dinner like this do not keep company together," may be said to have been
anticipated by Lycurgus. Luxury and a house of this kind could not well
be companions. For a man must have a less than ordinary share of sense
that would furnish such plain and common rooms with silver-footed
couches and purple coverlets and gold and silver plate. Doubtless he
had good reason to think that they would proportion their beds to their
houses, and their coverlets to their beds, and the rest of their goods
and furniture to these. It is reported that king Leotychides, the first
of that name, was so little used to the sight of any other kind of work,
that, being entertained at Corinth in a stately room, he was much
surprised to see the timber and ceiling so finely carved and paneled,
and asked his host whether the trees grew so in his country.

A third ordinance or Rhetra was, that they should not make war often, or
long, with the same enemy, lest that they should train and instruct them
in war, by habituating them to defend themselves. And this is what
Agesilaus was much blamed for, a long time after; it being thought,
that, by his continual incursions into Boeotia, he made the Thebans a
match for the Lacedaemonians; and therefore Antalcidas, seeing him
wounded one day, said to him, that he was very well paid for taking such
pains to make the Thebans good soldiers, whether they would or no.
These laws were called the Rhetras, to intimate that they were divine
sanctions and revelations.

In order to the good education of their youth (which, as I said before,
he thought the most important and noblest work of a lawgiver), he went
so far back as to take into consideration their very conception and
birth, by regulating their marriages. For Aristotle is wrong in saying,
that, after he had tried all ways to reduce the women to more modesty
and sobriety, he was at last forced to leave them as they were, because
that, in the absence of their husbands, who spent the best part of their
lives in the wars, their wives, whom they were obliged to leave absolute
mistresses at home, took great liberties and assumed the superiority;
and were treated with overmuch respect and called by the title of lady
or queen. The truth is, he took in their case, also, all the care that
was possible; he ordered the maidens to exercise themselves with
wrestling, running, throwing the quoit, and casting the dart, to the end
that the fruit they conceived might, in strong and healthy bodies, take
firmer root and find better growth, and withal that they, with this
greater vigor, might be the more able to undergo the pains of child-
bearing. And to the end he might take away their over-great tenderness
and fear of exposure to the air, and all acquired womanishness, he
ordered that the young women should go naked in the processions, as well
as the young men, and dance, too, in that condition, at certain solemn
feasts, singing certain songs, whilst the young men stood around, seeing
and hearing them. On these occasions, they now and then made, by jests,
a befitting reflection upon those who had misbehaved themselves in the
wars; and again sang encomiums upon those who had done any gallant
action, and by these means inspired the younger sort with an emulation
of their glory. Those that were thus commended went away proud, elated,
and gratified with their honor among the maidens; and those who were
rallied were as sensibly touched with it as if they had been formally
reprimanded; and so much the more, because the kings and the elders, as
well as the rest of the city, saw and heard all that passed. Nor was
there any thing shameful in this nakedness of the young women; modesty
attended them, and all wantonness was excluded. It taught them
simplicity and a care for good health, and gave them some taste of
higher feelings, admitted as they thus were to the field of noble action
and glory. Hence it was natural for them to think and speak as Gorgo,
for example, the wife of Leonidas, is said to have done, when some
foreign lady, as it would seem, told her that the women of Lacedaemon
were the only women of the world who could rule men; "With good
reason," she said, "for we are the only women who bring forth men."

These public processions of the maidens, and their appearing naked in
their exercises and dancings, were incitements to marriage, operating
upon the young with the rigor and certainty, as Plato says, of love, if
not of mathematics. But besides all this, to promote it yet more
effectually, those who continued bachelors were in a degree
disfranchised by law; for they were excluded from the sight of those
public processions in which the young men and maidens danced naked, and,
in wintertime, the officers compelled them to march naked themselves
round the market-place, singing as they went a certain song to their own
disgrace, that they justly suffered this punishment for disobeying the
laws. Moreover, they were denied that respect and observance which the
younger men paid their elders; and no man, for example, found fault with
what was said to Dercyllidas, though so eminent a commander; upon whose
approach one day, a young man, instead of rising, retained his seat,
remarking, "No child of yours will make room for me. "

In their marriages, the husband carried off his bride by a sort of
force; nor were their brides ever small and of tender years, but in
their full bloom and ripeness. After this, she who superintended the
wedding comes and clips the hair of the bride close round her head,
dresses her up in man's clothes, and leaves her upon a mattress in the
dark; afterwards comes the bridegroom, in his every-day clothes, sober
and composed, as having supped at the common table, and, entering
privately into the room where the bride lies, unties her virgin zone,
and takes her to himself; and, after staying some time together, he
returns composedly to his own apartment, to sleep as usual with the
other young men. And so he continues to do, spending his days, and,
indeed, his nights with them, visiting his bride in fear and shame, and
with circumspection, when he thought he should not be observed; she,
also, on her part, using her wit to help and find favorable
opportunities for their meeting, when company was out of the way. In
this manner they lived a long time, insomuch that they sometimes had
children by their wives before ever they saw their faces by daylight.
Their interviews, being thus difficult and rare, served not only for
continual exercise of their self-control, but brought them together with
their bodies healthy and vigorous, and their affections fresh and
lively, unsated and undulled by easy access and long continuance with
each other; while their partings were always early enough to leave
behind unextinguished in each of them some remainder fire of longing and
mutual delight. After guarding marriage with this modesty and reserve,
he was equally careful to banish empty and womanish jealousy. For this
object, excluding all licentious disorders, he made it, nevertheless,
honorable for men to give the use of their wives to those whom they
should think fit, that so they might have children by them; ridiculing
those in whose opinion such favors are so unfit for participation as to
fight and shed blood and go to war about it. Lycurgus allowed a man who
was advanced in years and had a young wife to recommend some virtuous
and approved young man, that she might have a child by him, who might
inherit the good qualities of the father, and be a son to himself. On
the other side, an honest man who had love for a married woman upon
account of her modesty and the wellfavoredness of her children, might,
without formality, beg her company of her husband, that he might raise,
as it were, from this plot of good ground, worthy and well-allied
children for himself. And, indeed, Lycurgus was of a persuasion that
children were not so much the property of their parents as of the whole
commonwealth, and, therefore, would not have his citizens begot by the
first comers, but by the best men that could be found; the laws of other
nations seemed to him very absurd and inconsistent, where people would
be so solicitous for their dogs and horses as to exert interest and pay
money to procure fine breeding, and yet kept their wives shut up, to be
made mothers only by themselves, who might be foolish, infirm, or
diseased; as if it were not apparent that children of a bad breed would
prove their bad qualities first upon those who kept and were rearing
them, and well-born children, in like manner, their good qualities.
These regulations, founded on natural and social grounds, were certainly
so far from that scandalous liberty which was afterwards charged upon
their women, that they knew not what adultery meant. It is told, for
instance, of Geradas, a very ancient, Spartan, that, being asked by a
stranger what punishment their law had appointed for adulterers, he
answered, "There are no adulterers in our country." "But," replied the
stranger, "suppose there were ?" "Then," answered he, "the offender
would have to give the plaintiff a bull with a neck so long as that he
might drink from the top of Taygetus of the Eurotas river below it."
The man, surprised at this, said, "Why, 'tis impossible to find such a
bull." Geradas smilingly replied, "'Tis as possible as to find an
adulterer in Sparta." So much I had to say of their marriages.

Nor was it in the power of the father to dispose of the child as he
thought fit; he was obliged to carry it before certain triers at a place
called Lesche; these were some of the elders of the tribe to which the
child belonged; their business it was carefully to view the infant, and,
if they found it stout and well made, they gave order for its rearing,
and allotted to it one of the nine thousand shares of land above
mentioned for its maintenance, but, if they found it puny and ill-
shaped, ordered it to be taken to what was called the Apothetae, a sort
of chasm under Taygetus; as thinking it neither for the good of the
child itself, nor for the public interest, that it should be brought up,
if it did not, from the very outset, appear made to be healthy and
vigorous. Upon the same account, the women did not bathe the new-born
children with water, as is the custom in all other countries, but with
wine, to prove the temper and complexion of their bodies; from a notion
they had that epileptic and weakly children faint and waste away upon
their being thus bathed, while, on the contrary, those of a strong and
vigorous habit acquire firmness and get a temper by it, like steel.
There was much care and art, too, used by the nurses; they had no
swaddling bands; the children grew up free and unconstrained in limb and
form, and not dainty and fanciful about their food; not afraid in the
dark, or of being left alone; without any peevishness or ill humor or
crying. Upon this account, Spartan nurses were often bought up, or
hired by people of other countries; and it is recorded that she who
suckled Alcibiades was a Spartan; who, however, if fortunate in his
nurse, was not so in his preceptor; his guardian, Pericles, as Plato
tells us, chose a servant for that office called Zopyrus,
no better than any common slave.

Lycurgus was of another mind; he would not have masters bought out of
the market for his young Spartans, nor such as should sell their pains;
nor was it lawful, indeed, for the father himself to breed up the
children after his own fancy; but as soon as they were seven years old
they were to be enrolled in certain companies and classes, where they
all lived under the same order and discipline, doing their exercises and
taking their play together. Of these, he who showed the most conduct
and courage was made captain; they had their eyes always upon him,
obeyed his orders, and underwent patiently whatsoever punishment he
inflicted; so that the whole course of their education was one continued
exercise of a ready and perfect obedience. The old men, too, were
spectators of their performances, and often raised quarrels and disputes
among them, to have a good opportunity of finding out their different
characters, and of seeing which would be valiant, which a coward, when
they should come to more dangerous encounters. Reading and writing they
gave them, just enough to serve their turn; their chief care was to make
them good subjects, and to teach them to endure pain and conquer in
battle. To this end, as they grew in years, their discipline was
proportionably increased; their heads were close-clipped, they were
accustomed to go bare-foot, and for the most part to play naked.

After they were twelve years old, they were no longer allowed to wear
any under-garment; they had one coat to serve them a year; their bodies
were hard and dry, with but little acquaintance of baths and unguents;
these human indulgences they were allowed only on some few particular
days in the year. They lodged together in little bands upon beds made
of the rushes which grew by the banks of the river Eurotas, which they
were to break off with their hands without a knife; if it were winter,
they mingled some thistle-down with their rushes, which it was thought
had the property of giving warmth. By the time they were come to this
age, there was not any of the more hopeful boys who had not a lover to
bear him company. The old men, too, had an eye upon them, coming often
to the grounds to hear and see them contend either in wit or strength
with one another, and this as seriously and with as much concern as if
they were their fathers, their tutors, or their magistrates; so that
there scarcely was any time or place without someone present to put
them in mind of their duty, and punish them if they had neglected it.

Besides all this, there was always one of the best and honestest men in
the city appointed to undertake the charge and governance of them; he
again arranged them into their several bands, and set over each of them
for their captain the most temperate and boldest of those they called
Irens, who were usually twenty years old, two years out of the boys; and
the eldest of the boys, again, were Mell-Irens, as much as to say, who
would shortly be men. This young man, therefore, was their captain when
they fought, and their master at home, using them for the offices of his
house; sending the oldest of them to fetch wood, and the weaker and less
able, to gather salads and herbs, and these they must either go without
or steal; which they did by creeping into the gardens, or conveying
themselves cunningly and closely into the eating-houses; if they were
taken in the fact, they were whipped without mercy, for thieving so ill
and awkwardly. They stole, too, all other meat they could lay their
hands on, looking out and watching all opportunities, when people were
asleep or more careless than usual. If they were caught, they were not
only punished with whipping, but hunger, too, being reduced to their
ordinary allowance, which was but very slender, and so contrived on
purpose, that they might set about to help themselves, and be forced to
exercise their energy and address. This was the principal design of
their hard fare; there was another not inconsiderable, that they might
grow taller; for the vital spirits, not being overburdened and oppressed
by too great a quantity of nourishment; which necessarily discharges
itself into thickness and breadth, do, by their natural lightness, rise;
and the body, giving and yielding because it is pliant, grows in height.
The same thing seems, also, to conduce to beauty of shape; a dry and
lean habit is a better subject for nature's configuration, which the
gross and over-fed are too heavy to submit to properly. Just as we find
that women who take physic whilst they are with child, bear leaner and
smaller but better-shaped and prettier children; the material they come
of having been more pliable and easily molded. The reason, however, I
leave others to determine.

To return from whence we have digressed. So seriously did the
Lacedaemonian children go about their stealing, that a youth, having
stolen a young fox and hid it under his coat, suffered it to tear out
his very bowels with its teeth and claws, and died upon the place,
rather than let it be seen. What is practiced to this very day in
Lacedaemon is enough to gain credit to this story, for I myself have
seen several of the youths endure whipping to death at the foot of the
altar of Diana surnamed Orthia.

The Iren, or under-master, used to stay a little with them after supper,
and one of them he bade to sing a song, to another he put a question
which required an advised and deliberate answer; for example, Who was
the best man in the city? What he thought of such an action of such a
man? They used them thus early to pass a right judgment upon persons and
things, and to inform themselves of the abilities or defects of their
countrymen. If they had not an answer ready to the question Who was a
good or who an ill-reputed citizen, they were looked upon as of a dull
and careless disposition, and to have little or no sense of virtue and
honor; besides this, they were to give a good reason for what they said,
and in as few words and as comprehensive as might be; he that failed of
this, or answered not to the purpose, had his thumb bit by his master.
Sometimes the Iren did this in the presence of the old men and
magistrates, that they might see whether he punished them justly and in
due measure or not; and when he did amiss, they would not reprove him
before the boys, but, when they were gone, he was called to an account
and underwent correction, if he had run far into either of the extremes
of indulgence or severity.

Their lovers and favorers, too, had a share in the young boy's honor or
disgrace; and there goes a story that one of them was fined by the
magistrates, because the lad whom he loved cried out effeminately as he
was fighting. And though this sort of love was so approved among them,
that the most virtuous matrons would make professions of it to young
girls, yet rivalry did not exist, and if several men's fancies met in
one person, it was rather the beginning of an intimate friendship,
whilst they all jointly conspired to render the object of their
affection as accomplished as possible.

They taught them, also, to speak with a natural and graceful raillery,
and to comprehend much matter of thought in few words. For Lycurgus,
who ordered, as we saw, that a great piece of money should be but of an
inconsiderable value, on the contrary would allow no discourse to be
current which did not contain in few words a great deal of useful and
curious sense; children in Sparta, by a habit of long silence, came to
give just and sententious answers; for, indeed, as loose and incontinent
livers are seldom fathers of many children, so loose and incontinent
talkers seldom originate many sensible words. King Agis, when some
Athenian laughed at their short swords, and said that the jugglers on
the stage swallowed them with ease, answered him, "We find them long
enough to reach our enemies with;" and as their swords were short and
sharp, so, it seems to me, were their sayings. They reach the point and
arrest the attention of the hearers better than any. Lycurgus himself
seems to have been short and sententious, if we may trust the anecdotes
of him; as appears by his answer to one who by all means would set up
democracy in Lacedaemon. "Begin, friend," said he, "and set it up in
your family." Another asked him why he allowed of such mean and trivial
sacrifices to the gods. He replied, "That we may always have something
to offer to them." Being asked what sort of martial exercises or
combats he approved of, he answered, "All sorts, except that in which
you stretch out your hands." Similar answers, addressed to his
countrymen by letter, are ascribed to him; as, being consulted how they
might best oppose an invasion of their enemies, he returned this answer,
"By continuing poor, and not coveting each man to be greater than his
fellow." Being consulted again whether it were requisite to enclose the
city with a wall, he sent them word, "The city is well fortified which
hath a wall of men instead of brick." But whether these letters are
counterfeit or not is not easy to determine.

Of their dislike to talkativeness, the following apothegms are evidence.
King Leonidas said to one who held him in discourse upon some useful
matter, but not in due time and place, "Much to the purpose, Sir,
elsewhere." King Charilaus, the nephew of Lycurgus, being asked why his
uncle had made so few laws, answered, "Men of few words require but few
laws." When one blamed Hecataeus the sophist because that, being
invited to the public table, he had not spoken one word all supper-time,
Archidamidas answered in his vindication, "He who knows how to speak,
knows also when. "

The sharp and yet not ungraceful retorts which I mentioned may be
instanced as follows. Demaratus, being asked in a troublesome manner by
an importunate fellow, Who was the best man in Lacedaemon? answered at
last, "He, Sir, that is the least like you." Some, in company where
Agis was, much extolled the Eleans for their just and honorable
management of the Olympic tames; "Indeed," said Agis, "they are highly
to be commended if they can do justice one day in five years."
Theopompus answered a stranger who talked much of his affection to the
Lacedaemonians, and said that his countrymen called him Philolacon (a
lover of the Lacedaemonians), that it had been more for his honor if
they had called him Philopolites (a lover of his own countrymen). And
Plistoanax, the son of Pausanias, when an orator of Athens said the
Lacedaemonians had no learning, told him, "You say true, Sir; we alone
of all the Greeks have learned none of your bad qualities." One asked
Archidamidas what number there might, be of the Spartans; he answered,
"Enough, Sir, to keep out wicked men."

We may see their character, too, in their very jests. For they did not
throw them out at random, but the very wit of them was grounded upon
something or other worth thinking about. For instance, one, being asked
to go hear a man who exactly counterfeited the voice of a nightingale,
answered, "Sir, I have heard the nightingale itself." Another, having
read the following inscription upon a tomb,

Seeking to quench a cruel tyranny,
They, at Selinus, did in battle die,

said, it served them right; for instead of trying to quench the tyranny
they should have let it burn out. A lad, being offered some game-cocks
that would die upon the spot, said that he cared not for cocks that
would die, but for such that would live and kill others. Another,
seeing people easing themselves on seats, said, "God forbid I should
sit where I could not get up to salute my elders." In short, their
answers were so sententious and pertinent, that one said well that
intellectual much more truly than athletic exercise
was the Spartan characteristic.

Nor was their instruction in music and verse less carefully attended to
than their habits of grace and good breeding in conversation. And their
very songs had a life and spirit in them that inflamed and possessed
men's minds with an enthusiasm and ardor for action; the style of them
was plain and without affectation; the subject always serious and moral;
most usually, it was in praise of such men as had died in defense of
their country, or in derision of those that had been cowards; the former
they declared happy and glorified; the life of the latter they described
as most miserable and abject. There were also vaunts of what they would
do, and boasts of what they had done, varying with the various ages, as,
for example, they had three choirs in their solemn festivals, the first
of the old men, the second of the young men, and the last of the
children; the old men began thus:

We once were young, and brave and strong;

the young men answered them, singing,

And we're so now, come on and try;

the children came last and said,

But we'll be strongest by and by.

Indeed, if we will take the pains to consider their compositions, some
of which were still extant in our days, and the airs on the flute to
which they marched when going to battle, we shall find that Terpander
and Pindar had reason to say that music and valor were allied. The
first says of Lacedaemon--

The spear and song in her do meet,
And Justice walks about her street;

and Pindar--

Councils of wise elders here,
And the young men's conquering spear,
And dance, and song, and joy appear;

both describing the Spartans as no less musical than warlike; in the
words of one of their own poets--

With the iron stern and sharp
Comes the playing on the harp.

For, indeed, before they engaged in battle, the king first did sacrifice
to the Muses, in all likelihood to put them in mind of the manner of
their education, and of the judgment that would be passed upon their
actions, and thereby to animate them to the performance of exploits that
should deserve a record. At such times, too, the Lacedaemonians abated
a little the severity of their manners in favor of their young men,
suffering them to curl and adorn their hair, and to have costly arms,
and fine clothes; and were well pleased to see them, like proud horses,
neighing and pressing to the course. And therefore, as soon as they
came to be well-grown, they took a great deal of care of their hair, to
have it parted and trimmed, especially against a day of battle, pursuant
to a saying recorded of their lawgiver, that a large head of hair added
beauty to a good face, and terror to an ugly one.

When they were in the field, their exercises were generally more
moderate, their fare not so hard, nor so strict a hand held over them by
their officers, so that they were the only people in the world to whom
war gave repose. When their army was drawn up in battle array and the
enemy near, the king sacrificed a goat, commanded the soldiers to set
their garlands upon their heads, and the pipers to play the tune of the
hymn to Castor, and himself began the paean of advance. It was at once
a magnificent and a terrible sight to see them march on to the tune of
their flutes, without any disorder in their ranks, any discomposure in
their minds or change in their countenance, calmly and cheerfully moving
with the music to the deadly fight. Men, in this temper, were not
likely to be possessed with fear or any transport of fury, but with the
deliberate valor of hope and assurance, as if some divinity were
attending and conducting them. The king had always about his person
some one who had been crowned in the Olympic games; and upon this
account a Lacedaemonian is said to have refused a considerable present,
which was offered to him upon condition that he would not come into the
lists; and when he had with much to-do thrown his antagonist, some of
the spectators saying to him, "And now, Sir Lacedaemonian, what are you
the better for your victory?" he answered smiling, "I shall fight next
the king." After they had routed an enemy, they pursued him till they
were well assured of the victory, and then they sounded a retreat,
thinking it base and unworthy of a Grecian people to cut men in pieces,
who had given up and abandoned all resistance. This manner of dealing
with their enemies did not only show magnanimity, but was politic too;
for, knowing that they killed only those who made resistance, and gave
quarter to the rest, men generally thought it their best way to consult
their safety by flight.

Hippias the sophist says that Lycurgus himself was a great soldier and
an experienced commander. Philostephanus attributes to him the first
division of the cavalry into troops of fifties in a square body; but
Demetrius the Phalerian says quite the contrary, and that he made all
his laws in a continued peace. And, indeed, the Olympic holy truce, or
cessation of arms, that was procured by his means and management,
inclines me to think him a kind-natured man, and one that loved
quietness and peace. Notwithstanding all this, Hermippus tells us that
he had no hand in the ordinance; that Iphitus made it, and Lycurgus came
only as a spectator, and that by mere accident too. Being there, he
heard as it were a man's voice behind him, blaming and wondering at him
that he did not encourage his countrymen to resort to the assembly, and,
turning about and seeing no man, concluded that it was a voice from
heaven, and upon this immediately went to Iphitus, and assisted him in
ordering the ceremonies of that feast, which, by his means, were better
established, and with more repute than before.

To return to the Lacedaemonians. Their discipline continued still after
they were full-grown men. No one was allowed to live after his own
fancy; but the city was a sort of camp, in which every man had his share
of provisions and business set out, and looked upon himself not so much
born to serve his own ends as the interest of his country. Therefore,
if they were commanded nothing else, they went to see the boys perform
their exercises, to teach them something useful, or to learn it
themselves of those who knew better. And, indeed, one of the greatest
and highest blessings Lycurgus procured his people was the abundance of
leisure, which proceeded from his forbidding to them the exercise of any
mean and mechanical trade. Of the money-making that depends on
troublesome going about and seeing people and doing business, they had
no need at all in a state where wealth obtained no honor or respect.
The Helots tilled their ground for them, and paid them yearly in kind
the appointed quantity, without any trouble of theirs. To this purpose
there goes a story of a Lacedaemonian who, happening to be at Athens
when the courts were sitting, was told of a citizen that had been fined
for living an idle life, and was being escorted home in much distress of
mind by his condoling friends; the Lacedaemonian was much surprised at
it, and desired his friend to show him the man who was condemned for
living like a freeman. So much beneath them did they esteem the
frivolous devotion of time and attention to the mechanical arts
and to money-making.

It need not be said, that, upon the prohibition of gold and silver, all
lawsuits immediately ceased, for there was now neither avarice nor
poverty amongst them, but equality, where every one's wants were
supplied, and independence, because those wants were so small. All
their time, except when they were in the field, was taken up by the
choral dances and the festivals, in hunting, and in attendance on the
exercise-grounds and the places of public conversation. Those who were
under thirty years of age were not allowed to go into the marketplace,
but had the necessaries of their family supplied by the care of their
relations and lovers; nor was it for the credit of elderly men to be
seen too often in the marketplace; it was esteemed more suitable for
them to frequent the exercise-grounds and places of conversation, where
they spent their leisure rationally in conversation, not on money-making
and market-prices, but for the most part in passing judgment on some
action worth considering; extolling the good, and censuring those who
were otherwise, and that in a light and sportive manner, conveying,
without too much gravity, lessons of advice and improvement. Nor was
Lycurgus himself unduly austere; it was he who dedicated, says Sosibius,
the little statue of Laughter. Mirth, introduced seasonably at their
suppers and places of common entertainment, was to serve as a sort of
sweetmeat to accompany their strict and hard life. To conclude, he bred
up his citizens in such a way that they neither would nor could live by
themselves; they were to make themselves one with the public good, and,
clustering like bees around their commander, be by their zeal and public
spirit carried all but out of themselves, and devoted wholly to their
country. What their sentiments were will better appear by a few of
their sayings. Paedaretus, not being admitted into the list of the
three hundred, returned home with a joyful face, well pleased to find
that there were in Sparta three hundred better men than himself. And
Polycratidas, being sent with some others ambassador to the lieutenants
of the king of Persia, being asked by them whether they came in a
private or in a public character, answered, "In a public, if we
succeed; if not, in a private character." Argileonis, asking some who
came from Amphipolis if her son Brasidas died courageously and as became
a Spartan, on their beginning to praise him to a high degree, and saying
there was not such another left in Sparta, answered, "Do not say so;
Brasidas was a good and brave man,
but there are in Sparta many better than he."

The senate, as I said before, consisted of those who were Lycurgus's
chief aiders and assistants in his plans. The vacancies he ordered to be
supplied out of the best and most deserving men past sixty years old;
and we need not wonder if there was much striving for it; for what more
glorious competition could there be amongst men, than one in which it
was not contested who was swiftest among the swift or strongest of the
strong, but who of many wise and good was wisest and best, and fittest
to be entrusted for ever after, as the reward of his merits, with the
supreme authority of the commonwealth, and with power over the lives,
franchises, and highest interests of all his countrymen? The manner of
their election was as follows: the people being called together, some
selected persons were locked up in a room near the place of election, so
contrived that they could neither see nor be seen, but could only hear
the noise of the assembly without; for they decided this, as most other
affairs of moment, by the shouts of the people. This done, the
competitors were not brought in and presented all together, but one
after another by lot, and passed in order through the assembly without
speaking a word. Those who were locked up had writing-tables with them,
in which they recorded and marked each shout by its loudness, without
knowing in favor of which candidate each of them was made, but merely
that they came first, second, third, and so forth. He who was found to
have the most and loudest acclamations was declared senator duly
elected. Upon this he had a garland set upon his head, and went in
procession to all the temples to give thanks to the gods; a great number
of young men followed him with applauses, and women, also, singing verses
in his honor, and extolling the virtue and happiness of his life. As he
went round the city in this manner, each of his relations and friends
set a table before him, saying, "The city honors you with this
banquet;" but he, instead of accepting, passed round to the common table
where he formerly used to eat; and was served as before, excepting that
now he had a second allowance, which he took and put by. By the time
supper was ended, the women who were of kin to him had come about the
door; and he, beckoning to her whom he most esteemed, presented to her
the portion he had saved, saying, that it had been a mark of esteem to
him, and was so now to her; upon which she was triumphantly waited upon
home by the women.

Touching burials, Lycurgus made very wise regulations; for, first of
all, to cut of all superstition, he allowed them to bury their dead
within the city, and even round about their temples, to the end that
their youth might be accustomed to such spectacles, and not be afraid to
see a dead body, or imagine that to touch a corpse or to tread upon a
grave would defile a man. In the next place, he commanded them to put
nothing into the ground with them, except, if they pleased, a few olive
leaves, and the scarlet cloth that they were wrapped in. He would not
suffer the names to be inscribed, except only of men who fell in the
wars, or women who died in a sacred office. The time, too, appointed
for mourning, was very short, eleven days; on the twelfth, they were to
do sacrifice to Ceres, and leave it off; so that we may see, that as he
cut off all superfluity, so in things necessary there was nothing so
small and trivial which did not express some homage of virtue or scorn
of vice. He filled Lacedaemon all through with proofs and examples of
good conduct; with the constant sight of which from their youth up, the
people would hardly fail to be gradually formed and advanced in virtue.

And this was the reason why he forbade them to travel abroad, and go
about acquainting themselves with foreign rules of morality, the habits
of ill-educated people, and different views of government. Withal he
banished from Lacedaemon all strangers who could not give a very good
reason for their coming thither; not because he was afraid lest they
should inform themselves of and imitate his manner of government (as
Thucydides says), or learn any thing to their good; but rather lest they
should introduce something contrary to good manners. With strange
people, strange words must be admitted; these novelties produce
novelties in thought; and on these follow views and feelings whose
discordant character destroys the harmony of the state. He was as
careful to save his city from the infection of foreign bad habits, as
men usually are to prevent the introduction of a pestilence.

Hitherto I, for my part, see no sign of injustice or want of equity in
the laws of Lycurgus, though some who admit them to be well contrived to
make good soldiers, pronounce them defective in point of justice. The
Cryptia, perhaps (if it were one of Lycurgus's ordinances, as Aristotle
says it was), Gave both him and Plato, too, this opinion alike of the
lawgiver and his government. By this ordinance, the magistrates
dispatched privately some of the ablest of the young men into the
country, from time to time, armed only with their daggers, and taking a
little necessary provision with them; in the daytime, they hid
themselves in out-of-the-way places, and there lay close, but, in the
night, issued out into the highways, and killed all the Helots they
could light upon; sometimes they set upon them by day, as they were at
work in the fields, and murdered them. As, also, Thucydides, in his
history of the Peloponnesian war, tells us, that a good number of them,
after being singled out for their bravery by the Spartans, garlanded, as
enfranchised persons, and led about to all the temples in token of
honors, shortly after disappeared all of a sudden, being about the
number of two thousand; and no man either then or since could give an
account how they came by their deaths. And Aristotle, in particular,
adds, that the ephori, so soon as they were entered into their office,
used to declare war against them, that they might be massacred without a
breach of religion. It is confessed, on all hands, that the Spartans
dealt with them very hardly; for it was a common thing to force them to
drink to excess, and to lead them in that condition into their public
halls, that the children might see what a sight a drunken man is; they
made them to dance low dances, and sing ridiculous songs, forbidding
them expressly to meddle with any of a better kind. And, accordingly,
when the Thebans made their invasion into Laconia, and took a great
number of the Helots, they could by no means persuade them to sing the
verses of Terpander, Alcman, or Spendon, "For," said they, "the masters
do not like it." So that it was truly observed by one, that in Sparta
he who was free was most so, and he that was a slave there, the greatest
slave in the world. For my part, I am of opinion that these outrages
and cruelties began to be exercised in Sparta at a later time,
especially after the great earthquake, when the Helots made a general
insurrection, and, joining with the Messenians, laid the country waste,
and brought the greatest danger upon the city. For I cannot persuade
myself to ascribe to Lycurgus so wicked and barbarous a course, judging
of him from the gentleness of his disposition and justice upon all other
occasions; to which the oracle also testified.

When he perceived that his more important institutions had taken root in
the minds of his countrymen, that custom had rendered them familiar and
easy, that his commonwealth was now grown up and able to go alone, then,
as, Plato somewhere tells us, the Maker of the world, when first he saw
it existing and beginning its motion, felt joy, even so Lycurgus,
viewing with joy and satisfaction the greatness and beauty of his
political structure, now fairly at work and in motion, conceived the
thought to make it immortal too, and, as far as human forecast could
reach, to deliver it down unchangeable to posterity. He called an
extraordinary assembly of all the people, and told them that he now
thought every thing reasonably well established, both for the happiness
and the virtue of the state; but that there was one thing still behind,
of the greatest importance, which he thought not fit to impart until he
had consulted the oracle; in the meantime, his desire was that they
would observe the laws without any the least alteration until his
return, and then he would do as the god should direct him. They all
consented readily, and bade him hasten his journey; but, before he
departed, he administered an oath to the two kings, the senate, and the
whole commons, to abide by and maintain the established form of polity
until Lycurgus should be come back. This done, he set out for Delphi,
and, having sacrificed to Apollo, asked him whether the laws he had
established were good, and sufficient for a people's happiness and
virtue. The oracle answered that the laws were excellent, and that the
people, while it observed them, should live in the height of renown.
Lycurgus took the oracle in writing, and sent it over to Sparta; and,
having sacrificed the second time to Apollo, and taken leave of his
friends and his son, he resolved that the Spartans should not be
released from the oath they had taken, and that he would, of his own
act, close his life where he was. He was now about that age in which
life was still tolerable, and yet might be quitted without regret.
Every thing, moreover, about him was in a sufficiently prosperous
condition. He, therefore, made an end of himself by a total abstinence
from food; thinking it a statesman's duty to make his very death, if
possible, an act of service to the state, and even in the end of his
life to give some example of virtue and effect some useful purpose. He
would, on the one hand, crown and consummate his own happiness by a
death suitable to so honorable a life, and, on the other, would secure
to his countrymen the enjoyment of the advantages he had spent his life
in obtaining for them, since they had solemnly sworn the maintenance of
his institutions until his return. Nor was he deceived in his
expectations, for the city of Lacedaemon continued the chief city of all
Greece for the space of five hundred years, in strict observance of
Lycurgus's laws; in all which time there was no manner of alteration
made, during the reign of fourteen kings, down to the time of Agis, the
son of Archidamus. For the new creation of the ephori, though thought
to be in favor of the people, was so far from diminishing, that it very
much heightened, the aristocratical character of the government.

In the time of Agis, gold and silver first flowed into Sparta, and with
them all those mischiefs which attend the immoderate desire of riches.
Lysander promoted this disorder; for, by bringing in rich spoils from
the wars, although himself incorrupt, he yet by this means filled his
country with avarice and luxury, and subverted the laws and ordinances
of Lycurgus; so long as which were in force, the aspect presented by
Sparta was rather that of a rule of life followed by one wise and
temperate man, than of the political government of a nation. And as the
poets feign of Hercules, that, with his lion's skin and his club, he
went over the world, punishing lawless and cruel tyrants, so may it be
said of the Lacedaemonians, that, with a common staff and a coarse
coat, they gained the willing and joyful obedience of Greece, through
whose whole extent they suppressed unjust usurpations and despotisms,
arbitrated in war, and composed civil dissensions; and this often
without so much as taking down one buckler, but barely by sending some
one single deputy, to whose direction all at once submitted, like bees
swarming and taking their places around their prince. Such a fund of
order and equity, enough and to spare for others,
existed in their state.

And therefore I cannot but wonder at those who say that the Spartans
were good subjects, but bad governors, and for proof of it allege a
saying of king Theopompus, who, when one said that Sparta held up so
long because their kings could command so well, replied, "Nay, rather
because the people know so well how to obey." For people do not obey,
unless rulers know how to command; obedience is a lesson taught by
commanders. A true leader himself creates the obedience of his own
followers; as it is the last attainment in the art of riding to make a
horse gentle and tractable, so is it of the science of government, to
inspire men with a willingness to obey. The Lacedaemonians inspired men
not with a mere willingness, but with an absolute desire, to be their
subjects. For they did not send petitions to them for ships or money,
or a supply of armed men, but only for a Spartan commander; and, having
obtained one, used him with honor and reverence; so the Sicilians
behaved to Gylippus, the Chalcidians to Brasidas, and all the Greeks in
Asia to Lysander, Callicratidas, and Agesilaus; they styled them the
composers and chasteners of each people or prince they were sent to, and
had their eyes always fixed upon the city of Sparta itself, as the
perfect model of good manners and wise government. The rest seemed as
scholars, they the masters of Greece; and to this Stratonicus pleasantly
alluded, when in jest he pretended to make a law that the Athenians
should conduct religious processions and the mysteries, the Eleans
should preside at the Olympic games, and, if either did amiss, the
Lacedaemonians be beaten. Antisthenes, too, one of the scholars of
Socrates, said, in earnest, of the Thebans, when they were elated by
their victory at Leuctra, that they looked like schoolboys who had
beaten their master.

However, it was not the design of Lycurgus that his city should govern a
great many others; he thought rather that the happiness of a state, as
of a private man, consisted chiefly in the exercise of virtue, and in
the concord of the inhabitants; his aim, therefore, in all his
arrangements, was to make and keep them free-minded, self-dependent, and
temperate. And therefore all those who have written well on politics,
as Plato, Diogenes, and Zeno, have taken Lycurgus for their model,
leaving behind them, however, mere projects and words; whereas Lycurgus
was the author, not in writing but in reality, of a government which
none else could so much as copy; and while men in general have treated
the individual philosophic character as unattainable, he, by the example
of a complete philosophic state, raised himself high above all other
lawgivers of Greece. And so Aristotle says they did him less honor at
Lacedaemon after his death than he deserved, although he has a temple
there, and they offer sacrifices yearly to him as to a god.

It is reported that when his bones were brought home to Sparta his tomb
was struck with lightning; an accident which befell no eminent person
but himself, and Euripides, who was buried at Arethusa in Macedonia;
and it may serve that poet's admirers as a testimony in his favor, that
he had in this the same fate with that holy man and favorite of the
gods. Some say Lycurgus died in Cirrha; Apollothemis says, after he had
come to Elis; Timaeus and Aristoxenus, that he ended his life in Crete;
Aristoxenus adds that his tomb is shown by the Cretans in the district
of Pergamus, near the strangers' road. He left an only son, Antiorus,
on whose death without issue, his family became extinct. But his
relations and friends kept up an annual commemoration of him down to a
long time after; and the days of the meeting were called Lycurgides.
Aristocrates, the son of Hipparchus, says that he died in Crete, and
that his Cretan friends, in accordance with his own request, when they
had burned his body, scattered the ashes into the sea; for fear lest, if
his relics should be transported to Lacedaemon, the people might pretend
to be released from their oaths, and make innovations in the government.
Thus much may suffice for the life and actions of Lycurgus.


Though the pedigrees of noble families of Rome go back in exact form as
far as Numa Pompilius, yet there is great diversity amongst historians
concerning the time in which he reigned; a certain writer called
Clodius, in a book of his entitled Strictures on Chronology, avers that
the ancient registers of Rome were lost when the city was sacked by the
Gauls, and that those which are now extant were counterfeited, to
flatter and serve the humor of some men who wished to have themselves
derived from some ancient and noble lineage, though in reality with no
claim to it. And though it be commonly reported that Numa was a scholar
and a familiar acquaintance of Pythagoras, yet it is again contradicted
by others, who affirm, that he was acquainted with neither the Greek
language nor learning, and that he was a person of that natural talent
and ability as of himself to attain to virtue, or else that he found
some barbarian instructor superior to Pythagoras. Some affirm, also,
that Pythagoras was not contemporary with Numa, but lived at least five
generations after him; and that some other Pythagoras, a native of
Sparta, who, in the sixteenth Olympiad, in the third year of which Numa
became king, won a prize at the Olympic race, might, in his travel
through Italy, have gained acquaintance with Numa, and assisted him in
the constitution of his kingdom; whence it comes that many Laconian laws
and customs appear amongst the Roman institutions. Yet, in any case,
Numa was descended of the Sabines, who declare themselves to be a colony
of the Lacedaemonians. And chronology, in general, is uncertain;
especially when fixed by the lists of victors in the Olympic games,
which were published at a late period by Hippias the Elean, and rest on
no positive authority. Commencing, however, at a convenient point, we
will proceed to give the most noticeable events that are recorded of the
life of Numa.

It was the thirty-seventh year, counted from the foundation of Rome,
when Romulus, then reigning, did, on the fifth day of the month of July,
called the Caprotine Nones, offer a public sacrifice at the Goat's
Marsh, in presence of the senate and people of Rome. Suddenly the sky
was darkened, a thick cloud of storm and rain settled on the earth; the
common people fled in affright, and were dispersed; and in this
whirlwind Romulus disappeared, his body being never found either living
or dead. A foul suspicion presently attached to the patricians, and
rumors were current among the people as if that they, weary of kingly
government, and exasperated of late by the imperious deportment of
Romulus towards them, had plotted against his life and made him away,
that so they might assume the authority and government into their own
hands. This suspicion they sought to turn aside by decreeing divine
honors to Romulus, as to one not dead but translated to a higher
condition. And Proculus, a man of note, took oath that he saw Romulus
caught up into heaven in his arms and vestments, and heard him, as he
ascended, cry out that they should hereafter style him
by the name of Quirinus.

This trouble, being appeased, was followed by another, about the
election of a new king: for the minds of the original Romans and the new
inhabitants were not as yet grown into that perfect unity of temper, but
that there were diversities of factions amongst the commonalty, and
jealousies and emulations amongst the senators; for though all agreed
that it was necessary to have a king. yet what person or of which
nation, was matter of dispute. For those who had been builders of the
city with Romulus, and had already yielded a share of their lands and
dwellings to the Sabines, were indignant at any pretension on their part
to rule over their benefactors. On the other side, the Sabines could
plausibly allege, that, at their king Tatius's decease, they had
peaceably submitted to the sole command of Romulus; so now their turn
was come to have a king chosen out of their own nation; nor did they
esteem themselves to have combined with the Romans as inferiors, nor to
have contributed less than they to the increase of Rome, which, without
their numbers and association, could scarcely have merited the name of a

Thus did both parties argue and dispute their cause; but lest meanwhile
discord, in the absence of all command, should occasion general
confusion, it was agreed that the hundred and fifty senators should
interchangeably execute the office of supreme magistrate, and each in
succession, with the ensigns of royalty, should offer the solemn
sacrifices and dispatch public business for the space of six hours by
day and six by night; which vicissitude and equal distribution of power
would preclude all rivalry amongst the senators and envy from the
people, when they should behold one, elevated to the degree of a king,
leveled within the space of a day to the condition of a private citizen.
This form of government is termed, by the Romans, interregnum. Nor yet
could they, by this plausible and modest way of rule, escape suspicion
and clamor of the vulgar, as though they were changing the form of
government to an oligarchy, and designing to keep the supreme power in a
sort of wardship under themselves, without ever proceeding to choose a
king. Both parties came at length to the conclusion that the one should
choose a king out of the body of the other; the Romans make choice of a
Sabine, or the Sabines name a Roman; this was esteemed the best
expedient to put an end to all party spirit, and the prince who should
be chosen would have an equal affection to the one party as his electors
and to the other as his kinsmen. The Sabines remitted the choice to the
original Romans, and they, too, on their part, were more inclinable to
receive a Sabine king elected by themselves than to see a Roman exalted
by the Sabines. Consultations being accordingly held, they named Numa
Pompilius, of the Sabine race, a person of that high reputation for
excellence, that, though he were not actually residing at Rome, yet he
was no sooner nominated than accepted by the Sabines, with acclamation
almost greater than that of the electors themselves.

The choice being declared and made known to the people, principal men
of both parties were appointed to visit and entreat him, that he would
accept the administration of the government. Numa resided at a famous
city of the Sabines called Cures, whence the Romans and Sabines gave
themselves the joint name of Quirites. Pomponius, an illustrious
person, was his father, and he the youngest of his four sons, being (as
it had been divinely ordered) born on the twenty-first day of April, the
day of the foundation of Rome. He was endued with a soul rarely
tempered by nature, and disposed to virtue, which he had yet more
subdued by discipline, a severe life, and the study of philosophy; means
which had not only succeeded in expelling the baser passions, but also
the violent and rapacious temper which barbarians are apt to think
highly of; true bravery, in his judgment, was regarded as consisting in
the subjugation of our passions by reason.

He banished all luxury and softness from his own home, and, while
citizens alike and strangers found in him an incorruptible judge and
counselor, in private he devoted himself not to amusement or lucre, but
to the worship of the immortal gods, and the rational contemplation of
their divine power and nature. So famous was he, that Tatius, the
colleague of Romulus, chose him for his son-in-law, and gave him his
only daughter, which, however, did not stimulate his vanity to desire to
dwell with his father-in-law at Rome; he rather chose to inhabit with
his Sabines, and cherish his own father in his old age; and Tatia, also,
preferred the private condition of her husband before the honors and
splendor she might have enjoyed with her father. She is said to have
died after she had been married thirteen years, and then Numa, leaving
the conversation of the town, betook himself to a country life, and in a
solitary manner frequented the groves and fields consecrated to the
gods, passing his life in desert places. And this in particular gave
occasion to the story about the goddess, namely, that Numa did not
retire from human society out of any melancholy or disorder of mind.
but because he had tasted the joys of more elevated intercourse, and,
admitted to celestial wedlock in the love and converse of the goddess
Egeria, had attained to blessedness, and to a divine wisdom.

The story evidently resembles those very ancient fables which the
Phrygians have received and still recount of Attis, the Bithynians of
Herodotus, the Arcadians of Endymion, not to mention several others who
were thought blessed and beloved of the gods; nor does it seem strange
if God, a lover, not of horses or birds, but men, should not disdain to
dwell with the virtuous and converse with the wise and temperate soul,
though it be altogether hard, indeed, to believe, that any god or daemon
is capable of a sensual or bodily love and passion for any human form or
beauty. Though, indeed, the wise Egyptians do not unplausibly make the
distinction, that it may be possible for a divine spirit so to apply
itself to the nature of a woman, as to imbreed in her the first
beginnings of generation, while on the other side they conclude it
impossible for the male kind to have any intercourse or mixture by the
body with any divinity, not considering, however, that what takes place
on the one side, must also take place on the other; intermixture, by
force of terms, is reciprocal. Not that it is otherwise than befitting
to suppose that the gods feel towards men affection, and love, in the
sense of affection, and in the form of care and solicitude for their
virtue and their good dispositions. And, therefore, it was no error of
those who feigned, that Phorbas, Hyacinthus, and Admetus were beloved by
Apollo; or that Hippolytus the Sicyonian was so much in his favor, that,
as often as he sailed from Sicyon to Cirrha, the Pythian prophetess
uttered this heroic verse, expressive of the god's attention and joy:

Now doth Hippolytus return again,
And venture his dear life upon the main.

It is reported, also, that Pan became enamored of Pindar for his verses,
and the divine power rendered honor to Hesiod and Archilochus after
their death for the sake of the Muses; there is a statement, also, that
Aesculapius sojourned with Sophocles in his lifetime, of which many
proofs still exist, and that, when he was dead, another deity took care
for his funeral rites. And so if any credit may be given to these
instances, why should we judge it incongruous, that a like spirit of the
gods should visit Zaleucus, Minos, Zoroaster, Lycurgus, and Numa, the
controllers of kingdoms, and the legislators for commonwealths? Nay, it
may be reasonable to believe, that the gods, with a serious purpose,
assist at the councils and serious debates of such men, to inspire and
direct them; and visit poets and musicians, if at all, in their more
sportive moods; but, for difference of opinion here, as Bacchylides
said, "the road is broad." For there is no absurdity in the account
also given, that Lycurgus and Numa, and other famous lawgivers, having
the task of subduing perverse and refractory multitudes, and of
introducing great innovations, themselves made this pretension to divine
authority, which, if not true, assuredly was expedient for the interests
of those it imposed upon.

Numa was about forty years of age when the ambassadors came to make him
offers of the kingdom; the speakers were Proculus and Velesus, one or
other of whom it had been thought the people would elect as their new
king; the original Romans being for Proculus, and the Sabines for
Velesus. Their speech was very short, supposing that, when they came to
tender a kingdom, there needed little to persuade to an acceptance; but,
contrary to their expectation, they found that they had to use many
reasons and entreaties to induce one, that lived in peace and quietness,
to accept the government of a city whose foundation and increase had
been made, in a manner, in war. In presence of his father and his
kinsman Marcius, he returned answer that "Every alteration of a man's
life is dangerous to him; but madness only could induce one who needs
nothing and is satisfied with everything to quit a life he is
accustomed to; which, whatever else it is deficient in, at any rate has
the advantage of certainty over one wholly doubtful and unknown.
Though, indeed, the difficulties of this government cannot even be
called unknown; Romulus, who first held it, did not escape the suspicion
of having plotted against the life of his colleague Tatius; nor the
senate the like accusation, of having treasonably murdered Romulus. Yet
Romulus had the advantage to be thought divinely born and miraculously
preserved and nurtured. My birth was mortal; I was reared and
instructed by men that are known to you. The very points of my
character that are most commended mark me as unfit to reign,--love of
retirement and of studies inconsistent with business, a passion that has
become inveterate in me for peace, for unwarlike occupations, and for
the society of men whose meetings are but those of worship and of kindly
intercourse, whose lives in general are spent upon their farms and their
pastures. I should but be, methinks, a laughing-stock, while I should
go about to inculcate the worship of the gods, and give lessons in the
love of justice and the abhorrence of violence and war, to a city whose
needs are rather for a captain than for a king."

The Romans, perceiving by these words that he was declining to accept
the kingdom, were the more instant and urgent with him that he would not
forsake and desert them in this condition, and suffer them to relapse,
as they must, into their former sedition and civil discord, there being
no person on whom both parties could accord but on himself. And, at
length, his father and Marcius, taking him aside, persuaded him to
accept a gift so noble in itself, and tendered to him rather from heaven
than from men. "Though," said they, "you neither desire riches, being
content with what you have, nor court the fame of authority, as having
already the more valuable fame of virtue, yet you will consider that
government itself is a service of God, who now calls out into action
your qualities of justice and wisdom, which were not meant to be left
useless and unemployed. Cease, therefore, to avoid and turn your back
upon an office which, to a wise man, is a field for great and honorable
actions, for the magnificent worship of the gods, and for the
introduction of habits of piety, which authority alone can effect
amongst a people. Tatius, though a foreigner, was beloved, and the
memory of Romulus has received divine honors; and who knows but that
this people, being victorious, may be satiated with war, and, content
with the trophies and spoils they have acquired, may be, above all
things, desirous to have a pacific and justice-loving prince, to lead
them to good order and quiet? But if, indeed, their desires are
uncontrollably and madly set on war, were it not better, then, to have
the reins held by such a moderating hand as is able to divert the fury
another way, and that your native city and the whole Sabine nation
should possess in you a bond of good-will and friendship with this young
and growing power?"

With these reasons and persuasions several auspicious omens are said to
have concurred, and the zeal, also, of his fellow-citizens, who, on
understanding what message the Roman ambassadors had brought him,
entreated him to accompany them, and to accept the kingdom as a means to
unanimity and concord between the nations.

Numa, yielding to these inducements, having first performed divine
sacrifice, proceeded to Rome, being met in his way by the senate and
people, who, with an impatient desire, came forth to receive him; the
women, also, welcomed him with joyful acclamations, and sacrifices were
offered for him in all the temples, and so universal was the joy, that
they seemed to be receiving, not a new king, but a new kingdom. In this
manner he descended into the forum, where Spurius Vettius, whose turn it
was to be interrex at that hour, put it to the vote; and all declared
him king. Then the regalities and robes of authority were brought to
him; but he refused to be invested with them until he had first
consulted and been confirmed by the gods; so, being accompanied by the
priests and augurs, he ascended the Capitol, which at that time the
Romans called the Tarpeian Hill. Then the chief of the augurs covered
Numa's head, and turned his face towards the south, and, standing behind
him, laid his right hand on his head, and prayed, turning his eyes every
way, in expectation of some auspicious signal from the gods. It was
wonderful, meantime, with what silence and devotion the multitude stood
assembled in the forum in similar expectation and suspense, till
auspicious birds appeared and passed on the right. Then Numa,
appareling himself in his royal robes, descended from the hill to the
people, by whom he was received and congratulated with shouts and
acclamations of welcome, as a holy king, and beloved of all the gods.

The first thing he did at his entrance into government was to dismiss
the band of three hundred men which had been Romulus's life-guard,
called by him Celeres, saying, that he would not distrust those who put
confidence in him, nor rule over a people that distrusted him. The next
thing he did was to add to the two priests of Jupiter and Mars a third
in honor of Romulus, whom he called the Flamen Quirinalis. The Romans
anciently called their priests Flamines, by corruption of the word
Pilamines, from a certain cap which they wore, called Pileus. In those
times, Greek words were more mixed with the Latin than at present; thus
also the royal robe, which is called Laena, Juba says, is the same as
the Greek Chlaena; and that the name of Camillus, given to the boy with
both his parents living, who serves in the temple of Jupiter, was taken
from the name given by some Greeks to Mercury, denoting his office of
attendance on the gods.

When Numa had, by such measures, won the favor and affection of the
people, he set himself, without delay, to the task of bringing the hard
and iron Roman temper to somewhat more of gentleness and equity.
Plato's expression of a city in high fever was never more applicable
than to Rome at that time; in its origin formed by daring and warlike
spirits, whom bold and desperate adventure brought thither from every
quarter, it had found in perpetual wars and incursions on its neighbors
its after sustenance and means of growth and in conflict with danger the
source of new strength; like piles, which the blows of the rammer serve
to fix into the ground. Wherefore Numa, judging it no slight
undertaking to mollify and bend to peace the presumptuous and stubborn
spirits of this people, began to operate upon them with the sanctions of
religion. He sacrificed often, and used processions and religious
dances, in which most commonly he officiated in person; by such
combinations of solemnity with refined and humanizing pleasures, seeking
to win over and mitigate their fiery and warlike tempers. At times,
also, he filled their imaginations with religious terrors, professing
that strange apparitions had been seen, and dreadful voices heard; thus
subduing and humbling their minds by a sense of supernatural fears.

This method which Numa used made it believed that he had been much
conversant with Pythagoras; for in the philosophy of the one, as in the
policy of the other, man's relations to the deity occupy a great place.
It is said, also, that the solemnity of his exterior garb and gestures
was adopted by him from the same feeling with Pythagoras. For it is
said of Pythagoras, that he had taught an eagle to come at his call, and
stoop down to him in its flight; and that, as he passed among the people
assembled at the Olympic games, he showed them his golden thigh; besides
many other strange and miraculous seeming practices, on which Timon the
Phliasian wrote the distich,--

Who, of the glory of a juggler proud,
With solemn talk imposed upon the crowd.

In like manner Numa spoke of a certain goddess or mountain nymph that
was in love with him, and met him in secret, as before related; and
professed that he entertained familiar conversation with the Muses, to
whose teaching he ascribed the greatest part of his revelations; and
amongst them, above all, he recommended to the veneration of the Romans

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