« EelmineJätka »
made them a people of soldiers and warriors, that under the protection of their arms they might live in liberty, moderation, justice, union, and peace, contenting ihemselves with their own territories, without usurping those of others, and convinced that a city, no less than a private man, can never hope for solid and lasting happiness by any other means but yirtue. Men of corrupt manners, [c] adds Plutarch, who think nothing more valuable than riches, and a powerful and large dominion, may give the preference to those vast empires, which have subdued the world by violence; but Lycurgus was convinced that nothing of this kind was necessary to make a people happy. Equity, moderation, liberty, and peace, were the principal end of his policy, which has so justly been the admiration of all the ages, as it was an utter enemy to all wrong, violence, ambition, or a desire of ruling and extending the bounds of the Spartan republic. Reflections of this kind, which are frequent in Plutarch's lives, and are the greatest and most valuable beauty, may very much contribute to give youth a true notion of the solid glory of a state really happy, and may early undeceive them in the mistakes they are apt to form of the vain grandeur of those empires, which bave swallowed up the kingdoms of the earth, and those famous conquerors, who owe their rise to usurpation and violence.
3. The excellent Education of Youth. The long duration of the laws established by Lycurgus, is certainly a very wonderful circumstance; but the method he made use of to make them so lasting, is no less worthy of our admiration; and this was the extraordinary care be took in training up the children of the Lacedæmonians to an exact and severe σύλιν· αλλ' ώσπερ ενός άνδρός βίω και ελευθέριοι και αυτάρκεις γενόμενοι και πόλεως όλης νομίζων ευδαιμονίαν απ’ αρετής Cωφρονούντες επι πλείςον χρόνον διατελώσι. iyyiveodao xai šuovoices rūs wpàs avtīv, Plut. in Vit. Lycurg: προς τούτο συνέταξε και συνήρμοσεν, όπως [c] Plut. ibid. & in Vit. Agesil. VOL. III.
discipline. For, as Plutarch makes him observe, the religion of an oath would be but a seeble tie, if the laws were not imprinted in their manners by education and habitude, and a regard for his institutions sucked in almost with their milk. And thus we see his ordinances lasted for above five hundred years, [d] like a strong dye, that had penetrated quite through the substance. [e] Tully makes the same remark, and imputes the courage and virtue of the Spartans, not so much to their good natural disposition, as to the excellent education they received at Sparta. Cujus civitatis spectata ac nobilitata virtus, non solùm nuturâ corroborata, verùm etiam disciplinâ putatur. Which shews us how nearly the state is concerned to see its youth brought up in a manner proper to inspire them with a love for the laws of their country.
It was the great principle of Lycurgus, [F] which Aristotle repeats in express terms, that as children belong to the state, they should be brought up by the state, and according to the intention of the state. For this reason he required them to be educated publicly and in common, and not left to the fancy of parents, [g] who generally, through a blind indulgence, and mistaken tenderness, enervate at once both the body and mind of their children. At Sparta they were inured from their infancy to labour and fatigue, by the exercises of hunting and running; they were taught to bear hunger and thirst, heat and cold. And what mothers can bardly be persuaded to believe, all these severe and painful exercises tended to make them healthful and robust, capable of supporting the fatigues of war, to which they were all destined, and actually
[d] "Ωσπερ βαφής ακράτε και ισχυράς ποιείσθαι και την άσκησιν. Αrist. 1. 8. καθαψαμένης. .
Polit. [e] Orat. pro Flacco, n. 63. [g] Mollis illa educatio, quam
[f] ox xgñ yopib ev aŭtò avroũ indulgentiam vocamus, nervos onτινα είναι των πολιτών, αλλά πάντας
nes & mentis & corporis frangit. της πόλεως, . Atã de Fly Louvữy xouvrir Quint. I. 1. c. 2.
But the most excellent branch of the Spartan edu. cation was, that it taught children perfectly to obey.  Whence the poet Simonides gives this city a magnificent epithet, implying that Sparta alone could tame the mind, and render men pliable and submissive to the laws, like horses that are curbed and brought under whilst they are very young.
For this reason Agesilaus advised Xenophon to send his sons to Sparta, [i] that they might learn there the greatest and best of sciences, how to govern, and be governed. He had been well instructed in it bimself, and knew the full value of it. Plutarch observes, that he did not attain the supreme command, [k] like the other kings, without having first perfectly learned to obey, and for this reason [l] he was the only one amongst all the Lacedæmonian kings, who had the refined art of agreeing entirely with his subjects, and uniting in his person with a greatness truly royal, and a natural nobleness of manners, that air of goodness, humanity, and popular affability, which he had derived from his education.
He afterwards gave the most memorable example of submission to the law and public authority to be found in history; and Xenophon and Plutarch justly prefer it to the most glorious of his other actions. After having gained very considerable victories over the Persians, ali Asia being in commotion, and most of the provinces ready to revolt, he determined to fall upon the king of Persia in the heart of his dominions, and was preparing to set out for this great expedition. In the mean while a messenger arrives to tell him that Sparta was threatened with a terrible war, that the ephori recalled him to the assistance of his country.
[k] Aapasiubere the tamer of [l] Διό και πολύ των βασιλέων ευαρ:
μόςατον αυτόν τους υπηκόους παρέσχε, τα [i] Μαθησομένους των μαθημάτων το φύσει ηγεμόνικών και βασιλικό προσκλη» κάλλισον, άσχεσθαι και άρχειν.
σάμενω από της αγωγής το δημόσικον και [k] At Sparta, the children de- ponavapwncy. signed for the throne were excused the severity of their discipline.
Agesilaus Agesilaus immediately sets forward without deliberating a moment, crying out, Oh wretched Greeks, greater enemies to yourselves than the Barbarians ! A man must have been absolutely master of himself, and have a great respect for public authority, to abandon with so instant an obedience all the conquests he had made, and the future hopes of success, which were almost as certain as the past.
Princes, [m] says Plutarch, generally place their grandeur in commanding others, and being subject to nobody They often affect an ignorance of their duty, lest the light of reason should subject themselves, and blunt the edge and force of an authority, to which they would willingly set'no bounds. Who iken, adds Plutarch, shall be the master of kings, who have no other? Why the law, that sovereign queen of gods and men, as Pindar calls it; a law, not written in tables, but engraven on the heart, which will constantly attend upon them, and never forsake them, but exercise a mild though absolute dominion over their minds. An officer stood by the king of Persia's bedside every morning, to say to him, Sir, remember you fulfil the ordinances of Oromasdes : he was the lawgiver of the Persians. The love of justice and the public good says as much to every understanding and sensible prince.
To give us a better notion of the character of the Lacedæmonians, and their perfect submission to the laws, I shah here quote a passage from Herodotus, which well deserves our notice. When Xerxes was upon the point of entering Greece, he asks Demaratus one of the Spartan kings, who had fled to court for refuge, if he thought the Greeks would dare to withstand him, and desired he would speak his sentiments sincerely. “Since you require it, replies Demaratus, “ truth shall speak to you by my mouth. [n] Greece " indeed has ever been bred up in [m] Plut. ad Principem Indoc- the close of this article, with some “ bad virtue also, improved by wisdom, and sup
remarks upon a difficult expression [n] I shall insert the Greek text in it. I of this passage of Herodotus at
poverty; but has
ported by the vigour of the laws. And from the
use she has made of this virtue, Greece has equally “ preserved herself from the inconveniences of pover
ty, and the yoke of subjection. But to confine my“ self to my own Lacedæmonians, be assured, that; s born and nurtured as they are at liberty, they will
never hearken to any proposal that tends to slavery. " Were they forsaken by all the other Greeks, and re• duced to a troop of a thousand soldiers, or even a « less number, they would make head against you,
and never decline the battle.” The king smiled at this discourse, and as he could not comprehend, how men so free and independent as the Lacedæmonians were said to be, without any masters to controul them, should be capable of exposing themselves in such a manner to dangers and death;  “ They are free " and independent of every man, replies Demaratus, " but they have a law above them by which they are '
ruled, and they are more afraid of that law, than
your subjects are of you. Now this law forbids " them ever to fly in battle from their enemies, how
great soever the number of them may be, and commands them to keep firm to their posts, and either
conquer or die.” And it happened as Demaratus had foretold. Three hundred Lacedæmonians, with Leonidas one of the Spartan kings at their head, ventured to dispute the passage of Thermopylæ with the innumerable army of the Persians. And at last, after incredible efforts of valour, overpowered by numbers rather than conquered, they all fell with their prince, except one man who escaped to Lacedæmon, where he was used like a coward, and a traitor to his country. A magnificent monument was afterwards raised for those brave champions of Greece on the very spot
[o] Ελέυθεροι γαρ εόντες, ου πάντα εκτιν· ανιώγη ανώγει δε τ' αυτό αιεί, ουκ εών ελευθεροι ειισι· έπεςι γαρ Cφι δεσπότης, φεύγειν ουδέν σγήθG- ανδρών εκ μάχης, όμο, τον υποδειμαίνουσι πολλω έτι αλλά μένοντας εν τη τάξει, επικραλέειν, μάλλον, ή οι Coί Cε ποιεϊσι γούν τα αν η απόλλυσθαι.