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strance, it was determined to dig a wide ditch round the city; and the women undertook a third part of it, engaging to finish their task before morning. When the day dawned, and the troops of Pyrrhus were seen in motion, the ladies armed their men for the fight; and as they buckled their armour, and placed the spears in their hands, represented to them the glory of death or victory, met within sight of their wives and mothers. A violent attack was made, and the engagement, beginning with the day, only terminated at its close. On the second day, the assault was no less vigourous than the first; the women remained all day in the entrenchments, supplying the soldiers with arms, ammunition, and food, binding up their wounds, and carrying them off when disabled. On the third day, Sparta would. probably have fallen, had not the arrival of Areus, with fresh troops, saved the city and obliged the besiegers to withdraw. Of this king Areus we know no more; except that he is said to have addressed a letter to the high priest of Jerusalem in the following terms: "Areus, king of the Lacedæmonians, to Onias, the high priest, greeting : it is found in writing that the Lacedæmonians and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham: now, therefore, since this is come to our knowledge, you shall do well to write to us of your peace.

The names of the kings of Sparta now become almost as obscure in the decline of her fortunes, as they had been in their first ascension. We have next Acrotatus and Archidamus IV., Eudamidas and Leonidas, of whom we have little to relate. In the reign of the last, a law was passed, allowing men to dispose of their lands by gift or sale, or by will at their death. This was subversive of the whole character of the Spartan constitution, of which the foundation was the unalienably equality of possessions. In a very short time, not above a hundred of the ancient Spartan families retained any lands, the remainder living idly in the ty,

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without wealth or employment, their spirits sinking with their fortunes, and with the declining credit or glory of

their country.

.: One prince, Agis, the son of Eudamidas, made an insuccessful effort to restore the ancient usages of Sparta and the laws of Lycurgus. Though reared in modern effeminacy by his parents, he very early threw off these habits of vanity, and assumed in every thing the old Laconic style of living. His measures of reform too, were early taken and maturely deliberated. We are told that he first gained over the Spartan ladies to his scheme, who had very considerable influence in publick affairs, and were willing to part from their dress, their trinkets, and finery, all forbidden in the ancient law, so that Sparta might regain her former glories.

The mass of the people were not difficult to gain: they ever love change, and could not be losers by this. But those in whose hands wealth had accumulated, were ill content to part from it, as they must have done, to restore the former system of equality. Agis, though opposed by his royal colleague, Leonidas, proceeded so far as to present a decree to the senate, by which all debts should be remitted, and all lands again divided into equal portions. That this proposition should have been made so frequently in the state both of Greece and Rome, and in many others, must have been occasioned by the idea with which some men are possessed, that all have equal rights to the soil, and that it is the interest of society that all men should be equal. We have noticed before the falseness of these opinions, and the injustice of such proceedings; by which that which themselves or their fathers had accumulated, and which the original possessors, if it had ever been in the posses sion of others, bad for some consideration of their own consented to part from, or by some providential circunistance been deprived of, was wrested from the hands of those who had gained it, to be given back again to those who had parted from it. Nothing can be more inequi

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table than such a measure ; and how little such a state of equality is in the design of providence, or the nature of human affairs, is sufficiently proved by the absolute impossibility of maintaining it for many years together. The senate of Sparta refused to pass the law : but in consequence of tumults and divisions which ensued between the kings, Leonidas was obliged to fly, and Cleombrotus, his successor, being of the same mind with Agis, an attempt was again made to enforce it. In part this was effected, so far as to the remission of all debts—but when they came again to attempt the division of lands, the tide of popular opinion turned against them; Leonidas was recalled, and Agis and Cleombrotus were obliged to fly to the temples for safety. The life of Cleombrotus was saved by his wife Chelonis, the daughter of Leonidas. The ladies of Sparta seem yet to have preserved their pristine character. When her father was driven into banishment, Chelonis abandoned her husband as an usurper, and fled with him to exile. Now that her father was the triumphant persecutor, sbe returned to her husband, saved his life by her entreaties, and went with him into exile in spite of her father's efforts to retain her.

King Agis still kept the sanctuary, whither his friends came daily to condole with him, conveyed him to the baths, and guarded him in safety back again. But ere long, betrayed by these treacherous guards, whom Leonidas corrupted, he was seized and brought before the Ephori, where Leonidas sate prepared to judge him. As soon as the king came in, he asked him how he durst attempt to change the government, at which he smiled, and made not any answer. Provoked, they bade him rather weep than smile, for they should make him sensible of his presumption. Another asked him whether he had been constrained to these measures by the influence of others; to which, with composure, Agis answered, “I was constrained by no man, the design was mine, and my intent was, to restore the laws of

Lycurgus, and to govern by them.” “Bút do you not,” said one of his judges, “repent of your rashness ?” “ No," he answered, “though I see my death is inevitable, I can never repent so just and honourable an intention.” The Ephori ordered him to be carried out and strangled. Agis, about to die, perceiving one who bitterly bėwailed his misfortune, said to him, “ Weep not, friend, for me, who die innocently, but grieve for those who are guilty of this deed ; my condition is better than theirs.” Then stretching out his neck, he suffered with a constancy that became his royal dignity and his exalted character. As soon as Agis was dead, Amphares, one of those who had betrayed him, came out to the prison gate, and met the mother and grandmother soliciting admission. He told them they need fear no further violence to their son; and if they pleased, they might go in and see him.

When they had entered the prison, he commanded the gate to be locked and the grandmother to be first introduced; she was very old, and had passed her days with much reputation of virtue and wisdom. As soon as Amphares thought she was dispatched, he told the mother she might go in also. Agesistrata entered and beheld her son stretched lifeless on the ground, and her mother suspended by the neck. For a moment she stood in silent horror; then recalling her spirits, assisted the soldiers to take down the body of her mother, and decently covering it, laid it by the corpse of her son. Him she embraced and kissed, exclaiming, "O my son, it is thy great goodness that has brought thee to this end." Amphares entered as she spake, and said, “Since you approve his deeds, it is fit you share in his reward.” Agesistrata rising, met her fate with only these few words—“I pray the gods that this may redound to the good of Sparta.”

To Leonidas succeeded his son Cleomenes, a prince of much virtue and enterprise. He too had schemes of reformation for Sparta, but felt that nothing could be


done unless he could rid himself of the Epbori. To effect this purpose, he took advantage of a war in which he was engaged with the Achæans, a neighbouring state assuming some importance under their hero, Aratus, as Thebes had done under Epaminondas-a brief glory, dependent on the life of one man. Having gained for himself the command, Cleomenes led into the field all whom he most suspected of opposing his designs. He there performed many worthy actions; but took care so to harass and fatigue his army, that most of them desired to repose themselves in Arcadia when the king was to return. With the remainder, he slowly approached Lacedæmon. As he drew near the city, he sent forward a party of bis confidants, who surprised the Ephori at supper, and slew four of them—the fifth escaped by counterfeiting death, till he could retire to the sanctuary. On the morrow, Cleomenes came into the forum, ordered the chairs of the Ephori to be removed, excepting one on which he placed himself, and harangued the people in justification of his conduct. He showed them the necessity of restoring the institutions of Lycurgus, and assured them, though compelled to begin with violence, he would hereafter govern in strict adherence to the laws. He was the first to deliver into the publick stock all that he possessed, and his friends and relations followed the example. In dividing the lands, he assigned equal shares to those whom he had banished, intending to recall them as soon as the safety of the state would permit. He restored the old Laconic mode of educating the youth, of eating in publick, and performing their exercises together. There being at this time no king but himself, he associated his brother Euclidas with him on the throne, that the mode of government might be in no way changed. But the most prevailing influence of Cleomenes arose from his own character and conduct, conforming in every thing to the habits of the meanest citizens. There was in his house no purple furniture, or canopies of state, or chairs or couches for indulgence;

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