« PreviousContinue »
oracle. As soon as he had entered the vestibule, the Pythian exclaimed aloud,
Thou com’st, Lycurgus, to this honour'd shrine,
Doubtless to heav’n most dear and most allied. It is farther asserted by some, that the priestess dictated to him those institutes, which are now observed at Sparta: but the Lacedæmonians themselves affirm, that Lycurgus brought them from Crete, while he was guardian to his nephew Leobotas king of Sparta. In consequence of this trust, having obtained the direction of the legislature, he made a total change in the constitution, and took effectual care to secure a strict observance of whatever he introduced: he newmodelled the military code, appointing the Enomotiæ, the Triacades, and the Syssitia; he instituted also the Ephori 9 and the senate *.
9 Strict observance.]—There were some Lacedæmonians who, deeming the laws of Lycurgus too severe, chose rather to leave their country than submit to them. These passed over to the Sabines in Italy; and when these people were incorporated with the Romans, communicated to them a portion of their Lacedæmonian manners.--Larcher.
92 The glossary at the end of Wesseling's edition explains the Enomatia to be an order in tactics among the Athenians. See Thucydides, v. p. 359. Xenophon. Laced. Pol. chap. xi. The Triecada and the Syssitia, were a public supper of a certain number. This is the substance of Larcher's long and [*] For this reference see page 108.
LXVI. The manners of the people became thus more polished and improved: after his death,
elaborate note on this subject; upon which also the reader may consult Cragius.
The following account of the Ephori, as collected and compressed from the ancient Greek writers, is given from the Voyage du Jeune Anacharsis:
“ Aristotle, Plutarch, Cicero, Valerius Maximus, and Dion Chrysostom, were of opinion, that the Ephori were first instituted by Theopompus, who reigned almost a hundred years after the time of Lycurgus. Herodotus, Plato, and another ancient author named Satyrus, ascribe the institution to Lycurgus. The Ephori were an intermediate body betwixt the kings and the senate. They were called Ephori, or inspectors, because their attention was extended to every part of the machine of government. They were five in number; and, to prevent any abuse of their authority, they were chosen anpually by the people, the defenders of whose rights they were. They superintended the education of the youth. Every day they appeared in public, to decide causés, to arbitrate differences, and to prevent the introduction of any thing which might tend to the corruption of youth. They could oblige magistrates to render an account of their administration; they might even suspend them from their functions, and drag them to prison. The kings themselves were conpelled to obey the third summons to appear before the Ephori and answer for any imputed fault. The whole executive power was vested in their hands: they received foreign ambassadors, levied troops, and gave the general his orders, whom they could recal at pleasure. So many privileges secured them a veneration, which they justified from the rewards they bestowed on merit, by their attachment to ancient maxims, and by the firmness with which, on several occasions, they brc';e the force of conspiracies, which menaced the tranquillity of the state.”—T.
they revered Lycurgus as a divinity, and erected a sacred edifice to his memory93 From this period, having a good and populous territory, they rapidly rose to prosperity and power. Dissatisfied with the language and inactivity of peace,
* Lycurgus having reinarked that the Princes of his family who reigned al Argos and Messina, had degenerated into tyrants, and that in ruining their states, they had destroyed themselves, fearing the same catastrophe for his own city, instituted the Senate and the Ephori, as a salutary counterpoise to the royal authority. The Senators were twentyeight in number. Lycurgus also instituted Knights at Sparta, upon the model of the Equestrian order in Crete, with this difference, that the Knights of Crete had horses, those of Sparta, none.- Larcher.
It is the opinion of Strabo, that there is so great a resemblance between the laws of Minos and Lycurgus, that the latter must necessarily have borrowed his ideas on this subject from the former. Lycurgus endeavoured to persuade the Spartans that he was prompted by Apollo; so did Minos the Cretans, that he received his laws from Jupiter.
93 To his memory.]—The Lacedæmonians having bound themselves by an oath not to abrogate any of the laws of Lycurgus before his return to Sparta, the legislator went to consult the oracle at Sparta. He was told by the Pythian, that Sparta would be happy, as long as his laws were observed. Upon this he resolved to return no more, that he might thus be secure of the observance of these institutions, to which they were so solemnly bound: he went to Crisa, and there slew himself. The Lacedæmonians, bearing of this, in testimony of his former virtue, as well as of that which he discovered in his death, erected to him a temple, with an altar, at which they annually offered sacrifice to his honour, as to a hero. The above fact is mentioned both by Pausanias and Plutarch.-Larcher.
and conceiving themselves in all respects superior to the Tegeans, they sent to consult the oracle concerning the entire conquest of Arcadia. The Pythian thus answered them:
Ask ye Arcadia? ?tis a bold demand;
No sooner had the Lacedæmonians received this reply, than, leaving the other parts of Arcadia unmolested, they proceeded to attack the Tegeans, carrying a quantity of fetters with them. They relied upon the evasive declaration of the oracle, and imagined that they should infallibly reduce the Tegeans to servitude. They engaged them, and were defeated 94: as many as were taken captive, were loaded with the fetters which themselves had brought, and thus employed in laborious service in the fields of the Tegeans. These chains were preserved, even in my remembrance, in
94 Were defeated.]—This incident happened during the reign of Charillus. The women of Tegea took up arnıs, and, placing themselves in ambuscade at the foot of mount Phylactris, they rushed upon the Lacedæmonians, who were already engaged with the Tegeans, and put them to flight. The above is from Pausanias.-- Larcher.-Polyænus relatęs the same fact.
Tegea, suspended round the temple of the Alean Minerva 95.
LXVII. In the beginning of their contests with the Tegeans, they were uniformly unsuccessful; but in the time of Creesus, when Anaxandrides and Ariston had the government of Sparta, they experienced a favourable change of fortune; which is thus to be explained:
Having repeatedly been defeated by the Tegeans, they sent to consult the Delphic oracle, what particular deity they had to appease, to become victorious over their adversaries. The Pythian assured them of success, if they brought back the body of Orestes, son of Agamemnon. Unable to discover his tomb, they sent a second time, to enquire concerning the place of his inter
95 Temple of the Alean Minerva.]—This custom of suspending in sacred buildings the spoils taken from the enemy, commencing in the most remote and barbarous ages, has been continued to the present period. See Samuel, book ii. chap. 8. “ And David took the shields of gold which were on the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem; which king David did dedicate unto the Lord, with the silver and gold of all nations which he subdued.”
These fetters taken from the Lacedæmonians were seen also in this temple in the time of Pausanias. It is usual too with the moderns, to suspend in churches the colours taken from the enemy.--T.