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Polybius, Histories, book 4, Chilon's Fruitless Attempts In Sparta (search)
and, making his way across
Laconia, arrived in Achaia alone and an exile. But the
Lacedaemonians who were in the territory of Megalopolis,
terrified by the arrival of Philip, stowed away all the goods
they had got from the country, and first demolished and
then abandoned the Athenaeum.
The fact is that the Lacedaemonians enjoyed a mostDecline of Sparta.
excellent constitution, and had a most extensive power, from the time of the legislation
of Lycurgus to that of the battle of Leuctra. B. C. 800 (?)-B. C. 371.
But after that event their fortune took an unfavourable turn;
and their political state continued ever growing worse and worse, until they finally suffered from a long succession of internal
struggles and partisan warfare; were repeatedly agitated
by schemes for the redivision of lands and the banishment of one party or another; and were subjected to the
severest possible slavery, culminating in the tyrannical government of Nabis: though the word "tyrant" was one which