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[143] they, it is true, have less freedom than their private citizens to do wrong,1 yet are much more enviable than those who hold despotic power by force; for those who take the lives of despots are given the highest rewards by their fellow citizens,2 whereas those Spartans who are not ready to lay down their lives for their kings in battle3 are held in greater dishonor than men who desert their post and throw away their shields.4

1 The Spartan kings were powerful in the field, but otherwise were subject to the Ephors, who could even have them put to death. See Gilbert, Greek Consitituional Antiquities pp. 46 ff. and 57 ff.

2 He has in mind the honors shown by the Athenians to the “tyrannicides,” Harmodius and Aristogeiton.

3 See Isoc. 5.80 and Isoc. Letter 2.6.

4 The ῥιψασπις was not only despised but suffered humiliations and penalties. In Athens, which was less rigorous than Sparta, he lost his political rights.

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    • Isocrates, To Philip, 80
    • Isocrates, Ad Philippum, 6
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