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Such, then, are the qualities for which I praise Agesilaus. These are the marks that distinguish him, say, from the man who, lighting on a treasure, becomes wealthier but not wiser in business, or from the man who wins victory through an outbreak of sickness among the enemy, and adds to his success but not to his knowledge of strategy. The man who is foremost in endurance when the hour comes for toil, in valour when the contest calls for courage, in wisdom when the need is for counsel — he is the man, I think, who may fairly be regarded as the perfect embodiment of goodness. [2] If line and rule are a noble discovery of man as aids to the production of good work, I think that the virtue of Agesilaus may well stand as a noble example for those to follow who wish to make moral goodness a habit. For who that imitates a pious, a just, a sober, a self-controlled man, can come to be unrighteous, unjust, violent, wanton? In point of fact, Agesilaus prided himself less on reigning over others than on ruling himself, less on leading the people against their enemies than on guiding them to all virtue. [3]

However, let it not be thought, because one whose life is ended is the theme of my praise, that these words are meant for a funeral dirge.1 They are far more truly the language of eulogy. In the first place the words now applied to him are the very same that he heard in his lifetime. And, in the second place, what theme is less appropriate to a dirge than a life of fame and a death well-timed? What more worthy of eulogies than victories most glorious and deeds of sovereign worth? [4] Justly may the man be counted blessed who was in love with glory from early youth and won more of it than any man of his age; who, being by nature very covetous of honour, never once knew defeat from the day that he became a king; who, after living to the utmost limit of human life, died without one blunder to his account, either concerning the men whom he led or in dealing with those on whom he made war.

1 The reference is to the ceremonial hymns sung at or after funerals, which of course contained much that would not have been said or sung in the hero's life-time.

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