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Next comes his Justice in money matters. Of this what proofs can be more convincing than the following? No man ever made any complaint that he had been defrauded by Agesilaus: but many acknowledged that they had received many benefits from him. One who delighted to give away his own for the good of others could not possibly be minded to defraud others at the price of disgrace. For if he had coveted money it would have cost him far less trouble to keep his own than to take what did not belong to him. [2] A man who would not leave unpaid debts of gratitude, which are not recoverable in the courts, cannot have been minded to commit thefts that are forbidden by law. And Agesilaus held it wrong not only to repudiate a debt of gratitude, but, having greater means, not to render in return a much greater kindness. [3] Again, with what show of reason could embezzlement of public property be charged against a man who bestowed on his fatherland the rewards due to himself? And is it not a striking proof of his freedom from avarice that he was able to get money from others, whenever he wanted, for the purpose of rendering financial assistance to the state or his friends? [4] For had he been in the habit of selling his favours or taking payment for his benefactions, no one would have felt that he owed him anything. It is the recipient of unbought, gratuitous benefits who is always glad to oblige his benefactor in return for the kindness he has received and in acknowledgment of the trust reposed in him as a worthy and faithful guardian of a favour.1 [5]

Further, is it not certain that the man who by a noble instinct refused to take more and preferred to take less than his just share was far beyond the reach of covetousness? Now when the state pronounced him sole heir to the property of Agis, he gave half of it to his mother's kinsfolk, because he saw that they were in want; and all Lacedaemon bears witness that my statement is true. [6] On receiving from Tithraustes an offer of gifts unnumbered if only he would leave his country, Agesilaus answered: “Among us, Tithraustes, a ruler's honour requires him to enrich his army rather than himself, and to take spoils rather than gifts from the enemy.”

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    • Xenophon, Symposium, 8.36
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