Examples of Actions Contrary to Principles
And there are many proofs of this to be found in past
Examples to the contrary. 1. Agathocles.
history if any one will give the necessary
attention. Is it not universally stated by
the historians that Agathocles, tyrant of
, after having the reputation of extreme cruelty in his
original measures for the establishment of his dynasty, when
he had once become convinced that his power over the
Siceliots was firmly established, is considered to have become
the most humane and mild of rulers? Again, was not
Cleomenes of Sparta
a most excellent king, a
most cruel tyrant, and then again as a private
individual most obliging and benevolent? And yet it is not
reasonable to suppose the most opposite dispositions to exist
in the same nature.
They are compelled to change with the
changes of circumstances: and so some rulers often display to
the world a disposition as opposite as possible to their true
nature. Therefore the natures of men not only are not brought
out by such things, but on the contrary are rather obscured.
The same effect is produced also not only in commanders,
despots, and kings, but in states also, by the suggestions of
For instance, you will find the
Athenians responsible for very few tyrannical
acts, and of many kindly and noble ones, while Aristeides and
Pericles were at the head of the state: but quite the reverse
when Cleon and Chares were so.
And when the Lacedaemonians were supreme in Greece
, all the
measures taken by King Cleombrotus were
conceived in the interests of their allies, but those by
Agesilaus not so. The characters of states therefore vary
with the variations of their leaders.
Philip again, when Taurion and Demetrius
were acting with him, was most impious in his conduct, but
when Aratus or Chrysogonus, most humane.