assembly of young men in Crete, who lived together from their seven-teenth
year till the time of their marriage. Up to the end of their sixteenth year
they remained in their father's house; and from the circumstance of their
belonging to no agela,
they were called ἀπάγαλοι.
They were then enrolled in agelae,
which were of an aristocratic nature, and
gave great power to particular families. An agela
always consisted of the sons of the most noble citizens, who were usually
under the jurisdiction of the father of the youth who had been the means of
collecting the agela.
It was the duty of this
person, called ἀγελάτης,
the military and gymnastic exercises of the youths (who were called ἀγέλαστοι
), to accompany them to the chase, and
to punish them when disobedient. He was accountable, however, to the state,
which supported the agela
at the public expense. All
the members of an agela
were obliged to marry at the
same time. When they ceased to belong to an agela,
they partook of the public meals for men (ἀνδρεῖα
]. These institutions were afterwards preserved in only a few
states of Crete, such for instance as Lyctus. (Ephorus, ap. Strab. x. p.480
, &c.; Heracl. Pont.
100.3; Höck, Creta,
iii. p. 100,
&c.; Muller, Dor.
Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterthumskunde,
vol. i. p. 362, 2nd ed.;
Krause, Die Gymnastik u. Agonistik d. Hellenen,
&c.) At Sparta the youths left their parents' houses at seven years
of age and entered the βοῦαι.