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AG´ELA (ἀγέλη), an 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, to superintend 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) [SYSSITIA]. 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. 4.5.3; Hermann, Griech. Staatsalterthümer, § 22; Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterthumskunde, vol. i. p. 362, 2nd ed.; Krause, Die Gymnastik u. Agonistik d. Hellenen, p. 690, &c.) At Sparta the youths left their parents' houses at seven years of age and entered the βοῦαι.


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