The Lacedaemonians appear in very early times, before the legislation of
Lycurgus, to have been averse to intercourse with foreigners (ξένοισι ἀπρόσμικτοι,
). This disposition was encouraged by
the lawgiver, who made an ordinance forbidding strangers to reside at
Sparta, without special permission, and empowering the magistrate to expel
from the city any stranger who misconducted himself, or set an example
injurious to public morals (cf. Hdt. 3.148
Such jurisdiction was exercised by the Ephori. Thucydides (2.39
) makes Pericles reproach the Lacedaemonians
with this practice, as if its object were to prevent foreigners from
becoming acquainted with such institutions and means of defence as would be
dangerous for an enemy to know. The intention of Lycurgus, more probably,
was to preserve the national character of his countrymen, and prevent their
being corrupted by foreign manners and vices (as Xenophon says), ὅπως μὴ ῥᾳδιουργίας οἱ πολῖται ἀπὸ τῶν ξένων
(de Rep. Laced.
Plut. Lyc. 27
Antiq. of Greece,
p. 278, E. T.). With the same view the
Spartans were themselves forbidden to go abroad without leave of the
magistrate. Both these rules, as well as the feelings of the people on the
subject, were much relaxed in later times when foreign rule and supremacy
became the object of Spartan ambition. Even at an earlier period we find
that the Spartans knew how to observe the laws of hospitality upon fit and
proper occasions, such as public festivals, the reception of ambassadors,
&c. (Xenoph. Mem.
1.2.61). They worshipped a Ζεὺς ξένιος
connexion, called by the Greeks προξενία,
was cultivated at Sparta both by the state and by individuals; of which
their connexion with the Peisistratidae is an example; and also that of a
Spartan family with the family of Alcibiades (Thuc.
; Hdt. 5.91
; compare 6.57). [HOSPITIUM
] Many illustrious
men are reported to have resided at Sparta with honour, as Terpander,
Theognis, and others (Schömann, Ant. Jur. Publ. Gr.
p. 142). Xenophon was highly esteemed by the nation, and made Spartan
It is noticeable that though
there is no mention of ξενηλασία
yet the Dorian dislike of things foreign is evidenced by the prohibition of
foreign travel for young men (Plat. Protag.
p. 342 D). The
at Apollonia, a colony
founded by the [p. 2.991]
Corinthians and Corcyraeans, is
mentioned in Ael. VH 13.16
. (See further on
the subject of the ξενηλασία,
, with Arnold's notes; Aristoph. Birds 1013
; Harpocr. s. v.
καὶ γὰρ τὸ μηδένα.