Archidamus, the son of Zeuxidamas, after an illustrious reign over the Lacedaemonians, left behind him a son, Agis, by Lampido, a woman of honourable family; and a much younger son, Agesilaüs, by Eupolia, the daughter of Melesippidas. The kingdom belonged to Agis by law, and it was thought that Agesilaüs would pass his life in a private station. He was therefore given the so-called
‘agoge,’ or course of public training in Sparta, which, although austere in its mode of life and full of hardships, educated the youth to obedience.
For this reason it was, we are told, that Simonides gave Sparta the epithet of
‘man-subduing,’ since more than in any other state her customs made her citizens obedient to the laws and tractable, like horses that are broken in while yet they are colts. From this compulsory training the law exempts the heirs-apparent to the throne.
But Agesilaüs was singular in this also, that he had been educated to obey before he came to command. For this reason he was much more in harmony with his subjects than any of the kings; to the commanding and kingly traits which were his by nature there had been added by his public training those of popularity and kindliness.