While he was among the so-called
‘bands’ of boys who were reared together, he had as his lover Lysander
, who was smitten particularly with his native decorum. For although he was contentious and high-spirited beyond his fellows, wishing to be first in all things, and having a vehemence and fury which none could contend with or overwhelm, on the other hand he had such a readiness to obey and such gentleness, that he did whatever was enjoined upon him, not at all from a sense of fear, but always from a sense of honour, and was more distressed by censure than he was oppressed by hardships.
As for his deformity, the beauty of his person in its youthful prime covered this from sight, while the ease and gaiety with which he bore such a misfortune, being first to jest and joke about himself, went far towards rectifying it. Indeed, his lameness brought his ambition into clearer light, since it led him to decline no hardship and no enterprise whatever. We have no likeness of him (for he himself would not consent to one, and even when he lay dying forbade the making of
‘either statue or picture’ of his person), but he is said to have been a little man of unimposing presence.
And yet his gaiety and good spirits in every crisis, and his raillery, which was never offensive or harsh either in word or look, made him more lovable, down to his old age, than the young and beautiful. But according to Theophrastus, Archidamus was fined by the ephors for marrying a little woman,
‘For she will bear us,’ they said,
‘not kings, but kinglets.’