The people, accordingly, were filled with amazement at the magnanimity of the young man, and were delighted, feeling that after a lapse of nearly two hundred years a king had appeared who was worthy of Sparta; but Leonidas, now more than ever, strove in opposition. For he reasoned that he would be compelled to do as Agis had done, and that he would not get the same gratitude for it among the citizens, but that if all the rich alike made their property a part of the common fund, the honour for it would be given to him alone who had led the way. He therefore asked Agis if he thought that Lycurgus had shown himself a just and worthy man,
and when Agis said that he did,
‘When, then,’ said Leonidas,
‘did Lycurgus either grant abolition of debts or admit foreigners into citizenship—a man who held that the state was in no healthy way at all if it did not practise expulsion of foreigners?’
But Agis replied that he was not astonished to find Leonidas, who had been reared in foreign lands and had children by an oriental marriage, ignorant that Lycurgus had banished from the state debts and loans along with coined money,
and that foreigners in the cities were held by him in less displeasure than men to whom the Spartan practices and ways of living were not congenial; these, indeed, he sought to drive away, not because he was hostile to their persons, but because he feared lest their lives and manners should contaminate the citizens, and breed in them a love of luxury, effeminacy, and greed; for certainly Terpander and Thales and Pherecydes were foreigners, and yet, because the teachings of their songs and philosophy always accorded with those of Lycurgus, they were held in surpassing honour at Sparta.
‘Thou praisest Ecprepes,’ said Agis,
‘who, as ephor, cut out with an adze two of the nine lute-strings of Phrynis the musician, and likewise the magistrates in the time of Timotheus, who did the same thing in their turn, but thou blamest me for trying to remove luxury, extravagance, and ostentation from Sparta, as if those magistrates also were not on the watch to prevent the pompous and superfluous in music from making such advances as our lives and manners have come to, whose excess and discord has made the city dissonant and out of tune with itself.’