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19. Now Agis spent most of his time in the sanctuary, but was wont to go down from time to time to his bath. There, then, they determined to seize him, when he was outside the sanctuary. So they waited till he had finished his bath, and then came to meet him with friendly greetings, and walked along with him, conversing and jesting with him after the manner of youthful comrades. [2] But at a certain point the road branched off towards the prison, and when they were come to that place, Amphares, by virtue of his office, laid hands on Agis and said: ‘I shall lead thee, Agis, to the ephors, to answer for thy measures of state’; and Damochares, who was tall and robust, threw his cloak about the king's neck and dragged him along. [3] Others pushed him along from behind, as had been agreed, and since he had no helper but was without a friend, they thrust him into the prison. At once Leonidas was at hand with a large band of mercenaries and surrounded the prison, while the ephors went in to Agis. After sending for those of the senators who were of the same mind as themselves, as though the king were to have a trial, the ephors ordered Agis to defend his conduct of affairs. [4] The young king laughed at their dissimulation, whereupon Amphares threatened that he would rue the day and be punished for his temerity; but another ephor, as though plainly offering Agis a way to escape from the charges against him, asked him if he had done what he did under compulsion from Lysander and Agesilaüs. [5] And when Agis answered that he had suffered compulsion from no one, but that in admiration and imitation of Lycurgus he had adopted the same public policy as his, the same ephor asked again if he repented of what he had done. But the young king declared that he had no repentance for what he had most excellently planned, and would not have, even if he saw that he was to suffer the extremest penalty. So they condemned him to death, and ordered the officers to lead him into the ‘Dechas,’ as it was called. [6] This is a chamber of the prison in which they strangle those who are under sentence of death. But Damochares, when he saw that the officers did not dare to lay hands on Agis, and likewise that even the mercenaries who were there shrank from the deed and were loth to do it, feeling as they did that it was contrary to the laws of God and man to lay bands upon the person of a king, heaped threats and abuse upon them and himself dragged Agis into the chamber of death. [7] For already many people were aware of the arrest, and there was a noisy throng at the door and many torches, and the mother and grandmother of Agis were there, with cries and prayers that the king of the Spartans should have a hearing and a trial before the citizens. For this reason especially the ephors hastened on the king's execution, believing that he would be taken out of their hands in the night if the concourse should increase.

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load focus Greek (Bernadotte Perrin, 1921)
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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), E´PHORI
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