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21. When tidings of the sad event had been carried to the city and the three bodies were carried forth for burial, the fear felt by the citizens was not so strong as to prevent them from manifesting sorrow over what had been done, and hatred for Leonidas and Amphares. It was thought that nothing more dreadful or heinous had been done in Sparta since the Dorians had dwelt in Peloponnesus. [2] For against a king of the Lacedaemonians, as it seems, not even their enemies would willingly raise their hands if they met him in battle, but they would spare him, out of fear and reverence for his dignity. And for this reason, although there had been many conflicts between Lacedaemonians and other Greeks, only one Spartan king had been slain up to the time of Philip of Macedon, namely, Cleombrotus, who was smitten by a spear at Leuctra.1 The Messenians, however, say that Theopompus also fell in battle, at the hands of Aristomenes; [3] but the Lacedaemonians deny this, and say that their king was only wounded. This matter may be disputed: but Agis was certainly the first king of Sparta to be put to death by the ephors. And yet he had chosen a line of conduct that was noble and worthy of Sparta, and was of an age in which men are usually pardoned for their errors, and his friends could with more justice blame him than his enemies, because he spared the life of Leonidas, and, most mild and gentle man that he was, put faith in his other foes.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Plutarch, Pelopidas, 23.1
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