Agis, therefore, thinking it a noble achievement, as it was, to equalize and restore to full numbers the body of citizens, began to sound the inclinations of people. The young men, as he found, quickly and beyond his expectations gave ear to him, and stripped themselves for the contest in behalf of virtue, like him casting aside their old ways of living as worn-out garments in order to attain liberty.
But most of the older men, since they were now far gone in corruption, feared and shuddered at the name of Lycurgus as if they had run away from their master and were being led back to him, and they upbraided Agis for bewailing the present state of affairs and yearning after the ancient dignity of Sparta. Lysander, however, the son of Libys, Mandrocleidas the son of Ecphanes, as well as Agesilaüs, approved of the king's aspirations and supported him in them.
Lysander was in the highest repute among the citizens, and Mandrocleidas was the ablest Greek of his time in setting schemes on foot, and his sagacity and craft were mingled with daring; Agesilaüs, who was the king's uncle on his mother's side, and a powerful orator, though otherwise effeminate and avaricious, Was openly urged on and encouraged by his son Hippomedon, who had won fair fame in many wars, and had great influence because he stood in favour with the young men.
But what really induced Agesilaüs to take part in the king's enterprise was the multitude of his debts, of which he hoped to rid himself by changing the constitution. As soon, then, as Agis had won over Agesilaüs, he straightway sought with the aid of his uncle to persuade his mother, who was a sister of Agesilaüs, and owing to the multitude of her retainers, friends, and debtors, had great influence in the state and took a large part in public affairs.