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12. Learning that Aratus and the Achaeans believed that this revolution had jeopardized his position, and therefore did not think that he would venture forth outside of Sparta, or leave the city while it was still in the suspense of so great an agitation, he thought it a fine and helpful thing to make a display of the ready zeal of his army to his enemies. [2] Accordingly, he invaded the territory of Megalopolis, collected large booty, and devastated the country far and wide. And finally arresting a company of actors who were passing through the country from Messené, he built a theatre in the enemy's territory, instituted a contest for a prize of forty minae, and sat spectator for a whole day; not that he felt the need of' a spectacle, but in exultant mockery, as it were, of his enemies, and to show to the world by his contempt for them that he held complete control of affairs, with something, as it were, to spare. [3] For at other times, the Spartan alone of Greek or Macedonian armies had no players in attendance, no jugglers, no dancing-girls, no harpists, but was free from every kind of licence, scurrility, and general festivity; while for the most part the young men practised themselves and the elder men taught them, and for amusement, when their work was over, they had recourse to their wonted pleasantries and the interchange of Spartan witticisms. Of what great advantage this sort of amusement is, I have told in my Life of Lycurgus.1

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Plutarch, Cleomenes, 12.1
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