This greatly increased the reputation and power of Cleomenes. For the ancient kings of Sparta, in spite of numerous efforts, were not able to secure the abiding allegiance of Argos; and the most formidable of generals, Pyrrhus, although he fought his way into the city, could not hold it, but was slain there, and a great part of his army perished with him.1
Therefore men admired the swiftness and intelligence of Cleomenes; and those who before this had mocked at him for imitating, as they said, Solon and Lycurgus in the abolition of debts and the equalization of property, were now altogether convinced that this imitation was the cause of the change in the Spartans.
For these were formerly in so low a state and so unable to help themselves, that Aetolians invaded Laconia and took away fifty thousand slaves. It was at this time, we are told, that one of the elder Spartans remarked that the enemy had helped Sparta by lightening her burden.
But now only a little time had elapsed, and they had as yet barely resumed their native customs and reentered the track of their famous discipline, when, as if before the very eyes of Lycurgus and with his cooperation, they gave abundant proof of valour and obedience to authority, by recovering the leadership of Hellas for Sparta and making all Peloponnesus their own again.