Of course, then, the condition of the city was not pleasing to him. The citizens had been lulled to sleep by idleness and pleasure; the king was willing to let all public business go, provided that no one thwarted his desire for luxurious living in the midst of his wealth; the public interests were neglected, while every man was eagerly intent upon his own private gain; and as for practice in arms, self-restraint in the young, hardiness, and equality, it was even dangerous to speak of these now that Agis was dead and gone.
It is said also that Cleomenes studied philosophy when he was still a stripling, after Sphaerus of Borysthenis had made a voyage to Sparta and busied himself sedulously there with the youth and young men. Sphaerus had become one of the leading disciples of' Zeno of Citium, and it would appear that he admired the manly nature of Cleomenes and increased the fires of his high ambition.
For Leonidas of old, as we are told, when asked what manner of poet he thought Tyrtaeus to be, replied;
‘A good one to inflame the souls of young men.’ And indeed they were filled with divine inspiration by his poems, and in battle were prodigal of their lives. However, for great and impetuous natures the Stoic doctrines are somewhat misleading and dangerous, although when they permeate a deep and gentle character, they redound most to its proper good.