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38. Such, then, was the end of Cleomenes who had been for sixteen years king of Sparta, and had shown himself the man whom I have described. The report of his death spread over the entire city, and Cratesicleia, although she was a woman of noble spirit, lost her composure in view of the magnitude of her misfortunes, and throwing her arms about the children of Cleomenes, wailed and lamented. [2] But the elder of the two boys, forestalling all prevention, sprang away and threw himself headlong from the roof; he was badly injured, but did not die, and was taken up crying out resentfully because he was not permitted to end his life.

But Ptolemy, when he learned of these things, gave orders that the body of Cleomenes should be flayed and hung up, and that his children, his mother, and the women that were with her, should be killed. [3] Among these women was the wife of Panteus, most noble and beautiful to look upon. The pair were still but lately married, and their misfortunes came upon them in the hey-day of their love. Her parents, indeed, would not permit her to sail away with Panteus immediately, although she wished to do so, but shut her up and kept her under constraint; [4] a little later, however, she procured herself a horse and a small sum of money, ran away by night, made all speed to Taenarum, and there embarked upon a ship bound for Egypt. She was conveyed to her husband, and with him bore their life in a strange land without complaint and cheerfully. She it was who now took the hand of Cratesicleia as she was led forth by the soldiers, held up her robe for her, and bade her be of good courage. And Cratesicleia herself was not one whit dismayed at death, but asked one favour only, that she might die before the children died. [5] However, when they were come to the place of execution, first the children were slain before her eyes, and then Cratesicleia herself was slain, making but this one cry at sorrows so great: ‘O children, whither are ye gone?’ Then the wife of Panteus, girding up her robe, vigorous and stately woman that she was, ministered to each of the dying women calmly and without a word, and laid them out for burial as well as she could. [6] And finally, after all were cared for, she arrayed herself; let down the robes from about her neck, and suffering no one besides the executioner to come near or look upon her, bravely met her end, and had no need of anyone to array or cover up her body after death. Thus her decorum of spirit attended her in death, and she maintained to the end that watchful care of her body which she had set over it in life.

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load focus Greek (Bernadotte Perrin, 1921)
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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Harper's, Crux
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CRUX
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