Now that I have brought this story of the Gracchi also to an end, it remains for me to take a survey of all four lives in parallel. As for the Gracchi, then, not even those who utterly revile and hate them on other grounds have ventured to deny that of all Romans they were best equipped by nature for the practice of virtue, and enjoyed a rearing and training which were preeminent;
but Agis and Cleomenes would appear to have had even sturdier natural gifts than theirs, in so far as, though they did not receive a correct training, and were reared in those customs and ways of living by which their elders had long ago been corrupted, they nevertheless made themselves leaders in simplicity and self-restraint.
And further, the Gracchi, at a time when Rome had her greatest and most splendid repute and an ardour for noble deeds, were prevented by a sense of shame from abandoning what was like an inheritance of virtue from ancestors near and remote; Agis and Cleomenes, on the other hand, though they were sons of fathers who had adopted opposite principles to theirs, and found their country in a wretched plight and full of distempers, did not suffer these things to blunt the edge of their zeal for what was noble.
Moreover, the chief proof that the Gracchi scorned wealth and were superior to money lies in the fact that they kept themselves clear from unrighteous gains during their official and political life; whereas Agis would have been incensed to receive praise for not taking anything that was another's, since he freely gave to his fellow citizens his own property, which amounted to six hundred talents in ready money alone, to say nothing of other valuables. How great a baseness, then, would unlawful gain have been held to be by one in whose eyes even the lawful possession of more than another was rapacity?