Again, the greatest of the accusations against Tiberius is that he deposed his colleague from the tribuneship and canvassed for a second tribuneship himself; and as for Caius, the murder of Antyllius was unjustly and falsely attributed to him, for it happened contrary to his wishes and much to his displeasure. But Cleomenes, not to mention again his slaughter of the ephors, set free all the slaves,
and was king by himself in point of fact, though nominally with another, after he had chosen his brother Eucleidas, a man from the same house, as his colleague; and he persuaded Archidamus, who belonged to the other house and should have been his colleague on the throne, to come back to Sparta from Messene, and upon his death, by not following up the murder, he fixed upon himself the blame for his taking off.
And yet Lycurgus, whom he professed to imitate, voluntarily surrendered the royal power to Charillus his brother's son, and because he feared lest, if the young man should die by another's hand, some blame might attach to himself, he wandered a long time in foreign parts, and would not come back until a son had been born to Charillus who should succeed to his office.1
However, with Lycurgus no other Greek is worthy to be compared; but that the political measures of Cleomenes were marked by greater innovations and illegalities than those of the Gracchi, is evident.
And indeed those who are inclined to criticize their characters accuse the two Greeks of having been from the outset over fond of power and strife, and the two Romans of having been by nature immoderately ambitious, though their detractors could bring no other charge against them; nay, it was agreed that they were caught up by the fury of the contest with their opponents and by a passion contrary to their own natural bent, as by blasts of wind, and so let the state drive into extremest danger.
For what could be more just and honourable than their original design? And they would have succeeded in it, had not the party of the rich, by their violent and partisan attempts to abrogate the agrarian law, involved both of them in fierce struggles, Tiberius through fear for his own life, and Caius in an effort to avenge his brother, who had been slain without justice or senatorial decree and without the concurrence even of a magistrate.
From what has been said, then, my reader will perceive for himself the difference between these men; but if I am to express my opinion of them individually, I should say that Tiberius led them all in exemplary virtues, that the youthful Agis committed the fewest errors, and that in achievement and courage Caius fell far short of Cleomenes.