But the love of distinction which marked his character was not altogether free from contentiousness nor devoid of anger; and although he desired to pattern himself most of all after Epaminondas, it was the energy, sagacity, and indifference to money in Epaminondas which he strenuously imitated, while his proneness to anger and contentiousness made him unable to maintain that great leader's mildness, gravity, and urbanity in political disputes, so that he was thought to be endowed with military rather than with civic virtues.
For from his very boyhood he was fond of a soldier's life, and readily learned the lessons which were useful for this, such as those in heavy-armed fighting and horsemanship. He was also thought to be a good wrestler, but when some of his friends and directors urged him to take up athletics, he asked them if athletics would not be injurious to his military training.
They told him (arid it was the truth) that the habit of body and mode of life for athlete and soldier were totally different, and particularly that their diet and training were not the same, since the one required much sleep, continuous surfeit of food, and fixed periods of activity and repose, in order to preserve or improve their condition, which the slightest influence or the least departure from routine is apt to change for the worse; whereas the soldier ought to be conversant with all sorts of irregularity and all sorts of inequality,
and above all should accustom himself to endure lack of food easily, and as easily lack of sleep. On hearing this, Philopoemen not only shunned athletics himself and derided them, but also in later times as a commander banished from the army all forms of them, with every possible mark of reproach and dishonour, on the ground that they rendered useless for the inevitable struggle of battle men who would otherwise be most serviceable.