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Pleistarchus the son of Leonidas, in answer to one who asked him for what reason they did not take their titles from the names of the first kings, said, ‘Because the first kings needed to be absolute monarchs, but those who followed them had no such need.’ 2

When a certain advocate kept making jests, he said, ‘You had better be on your guard, my friend, against jesting all the time, lest you become a jest yourself, just as those who wrestle all the time become wrestlers.’

In retort to the man who imitated a nightingale, he said, ‘My friend, I have had more pleasure in hearing the nightingale itself.’ 3

When someone said that a certain evil-speaker was commending him, he said, ‘I wonder whether possibly someone may not have told him that I was dead; for the man can never say a good word of anybody who is alive.’ 4

1 King of Sparta, 480-458 B.C.

2 One of the two lines of the kings of Sparta was called ‘Agids’ (or ‘Agiads’) from Agis, the second of that line, and the other ‘Eurypontids’ from Eurypon, the third of that line. Cf. Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. ii. (40 D); Strabo, viii. 366; Pausanias, iii. 7. 1. Presumably Plutarch means that the later Spartan kings did not wish to perpetuate the memory of any harshness, which would have been suggested by the names of the earlier absolute monarchs.

3 Cf. the note on Moralia, 212 F (58), supra.

4 Cf. the note on Moralia, 224 D (1), supra.

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