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After the defeat of Agis, 1 Antipater demanded fifty boys as hostages, but Eteocles, who was Ephor, said they would not give boys, lest the boys should turn out to be uneducated through missing the traditional discipline; and they would not be fitted for citizenship either. But the Spartans would give, if he so desired, either old men or women to double the number. And when Antipater made dire threats if he should not get the boys, the Spartans made answer with one consent, ‘If the orders you lay upon us are harsher than death, we shall find it easier to die.’ 2

1 Agis III., in 331 B.C.

2 A different version of the Spartans' reply is given in Moralia, 64 D.

load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1889)
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