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9. Now, the Lacedaemonians have temples of Death, Laughter, and that sort of thing, as well as of Fear. And they pay honours to Fear, not as they do to the powers which they try to avert because they think them baleful, but because they believe that fear is the chief support of their civil polity. [2] For this reason, too, when the ephors enter upon their office, as Aristotle says, they issue a proclamation commanding all men to shave their moustaches, and to obey the laws, that these may not be severe upon them. They insist upon the shaving of the moustache, I think, in order that they may accustom the young men to obedience in the most trifling matters. [3] And the men of old, in my opinion, did not regard bravery as a lack of fear, but as fear of reproach and dread of disgrace. For the men who feel most dread of the laws have most courage in facing their enemies; and those shun death least who most fear ill fame. [4] Therefore it has been well said1:

. . . for where dread is, there also is reverence.
And Homer says2:

Revered art thou by me, dear father-in-law, and
dreaded too;

and

Without a word, in dread of their leaders.3

For by the multitude reverence is most apt to be felt towards those whom they also fear. For this reason, too, the Lacedaemonians erected a temple to Fear alongside the mess-hall of the ephors, after they had endowed this magistracy with almost absolute powers.

1 By Stasinus of Cyprus. Cf. Plato, Euthyphro, 12a; Kinkel, Ep. Graec. Frag. i. p. 30.

2 Iliad, iii. 172, Helen to Priam.

3 Iliad, iv. 431, of the Achaeans marshalled for battle.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1076
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1084
  • Cross-references to this page (4):
    • Harper's, Mustax
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), BARBA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), E┬┤PHORI
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), MUSTAX
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
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