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[106] Does any Greek not know that they took Tyrtaeus from our city1 to be their leader and with him defeated their enemies and established their system of training for the young, thus wisely providing for the immediate danger and for their whole future too? For Tyrtaeus left them elegiac poems by his own hand, and through listening to these they are trained to be brave.

1 Tyrtaeus, of whose date nothing certain is known, is generally thought to have lived at the time of the Second Messenian War (c. 640 B.C.). The tradition that he came from Athens, though open to question, is at least as old as Plato, who in the Laws asserts simply that he was an Athenian (Plat. Laws 1.629a). Pausanias tells the story, agreeing substantially with Lycurgus but adding that Tyrtaeus was a lame schoolmaster whom the Athenians were willing to let go since he was not regarded as in any way outstanding (Paus. 4.15.3).

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