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Leon, father of Anaxandridas and grandfather of Cleomenes, and Agasicles, father of Ariston and grandfather of Demaratus, ruled between 600 and 560 B.C. ‘The other wars’ are probably (1) those connected with the overthrow of the Cypselidae after 585 and of other tyrants (cf. Thuc. i. 18. 1), (2) those against Argos and (in alliance with Elis) those against Pisa (cf. Busolt, i. 705-6).

καί introduces the second cause of Lacedaemonian hegemony, i. e. they had overcome their difficulties; they had recently defeated Tegea, and they had ‘also’ before this got a good constitution. Thuc. (u. s.) seems to refer to this passage; he dates the change ‘a little more than four hundred years before’ 404 B.C.; but he pointedly omits Lycurgus.

ἀπρόσμεικτοι. The exclusiveness of Sparta is made pre-Lycurgean; this is doubtful; H. makes the Minyae to be received (iv. 145) as citizens in the earliest days; in the seventh century the Ionic Epos and Aeolic music came in (cf. the stories of Terpander and Alcman). It was only in the sixth century that exclusiveness was intensified or more probably introduced.

The oracle as quoted in Diodorus (vii. 12) ends with the lines “ἥκεις δ᾽ εὐνομίαν αἰτεύμενος: αἰτὰρ ἔγωγε
δώσω τὴν οὐκ ἄλλη ἐπιχθονίη πόλις ἕξει.

These are probably a later addition.

Θεόν. For his ἱερόν cf. 66. 1 n.; Plutarch (Lyc. 31 θύουσιν ὡς θεῷ) speaks of his divine honours; he is mentioned as a god in inscriptions, e. g. C. I. G. 1256. But all this does not disprove his original humanity.

It is worth while to tabulate the more important differences between the Herodotean and the other accounts of Lycurgus:

1. H. denies that he derived his institutions from Delphi; but this was the usual fourth century account, e. g. Xen. Rep. Lac. viii. 5 and Plat. Leg. 624; cf. 691 E. Meyer (F. i. 231 seq.) ingeniously ascribes this later view to King Pausanias (408-395 B. C.), and maintains that the verses of Tyrtaeus (Plut. Lyc. 6) which assert it are a later forgery.

2. H. makes Lycurgus guardian of Leobotes, his nephew, i. e. he is an Agiad and his date is about 1000 B.C. But Simonides (Plut. Lyc. 1) makes him a Eurypontid and uncle of Charilaus (king 884 B. C.); so too Ar. Pol. ii. 10. 2, 1271 B. Plut. (ib.) also quotes Aristotle for a third date, i. e. Lycurgus is put in the eighth century, and made to organize ‘the Olympic Truce’ (on the strength of the inscription on ‘the quoit at Olympia’). No wonder Timaeus thought there were two Lycurgi.

3. H. makes him legislate as regent, Ephorus (Strabo, 482) at a time when Charilaus was actually king.

4. H. gives him the whole Spartan constitution; but v. i. for other dates for the Ephorate and Gerousia.

It may be added that the one point on which traditions agree, viz. that he legislated as uncle of the king, was an obvious guess; for his name was not on the royal list, and yet men felt he must have been a Heracleid.

κόσμον. The well-known Spartan ἀγωγή is implied; H. gives this to Lycurgus as a matter of course.

For a comparison of the institutions of Sparta and of Crete cf. Ar. Pol. ii. 10 (1271 B seq.). Ephorus (Strabo, 481-2) argued elaborately for the priority of Crete; but his view as to the similarity of the two constitutions is criticized by Polybius (vi. 45-6); there is not sufficient evidence to decide the question. The institutions are in each case the expression of ‘the warrior life of a conquering primitive people’ (Oncken) surrounded by enemies and hostile subjects.

ἐφύλαξε. The ‘security’ was an oath to observe the laws till his return (Plut. Lyc. 29); this is probably borrowed from the story as to Solon (c. 29. 2). So, too, the statement that he travelled is considered by some to be an invention copied from the genuine travels of the Athenian.

The ἐνωμοτίη, i. e. ‘sworn brotherhood’, was the smallest tactical unit of the army, containing in 418 B.C. about thirty-two men (Thuc. v. 68. 3), at Leuctra ‘not more than thirty-six’ (Xen. Hell. vi. 4. 12); but the number no doubt varied.

τριηκάδας, ‘companies of thirty.’ For conjectures as to their nature of. Hermann, Staats-A. i. 197. n. 4; perhaps the word is a gloss to explain ἐνωμοτία (a case of ‘obscurum per obscurius’). The number ‘thirty’ occurs again in Sparta in the Senate, and perhaps in the number of the ὠβαί (Plut. Lyc. 6 ad init.; sed incerta lectio).

The συσσίτια were originally military organizations, the band of warriors united by the common meal.

ἐφόρους. Three views are taken as to H.'s statements about the Ephors and the Gerousia:

(1) That both statements are right; Ephors and Gerousia were part of the primitive constitution, and so associated with Lycurgus. Cf. Xen. Rep. Lac. c. 8 for Ephors, c. 10 for Gerousia; Isocrates, Panath. 165-6. Meyer (F. i. 246) accepts this view; holding that Lycurgus has no historical reality, he identifies his supposed institutions with the primitive constitution.

(2) That the first is right and the second wrong. Clearly the γέροντες are the old council of chiefs and pre-Lycurgean; but the Ephors may be definite officers, created by Lycurgus to superintend the ἀγωγή.

(3) That both statements are wrong. The Ephorate is assigned to a date later than Lycurgus, i. e. the reign of Theopompus: for (a) Aristotle (Pol. v. 11. 2, 1313 A) tells the story of his answer that he left the kingship ελάττων but πολυχρονιωτέρα (cf. Plat. Leg. 692; Plut. Lyc. 7, Cleom. 10). (b) The list of ephors begins 755-754 B.C., i. e. in the reign of Theopompus (but this date, if it be historical at all, might refer to an alteration in the power of an old office). Meyer (F. i. 250) argues that the post-Lycurgean date for the Ephorate is due to King Pausanias (cf. 65. 4 n.) and the constitutional struggles at Sparta early in the fourth century. Owing to the authority of Aristotle (u. s.), it displaced the earlier view and was generally adopted.

All we can say for certain is that (1) the Ephorate is found in the colonies of Thera, Cyrene, and the Tarentine Heraclea, and so may have been an early institution in Sparta, their reputed μητρόπολις (but cf. iv. 145 nn.); (2) that the office was closely connected with the ἀγωγή. For the whole subject of the Ephorate cf. Busolt, i. 555 seq.

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hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Plato, Laws, 624a
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.18.1
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.68.3
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 6.4.12
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 8.5
    • Plutarch, Lycurgus, 1
    • Plutarch, Lycurgus, 29
    • Plutarch, Lycurgus, 6
    • Plutarch, Lycurgus, 7
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