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οἱ ἔφοροι καὶ οἱ γέροντες. The Ephors were specially charged with the maintenance of the order established by Lycurgus. Hence it may have been part of their duties to guard against the extinction of either royal house (cf. 41. 2). But in this matter the Ephors are clearly acting as the presidents and executive (cf. 39) of the Gerousia. Ephors and Gerousia together formed the supreme criminal court (referred to vi. 72, 82, 85) as described by Paus. iii. 5. 2, with reference to the trial of king Pausanias on his return from Attica 403 B. C. βασιλεῖ δὲ τῷ Λακεδαιμονίων δικαστήριον ἐκάθιζον οἵ τε ὀνομαζόμενοι γέροντες ὀκτὼ καὶ εἴκοσιν ὄντες ἀριθμόν, καὶ τῶν ἐφόρων ἀρχή, σὺν δὲ αὐτοῖς καὶ τῆς οἰκίας βασιλεὺς τῆς ἑτέρας. As the executive of this court the Ephors can summon the king before them (Plut. Cleomenes 10), charge him with treason, and even imprison him (Thuc. i. 131).

οὐδαμῶς Σπαρτιητικά. Bigamy was illegal throughout Greece; but the curious arrangements at Sparta (Polyb. xii. 6 b) by which (1) several brothers married one wife (cf. de Coulanges, Nouv. Recherches, p. 70 f.), now interpreted as an instance of the Levirate or a survival of polyandry, and (2) men lent their wives to friends (cf. Plut. Lyc. 15), made it seem necessary to Herodotus and Pausanias (iii. 3. 9) to declare that bigamy was unprecedented at Sparta.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.5.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.131
    • Plutarch, Lycurgus, 15
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