The greater number, however, when their allies were falling away from them and it was expected that Epaminondas, in all the pride of a conqueror, would invade Peloponnesus, fell to thinking of the oracles,
in view of the lameness of Agesilaüs, and were full of dejection and consternation in respect to the divine powers, believing that their city was in an evil plight because they had dethroned the sound-footed king and chosen instead a lame and halting one,—the very thing which the deity was trying to teach them carefully to avoid.
And yet otherwise he had such power and valour and fame that they not only continued to employ him as king and general in matters pertaining to war, but also as physician and arbiter in their civil perplexities. For instance, upon those who had shown cowardice in the battle, whom they themselves call
, they hesitated to inflict the disabilities required by the laws, since the men were numerous and powerful, for fear that they might stir up a revolution.
For such men are not only debarred from every office, but intermarriage with any of them is a disgrace, and any one who meets them may strike them if he pleases. Moreover, they are obliged to go about unkempt and squalid, wearing cloaks that are patched with dyed stuffs, half of their beards shaven, and half left to grow.
It was a serious matter, therefore, to allow many such men in the city, when she lacked not a few soldiers. So they chose Agesilaüs as a law-giver for the occasion. And he, without adding to or subtracting from or changing the laws in any way, came into the assembly of the Lacedaemonians and said that the laws must be allowed to sleep for that day, but from that day on must be in sovereign force. By this means he at once saved the laws for the city and the men from infamy.
Then, wishing to remove the discouragement and dejection which prevailed among the young men, he made an incursion into Arcadia,
and though he studiously avoided joining battle with the enemy, he took a small town of the Mantineans and overran their territory, and thus lightened and gladdened the expectations of his city, which felt that its case was not wholly desperate.