Plutarch wrote an article about the Spartans, as he tells us in his Life of Lysander, chap. xvii. (443 a). The only question, therefore, that can be raised is whether The Ancient Customs of the Spartans is that article. It is true that adverse judgement has been pronounced upon it, mainly because of some infelicities of language, and the character of the last chapter; yet, whether written by Plutarch or by another, it is in the main the work of Plutarch, and much of it comes from the same source as Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus. The body of facts and traditions here set down is, in great part, to be found scattered here and there in other writers, especially in the extant histories of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, to say nothing of other historians whose works are now lost. Much had been brought together, long before Plutarch's time, in the Constitution of Sparta, which is printed among the works of Xenophon.

A hint that various sources were used in making this compilation may be found in the fact that some of the verbs are in the present tense and others in the past.

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