previous next

After this Agis, having gone to Delphi and offered to the god the appointed tithe of his booty, on his way back fell sick at Heraea, being now an old man, and although he was still living when brought home to Lacedaemon, once there he very soon died; and he received a burial more splendid than belongs to man. When the prescribed days of mourning had been religiously observed and it was necessary to appoint a king, Leotychides, who claimed to be a son of Agis, and Agesilaus, a brother of Agis, contended for the kingship. [2] And Leotychides said:1 “But, Agesilaus, the law directs, not that a brother, but that a son of a king, should be king; if, however, there should chance to be no son, in that case the brother would be king.” “It is I, then, who should be king.” “How so, when I am alive?” “Because he whom you call your father said that you were not his son.” “Nay, but my mother, who knows far better than he did, says even to this day that I am.” “But Poseidon showed that you are entirely in the wrong, for he drove your father2 out of her chamber into the open by an earthquake. And time also, which is said to be the truest witness, gave testimony that the god was right; for you were born in the tenth month from the time when he fled from the chamber.” Such were the words which passed between these two. [3] But Diopeithes, a man very well versed in oracles, said in support of Leotychides that there was also an oracle of Apollo which bade the Lacedaemonians beware of the lame kingship.3 Lysander, however, made reply to him, on behalf of Agesilaus, that he did not suppose the god was bidding them beware lest a king of theirs should get a sprain and become lame, but rather lest one who was not of the royal stock should become king. For the kingship would be lame in very truth when it was not the descendants of Heracles who were at the head of the state. [4] After hearing such arguments from both claimants the state chose Agesilaus king.

When Agesilaus had been not yet a year in the kingly office, once while he was offering one of the appointed sacrifices in behalf of the state, the seer said that the gods revealed a conspiracy of the most4 terrible sort. And when he sacrificed again, the seer said that the signs appeared still more terrible. And upon his sacrificing for the third time, he said: “Agesilaus, just such a sign is given me as would be given if we were in the very midst of the enemy.” There-upon they made offerings to the gods who avert evil and to those who grant safety, and having with difficulty obtained favourable omens, ceased sacrificing. And within five days after the sacrifice was ended a man reported to the ephors a conspiracy, and Cinadon as the head of the affair. [5] This Cinadon was a young man, sturdy of body and stout of heart, but not one of the peers.5 And when the ephors asked how he had said that the plan would be carried out, the informer replied that Cinadon had taken him to the edge of the market-place and directed him to count how many Spartiatae there were in the market-place.6 “And I,” he said, “after counting king and ephors and senators and about forty others, asked `Why, Cinadon, did you bid me count these men?' And he replied: `Believe,' said he, `that these men are your enemies, and that all the others who are in the market-place, more than four thousand in number, are your allies.'” In the streets also, the informer said, Cinadon pointed out as enemies here one and there two who met them, and all the rest as allies; and of all who chanced to be on the country estates belonging to Spartiatae, while there would be one whom he would point out as an enemy, namely the master, yet there would be many on each estate named as allies. [6] When the ephors asked how7 many Cinadon said there really were who were in the secret of this affair, the informer replied that he said in regard to this point that those who were in the secret with himself and the other leaders were by no means many, though trustworthy; the leaders, however, put it this way, that it was they who knew the secret of all the others—Helots, freedmen, lesser Spartiatae, and Perioeci; for whenever among these classes any mention was made of Spartiatae, no one was able to conceal the fact that he would be glad to eat them raw. [7] When the ephors asked again: “And where did they say they would get weapons?” the informer replied that Cinadon said: “Of course those of us who are in the army have weapons of our own, and as for the masses”—he led him, he said, to the iron market, and showed him great quantities of knives, swords, spits, axes, hatchets, and sickles. And he said, the informer continued, that all those tools with which men work the land and timber and stone were likewise weapons, and that most of the other industries also had in their implements adequate weapons, especially against unarmed men. When he was asked again at what time this thing was to be done, he said that orders had been given him to stay in the city. [8]

Upon hearing these statements the ephors came to the conclusion that he was describing a well-considered plan, and were greatly alarmed; and without even convening the Little Assembly,8 as it was called, but merely gathering about them—one ephor here and another there—some of the senators, they decided to send Cinadon to Aulon along with others of the younger men, and to order him to bring back with9 him certain of the Aulonians and Helots whose names were written in the official dispatch. And they ordered him to bring also the woman who was said to be the most beautiful woman in Aulon and was thought to be corrupting the Lacedaemonians who came there, older and younger alike. [9] Now Cinadon had performed other services of a like sort for the ephors in the past; so this time they gave him the dispatch in which were written the names of those who were to be arrested. And when he asked which of the young men he should take with him, they said: “Go and bid the eldest of the commanders of the guard to send with you six or seven of those who may chance to be at hand.” In fact they had taken care that the commander should know whom he was to send, and that those who were sent should know that it was Cinadon whom they were to arrest. The ephors said this thing besides to Cinadon, that they would send three wagons, so that they would not have to bring back the prisoners on foot—trying to conceal, as far as they could, the fact that they were sending after one man—himself. [10] The reason they did not plan to arrest him in the city was that they did not know how great was the extent of the plot, and they wished to hear from Cinadon who his accomplices were before these should learn that they had been informed against, in order to prevent their escaping. Accordingly, those who made the arrest were to detain Cinadon, and after learning from him the names of his confederates, to write them down and send them back as quickly as possible to the ephors. And so seriously did the ephors regard the matter that they even sent a regiment of cavalry to support the men10 who had set out for Aulon. [11] When the man had been seized and a horseman had returned with the names of those whom Cinadon had listed, the ephors immediately proceeded to arrest the ser Tisamenus and the most influential of the others. And when Cinadon was brought back and questioned, and confessed everything and told the names of his confederates, they asked him finally what in the world was his object in undertaking this thing. He replied: “I wished to be inferior to no one in Lacedaemon.” Thereupon he was straightway bound fast, neck and arms, in a collar, and under scourge and goad was dragged about through the city, he and those with him. And so they met their punishment.

1 397 B.C.

2 Leotychides was reputed to be the son of Alcibiades. For the incident here mentioned, cp. Plut. Alc. 23.

3 Agesilaus was lame.

4 397 B.C.

5 i.e., those who enjoyed full rights of citizenship, the “Spartiatae.”

6 The Spartiatae, always few in number in comparison with the other elements of the Laconian population (see below), were now becoming steadily fewer by reason of constant wars and the demoralising influence of wealth and luxury.

7 397 B.C.

8 The reference is uncertain.

9 397 B.C.

10 397 B.C.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1900)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
397 BC (5)
hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (9):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), BOIAE
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CI´VITAS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), E´PHORI
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), FLAGRUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), GEROU´SIA
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
    • Smith's Bio, Agesila'us Ii.
    • Smith's Bio, Ci'nadon
    • Smith's Bio, Lycurgus
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: