previous next
[16]

As for their constitution, which is described by Ephorus, it might suffice to tell in a cursory way its most important provisions. The lawgiver, he says, seems to take it for granted that liberty is a state's greatest good, for this alone makes property belong specifically to those who have acquired it, whereas in a condition of slavery everything belongs to the rulers and not to the ruled; but those who have liberty must guard it; now harmony ensues when dissension, which is the result of greed and luxury, is removed; for when all citizens live a self-restrained and simple life there arises neither envy nor arrogance nor hatred towards those who are like them; and this is why the lawgiver commanded the boys to attend the "Troops,"1 as they are called, and the full grown men to eat together at the public messes which they call the "Andreia," so that the poorer, being fed at public expense, might be on an equality with the well-to-do; and in order that courage, and not cowardice, might prevail, he commanded that from boyhood they should grow up accustomed to arms and toils, so as to scorn heat, cold, marches over rugged and steep roads, and blows received in gymnasiums or regular battles; and that they should practise, not only archery, but also the war-dance, which was invented and made known by the Curetes at first, and later, also, by the man2 who arranged the dance that was named after him, I mean the Pyrrhic dance, so that not even their sports were without a share in activities that were useful for warfare; and likewise that they should use in their songs the Cretic rhythms, which were very high pitched, and were invented by Thales, to whom they ascribe, not only their Paeans and other local songs, but also many of their institutions; and that they should use military dress and shoes; and that arms should be to them the most valuable of gifts.

1 Literally, "Herds" (cf. the Boy Scout "Troops").

2 Pyrrhicus (see 10. 3. 8).

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 English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
load focus Greek (1877)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (3 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: