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[17]

It is said by some writers, Ephorus continues, that most of the Cretan institutions are Laconian, but the truth is that they were invented by the Cretans and only perfected by the Spartans; and the Cretans, when their cities, and particularly that of the Cnossians, were devastated, neglected military affairs; but some of the institutions continued in use among the Lyctians, Gortynians, and certain other small cities to a greater extent than among the Cnossians; in fact, the institutions of the Lyctians are cited as evidence by those who represent the Laconian as older; for, they argue, being colonists, they preserve the customs of the mother city, since even on general grounds it is absurd to represent those who are better organized and governed as emulators of their inferiors; but this is not correct, Ephorus says, for, in the first place, one should not draw evidence as to antiquity from the present state of things, for both peoples have undergone a complete reversal; for instance, the Cretans in earlier times were masters of the sea, and hence the proverb, "The Cretan does not know the sea," is applied to those who pretend not to know what they do know, although now the Cretans have lost their fleet; and, in the second place, it does not follow that, because some of the cities in Crete were Spartan colonies, they were under compulsion to keep to the Spartan institutions; at any rate, many colonial cities do not observe their ancestral customs, and many, also, of those in Crete that are not colonial have the same customs as the colonists.

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