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Nabis, Tyrant of Sparta, B.C. 207-192

Nabis, tyrant of Sparta, being now in the third year of
The character of Nabis's tyranny.
his reign, ventured upon no undertaking of importance, owing to the recent defeat of Machanidas by the Achaeans; but employed himself in laying the foundations of a long and grinding tyranny. He destroyed the last remains of the old Spartan nobles; drove into banishment all men eminent for wealth or ancestral glory; and distributed their property and wives among the chief men of those who remained, or among his own mercenary soldiers. These last were composed of murderers, housebreakers, footpads, and burglars. For this was, generally speaking, the class of men which he collected out of all parts of the world, whose own country was closed to them owing to their crimes and felonies. As he put himself forward as the patron and king of such wretches, and employed them as attendants and bodyguards, there is evidently no cause for surprise that his impious character and reign should have been long remembered. For, besides this, he was not content with driving the citizens into banishment, but took care no place should be secure, and no refuge safe for the exiles. Some he caused to be pursued and killed on the road, while others he dragged from their place of retreat and murdered. Finally, in the cities where they were living, he hired the houses next door to these banished men, wherever they might be, by means of agents who were not suspected; and then sent Cretans into these houses, who made breaches in the party walls, and through them, or through such windows as already existed, shot down the exiles as they stood or lay down in their own houses; so that there was no place of retreat, and no moment of security for the unfortunate Lacedaemonians.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.31
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.32
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