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Eudamidas, the son of Archidamus and the brother of Agis, seeing Xenocrates in the Academy, [p. 321] already well oil in years, discussing philosophy with his acquaintances, inquired who the old man was. Somebody said that he was a wise man and one of the seekers after virtue. ‘And when will he use it,’ said Eudamidas, ‘if he is only now seeking for it?’ a

Hearing a philosopher discoursing to the effect that the wise man is the only good general, he said, ‘The speech is admirable, but the speaker is not to be trusted; for he has never been amid the blare of trumpets.’ 2

Xenocrates had been expounding his theme, and had just reached the stopping-point when Eudamidas arrived. One of the persons with him remarked, ‘Just when we arrive he comes to the stopping-point.’ ‘Quite properly so,’ said Eudamidas, ‘if he has already said all he wanted to say.’ ‘It would have been nice to hear him,’ said the other. ‘ Indeed,’ said Eudamidas, ‘and if we came to a man who had just dined, should we insist that he eat another dinner ?’

Someone inquired why, when the citizens professed to be all for war against the Macedonians, he himself decided in favour of keeping the peace. He replied, ‘Because I do not need to prove that they are lying.’

When another man brought up their brave successes against the Persians, and was urgent for the war, Eudamidas said, ‘You do not seem to realize that your proposition is the same as fighting fifty wolves after overcoming a thousand sheep !’

When a certain musician made a great hit, they asked Eudamidas what he thought of the man, and he replied, ‘He has great power to charm in a trifling matter.’ 3 [p. 323]

When someone praised Athens, he said ‘And who could praise that city deservedly, towards which nobody has ever felt any affection for having been made a better man by it ?’

When a man from Argos said that the Spartans became more unscrupulous on going abroad and being out of the control of their long-established laws, 4 he said, ‘ But you, when you come to Sparta, do not become worse, but better.’

When Alexander caused proclamation to be made at Olympia that all exiles might return to their own land, 5 save only the Thebans, Eudamidas said, ‘The proclamation for you, men of Thebes, is unfortunate, but very complimentary; for it is you only that Alexander fears.’

Being asked for what purpose they offered sacrifice to the Muses before hazardous ventures, he said, ‘So that our deeds may find good words.’ 6

1 Eudamidas I., king of Sparta, 330-300 (?) B.C.

2 Cf. the note on Moralia, 192 A, supra.


4 ‘Lions at home, but foxes abroad’ was proverbial. Cf. Plutarch's Comparison of Lysander and Sulla, chap. iii. (476 E).

5 In 323 B.C. Cf. Diodorus, xviii. 8.

6 Cf. Moralia, 238 B, infra; Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, chap. xxi. (53 D).

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