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By Plutarch

(died 219 B.C.E.)

Translated by John Dryden

Thus fell Agis. His brother Archidamus was too quick for Leonidas,
and saved himself by a timely retreat. But his wife, then mother of
a young child, he forced from her own house, and compelled Agiatis,
for that was her name, to marry his son Cleomenes, though at that
time too young for a wife, because he was unwilling that any one else
should have her, being heiress to her father Gylippus's great estate;
in person the most youthful and beautiful woman in all Greece and
well-conducted in her habits of life. And therefore, they say, she
did all she could that she might not be compelled to this new marriage.
But being thus united to Cleomenes, she indeed hated Leonidas, but
to the youth showed herself a kind and obliging wife. He, as soon
as they came together, began to love her very much, and the constant
kindness that she still retained for the memory of Agis brought somewhat
of the like feeling in the young man for him, so that he would often
inquire of her concerning what had passed, and attentively listen
to the story of Agis's purpose and design. Now Cleomenes had a generous
and great soul; he was as temperate and moderate in his pleasures
as Agis, but not so scrupulous, circumspect, and gentle. There was
something of heat and passion always goading him on, and an impetuosity
and violence in his eagerness to pursue anything which he thought
good and just. To have men obey him of their own free-will, he conceived
to be the best discipline; but likewise, to subdue resistance, and
force them to the better course was, in his opinion, commendable and

This disposition made him dislike the management of the city. The
citizens lay dissolved in supine idleness and pleasures, the king
let everything take its own way, thankful if nobody gave him any disturbance,
nor called him away from the enjoyment of his wealth and luxury. The
public interest was neglected, and each man intent upon his private
gain. It was dangerous, now Agis was killed, so much as to name such
a thing as the exercising and training of their youth: and to speak
of the ancient temperance, endurance, and equality, was a sort of
treason against the state. It is said also that Cleomenes, whilst
a boy, studied philosophy under Sphaerus, the Borystenite, who crossed
over to Sparta, and spent some time and trouble in instructing the
youth. Sphaerus was one of the first of Zeno the Citiean's scholars,
and it is likely enough that he admired the manly temper of Cleomenes
and inflamed his generous ambition. The ancient Leonidas, as story
tells, being asked what manner of poet he thought Tyrtaeus, replied,
"Good to whet young men's courage;" for being filled with a divine
fury by his poems, they rushed into any danger. And so the Stoic philosophy
is a dangerous incentive to strong and fiery dispositions, but where
it combines with a grave and gentle temper, is most successful in
leading it to its proper good. 

Upon the death of his father Leonidas, he succeeded, and observing
the citizens of all sorts to be debauched, the rich neglecting the
public good, and intent on their private gain and pleasure, and the
poor distressed in their own homes, and therefore without either spirit
for war or ambition to be trained up as Spartans, that he had only
the name of king, and the ephors all the power, he was resolved to
change the posture of affairs. He had a friend whose name was Xenares,
his lover (such an affection the Spartans express by the term, being
inspired, or imbreathed with); him he sounded, and of him he would
commonly inquire what manner of king Agis was, by what means and by
what assistance he began and pursued his designs. Xenares, at first,
willingly complied with his request, and told him the whole story,
with all the particular circumstances of the actions. But when he
observed Cleomenes to be extremely affected at the relation, and more
than ordinarily taken with Agis's new model of the government, and
begging a repetition of the story, he at first severely chid him,
told him he was frantic, and at last left off all sort of familiarity
and intercourse, yet he never told any man the cause of their disagreement,
but would only say, Cleomenes knew very well. Cleomenes, finding Xenares
averse to his designs, and thinking all others to be of the same disposition,
consulted with none, but contrived the whole business by himself.
And considering that it would be easier to bring about an alteration
when the city was at war than when in peace, he engaged the commonwealth
in a quarrel with the Achaeans, who had given them fair occasions
to complain. For Aratus, a man of the greatest power amongst all the
Achaeans, designed from the very beginning to bring all the Peloponnesians
into one common body. And to effect this was the one object of all
his many commanderships and his long political course; as he thought
this the only means to make them a match for their foreign enemies.
Pretty nearly all the rest agreed to his proposals, only the Lacedaemonians,
the Eleans, and as many of the Arcadians as inclined to the Spartan
interest, remained unpersuaded. And so as soon as Leonidas was dead,
he began to attack the Arcadians, and wasted those especially that
bordered on Achaea; by this means designing to try the inclinations
of the Spartans, and despising Cleomenes as a youth, and of no experience
in affairs of state or war. Upon this, the ephors sent Cleomenes to
surprise the Athenaeum, near Belbina, which is a pass commanding an
entrance into Laconia, and was then the subject of litigation with
the Megalopolitans. Cleomenes possessed himself of the place, and
fortified it, at which action Aratus showed no public resentment,
but marched by night to surprise Tegea and Orchomenus. The design
failed, for those that were to betray the cities into his hands turned
afraid; so Aratus retreated, imagining that his design had been undiscovered.
But Cleomenes wrote a sarcastic letter to him, and desired to know
as from a friend, whither he intended to march at night; and Aratus
answering, that having heard of his design to fortify Belbina, he
meant to march thither to oppose him, Cleomenes rejoined that he did
not dispute it, but begged to be informed, if he might be allowed
to ask the question, why he carried those torches and ladders with

Aratus laughing at the jest, and asking what manner of youth this
was, Damocrates, a Spartan exile, replied, "If you have any designs
upon the Lacedaemonians, begin before this young eagle's talons are
grown." Presently after this, Cleomenes, encamping in Arcadia with
a few horse and three hundred foot, received orders from the ephors,
who feared to engage in the war, commanding him to return home; but
when upon his retreat Aratus took Caphyae, they commissioned him again.
In this expedition he took Methydrium, and overran the country of
the Argives; and the Achaeans, to oppose him, came out with an army
of twenty thousand foot and one thousand horse, under the command
of Aristomachus. Cleomenes faced them at Pallantium, and offered battle,
but Aratus, being cowed by his bravery, would not suffer the general
to engage, but retreated amidst the reproaches of the Achaeans and
the derision and scorn of the Spartans, who were not above five thousand.
Cleomenes, encouraged by this success, began to speak boldly among
the citizens, and reminding them of a sentence of one of their ancient
kings, said, it was in vain now that the Spartans asked not how many
their enemies were, but where they were. After this, marching to the
assistance of the Eleans, whom the Achaeans were attacking, falling
upon the enemy in their retreat near the Lycaeum, he put their whole
army to flight, taking a great number of captives, and leaving many
dead upon the place; so that it was commonly reported amongst the
Greeks that Aratus was slain. But Aratus, making the best advantage
of the opportunity, immediately after the defeat marched to Mantinea,
and before anybody suspected it, took the city, and put a garrison
into it. Upon this, the Lacedaemonians being quite discouraged, and
opposing Cleomenes's designs of carrying on the war, he now exerted
himself to have Archidamus, the brother of Agis, sent for from Messene,
as he, of the other family, had a right to the kingdom; and besides,
Cleomenes thought that the power of the ephors would be reduced, when
the kingly state was thus filled up, and raised to its proper position.
But those that were concerned in the murder of Agis, perceiving the
design, and fearing that upon Archidamus's return that they should
be called to an account, received him on his coming privately into
town, and joined in bringing him home, and presently after murdered
him. Whether Cleomenes was against it, as Phylarchus thinks, or whether
he was persuaded by his friends, or let him fall into their hands,
is uncertain; however, they were most blamed, as having forced his

He, still resolving to new model the state, bribed the ephors to send
him out to war; and won the affections of many others by means of
his mother Cratesiclea, who spared no cost and was very zealous to
promote her son's ambition; and though of herself she had no inclination
to marry, yet for his sake she accepted, as her husband, one of the
chiefest citizens for wealth and power. Cleomenes, marching forth
with the army now under his command, took Leuctra, a place belonging
to Megalopolis; and the Achaeans quickly coming up to resist him with
a good body of men commanded by Aratus, in a battle under the very
walls of the city, some part of his army was routed. But whereas Aratus
had commanded the Achaeans not to pass a deep watercourse, and thus
put a stop to the pursuit, Lydiadas, the Megalopolitan, fretting at
the orders, and encouraging the horse which he led, and following
the routed enemy, got into a place full of vines, hedges, and ditches;
and being forced to break his ranks, began to retire in disorder.
Cleomenes, observing the advantage, commanded the Tarentines and Cretans
to engage him, by whom, after a brave defence, he was routed and slain.
The Lacedaemonians, thus encouraged, fell with a great shout upon
the Achaeans, and routed their whole army. Of the slain, who were
very many, the rest Cleomenes delivered up, when the enemy petitioned
for them; but the body of Lydiadas he commanded to be brought to him;
and then putting on it a purple robe, and a crown upon its head, sent
a convoy with it to the gates of Megalopolis. This is that Lydiadas
who resigned his power as tyrant, restored liberty to the citizens,
and joined the city to the Achaean interest. 

Cleomenes, being very much elated by this success, and persuaded that
if matters were wholly at his disposal he should soon be too hard
for the Achaeans, persuaded Magistonus, his mother's husband, that
it was expedient for the state to shake off the power of the ephors,
and to put all their wealth into one common stock for the whole body;
thus Sparta, being restored to its old equality, might aspire again
to the command of all Greece. Megistonas liked the design, and engaged
two or three more of his friends. About that time, one of the ephors,
sleeping in Pasiphaes temple, dreamed a very surprising dream; for
he thought he saw the four chairs removed out of the place where the
ephors used to sit and do the business of their office, and one only
set there; and whilst he wondered, he heard a voice out of the temple,
saying, "This is best for Sparta." The person telling Cleomenes this
dream, he was a little troubled at first, fearing that he used this
as a trick to sift him, upon some suspicion of his design, but when
he was satisfied that the relator spoke truth, he took heart again.
And carrying with him those whom he thought would be most against
his project, he took Heraea and Alsaea two towns in league with the
Achaeans, furnished Orchomenus with provisions, encamped before Mantinea,
and with long marches up and down so harassed the Lacedaemonians that
many of them at their own request were left behind in Arcadia, while
he with the mercenaries went on toward Sparta, and by the way communicated
his design to those whom he thought fitted for his purpose, and marched
slowly, that he might catch the ephors at supper. 

When he was come near the city, he sent Euryclidas to the public table,
where the ephors supped, under pretence of carrying some message from
him from the army; Therycion, Phoebis, and two of those who had been
bred up with Cleomenes, whom they call mothaces, followed with a few
soldiers; and whilst Euryclidas was delivering his message to the
ephors, they ran upon them with their drawn swords and slew them.
The first of them, Agylaeus, on receiving the blow, fell, and lay
as dead; but in a little time quietly raising himself, and drawing
himself out of the room, he crept, without being discovered, into
a little building which was dedicated to Fear, and which always used
to be shut, but then by chance was open; and being got in, he shut
the door, and lay close. The other four were killed, and above ten
more that came to their assistance; to those that were quiet they
did no harm, stopped none that fled from the city and spared Agylaeus
when he came out of the temple the next day. 

The Lacedaemonians have not only sacred places dedicated to Fear,
but also to Death, Laughter, and the like Passions. Now they worship
Fear, not as they do supernatural powers which they dread, esteeming
it hurtful, but thinking their polity is chiefly kept up by fear.
Therefore the ephors, Aristotle is my author, when they entered upon
their government, made proclamation to the people, that they should
shave their mustaches and be obedient to the laws, that the laws might
not be hard upon them, making, I suppose, this trivial injunction
to accustom their youth to obedience even in the smallest matters.
And the ancients, I think, did not imagine bravery to be plain fearlessness,
but a cautious fear of blame and disgrace. For those that show most
timidity towards the laws are most bold against their enemies; and
those are least afraid of any danger who are most afraid of a just
reproach. Therefore it was well said that- 

"A reverence still attends on fear;" and by Homer,- 

"Feared you shall be, dear father, and revered;" and again,-

"In silence fearing those that bore the sway;" for the generality
of men are most ready to reverence those whom they fear. And, therefore,
the Lacedaemonians placed the temple of Fear by the Syssitium of the
ephors, having raised that magistracy to almost royal authority.

The next day, Cleomenes proscribed eighty of the citizens whom he
thought necessary to banish, and removed all the seats of the ephors,
except one, in which he himself designed to sit and give audience;
and calling the citizens together he made an apology for his proceedings,
saying, that by Lycurgus, the counsel of Elders was joined to the
kings, and that that of government had continued a long time, and
no other sort of magistrates had been wanted. But afterwards, in the
long war with the Messenians, when the kings, having to command the
army, found no time to administer justice, they chose some of their
friends, and left them to determine the suits of the citizens in their
stead. These were called ephors, and at first behaved themselves as
servants to the kings; but afterwards, by degrees, they appropriated
the power to themselves, and erected a distinct magistracy. An evidence
of the truth of this was the custom still observed by the kings, who,
when the ephors send for them, refuse, upon the first and the second
summons, to go, but upon the third rise up and attend them. And Asteropus,
the first that raised the ephors to that height of power, lived a
great many years after their institution. So long, therefore, he continued,
as they contained themselves within their own proper sphere, it had
been better to bear with them than to make a disturbance. But that
an upstart introduced power should so far subvert the ancient form
of government as to banish some kings, murder others, without hearing
their defence, and threaten those who desired to see the best and
most divine constitution restored in Sparta, was not to be borne.
Therefore, if it had been possible for him without bloodshed to free
Lacedaemon from those foreign plagues, luxury, sumptuosity, debts,
and usury, and from those yet more ancient evils, poverty and riches,
he should have thought himself the happiest king in the world, to
have succeeded, like an expert physician, in curing the diseases of
his country without pain. But now, in this necessity, Lycurgus's example
favoured his proceedings, who being neither king nor magistrate, but
a private man, and aiming at the kingdom, came armed into the market-place,
so that King Charillus fled in alarm to the altar. He, being a good
man, and a lover of his country, readily concurred in Lycurgus's designs,
and admitted the revolution in the state. But, by his own actions,
Lycurgus had nevertheless borne witness that it was difficult to change
the government without force and fear, in the use of which he himself,
he said, had been so moderate as to do no more than put out of the
way those who opposed themselves to Sparta's happiness and safety.
For the rest of the nation, he told them, the whole land was now their
common property; debtors should be cleared of their debts, and examination
made of those who were not citizens, that the bravest men might thus
be made free Spartans, and give aid in arms to save the city, and
"we," he said, "may no longer see Laconia, for want of men to defend
it, wasted by the Aetolians and Illyrians." 

Then he himself first, with his step-father, Megistonas, and his friends,
gave up all their wealth into one public stock, and all the other
citizens followed the example. The land was divided, and every one
that he had banished had a share assigned him; for he promised to
restore all as soon as things were settled and in quiet. And completing
the number of citizens out of the best and most promising of the country
people, he raised a body of four thousand men; and instead of a spear,
taught them to use a sarissa, with both hands, and to carry their
shields by a band, and not by a handle, as before. After this he began
to consult about the education of the youth, and the Discipline, as
they call it; most of the particulars of which Sphaerus, being then
at Sparta, assisted in arranging; and in a short time the schools
of exercise and the common tables recovered their ancient decency
and order, a few out of necessity, but the most voluntarily, returning
to that generous and Laconic way of living. And, that the name of
monarch might give them no jealousy, he made Euclidas, his brother,
partner in the throne; and that was the only time that Sparta had
two kings of the same family. 

Then, understanding that the Achaeans and Aratus imagined that this
change had disturbed and shaken his affairs, and that he would not
venture out of Sparta and leave the city now unsettled in the midst
of so great an alteration, he thought it great and serviceable to
his designs to show his enemies the zeal and forwardness of his troops.
And, therefore, making an incursion into the territories of Megalopolis,
he wasted the country far and wide, and collected considerable booty.
And at last, taking a company of actors as they were travelling from
Messene, and building a theatre in the enemy's country, and offering
a prize of forty mince in value, he sat spectator a whole day; not
that he either desired or needed such amusement, but wishing to show
his disregard for his enemies, and by a display of his contempt, to
prove the extent of his superiority to them. For his alone, of all
the Greek or royal armies, had no stage-players, no jugglers, no dancing
or singing women attending it but was free from all sorts of looseness,
wantonness, and festivity, the young men being for the most part at
their exercises, and the old men giving them lessons, or, at leisure
times, diverting themselves with their native jests, and quick Laconian
answers; the good results of which we have noticed in the life of

He himself instructed all by his example; he was a living pattern
of temperance before every man's eyes; and his course of living was
neither more stately, nor more expensive, nor in any way more pretentious,
than that of his people. And this was a considerable advantage to
him in his designs on Greece. For men when they waited upon other
kings did not so much admire their wealth, costly furniture, and numerous
attendance, as they hated their pride and state, their difficulty
of access, and imperious answers to their addresses. But when they
came to Cleomenes, who was both really a king and bore that title,
and saw no purple, no robes of state upon him, no couches and litters
about him for his ease, and that he did not receive requests and return
answers after a long delay and difficulty, through a number of messengers
and door-keepers, or by memorials, but that he rose and came forward
in any dress he might happen to be wearing, to meet those that came
to wait upon him, stayed, talked freely and affably with all that
had business, they were extremely taken, and won to his service, and
professed that he alone was the true son of Hercules. His common every-day's
meal was in an ordinary room, very sparing, and after the Laconic
manner; and when he entertained ambassadors, or strangers, two more
couches were added, and a little better dinner provided by his servants,
but no savouring sauces or sweetmeats; only the dishes were larger,
and the wine more plentiful. For he reproved one of his friends for
entertaining some strangers with nothing but barley bread and black
broth, such diet as they usually had in their phiditia; saying that
upon such occasions, and when they entertained strangers, it was not
well to be too exact Laconians. After the table was removed, a stand
was brought in with a brass vessel full of wine, two silver bowls,
which held about a pint apiece, a few silver cups, of which he that
pleased might drink, but wine was not urged on any of the guests.
There was no music, nor was any required; for he entertained the company
himself, sometimes asking questions, sometimes telling stories; and
his conversation was neither too grave or disagreeably serious, nor
yet in any way rude or ungraceful in its pleasantry. For he thought
those ways of entrapping men by gifts and presents, which other kings
use, dishonest and artificial; and it seemed to him to be the most
noble method, and most suitable to a king, to win the affections of
those that came near him, by personal intercourse and agreeable conversation,
since between a friend and a mercenary the only distinction is, that
we gain the one by one's character and conversation, the other by
one's money. 

The Mantineans were the first that requested his aid; and when he
entered their city by night, they aided him to expel the Achaean garrison,
and put themselves under his protection. He restored them their polity
and laws, and the same day marched to Tegea; and a little while after,
fetching a compass through Arcadia, he made a descent upon Pherae,
in Achaea, intending to force Aratus to a battle, or bring him into
disrepute for refusing to engage, and suffer him to waste the country.
Hyperbatas at that time was general, but Aratus had all the power
amongst the Achaeans, marching forth with their whole strength, and
encamping in Dymae, near the Hecatombaeum, Cleomenes came up, and
thinking it not advisable to pitch between Dymae, a city of the enemies,
and the camp of the Achaeans, he boldly dared the Achaeans, and forced
them to a battle, and routing their phalanx, slew a great many in
the fight, and took many prisoners, and thence marching to Langon,
and driving out the Achaean garrison, he restored the city to the

The affair of the Achaeans being in this unfortunate condition, Aratus,
who was wont to take the office every other year, refused the command,
though they entreated and urged him to accept it. And this was ill-done,
when the storm was high, to put the power out of his own hands, and
set another to the helm. Cleomenes at first proposed fair and easy
conditions by his ambassadors to the Achaeans, but afterwards he sent
others, and required the chief command to be settled upon him; in
other matters offering to agree to reasonable terms, and to restore
their captives and their country. The Achaeans were willing to come
to an agreement upon those terms, and invited Cleomenes to Lerna,
where an assembly was to be held; but it happened that Cleomenes,
hastily marching on, and drinking water at a wrong time, brought up
a quantity of blood and lost his voice; therefore being unable to
continue his journey, he sent the chiefest of the captives to the
Achaeans, and, putting off the meeting for some time, retired to Lacedaemon.

This ruined the affairs of Greece, which was just beginning in some
sort to recover from its disasters, and to show some capability of
delivering itself from the insolence and rapacity of the Macedonians.
For Aratus (whether fearing or distrusting Cleomenes, or envying his
unlooked-for success, or thinking it a disgrace for him who had commanded
thirty-three years to have a young man succeed to all his glory and
his power, and be head of that government which he had been raising
and settling so many years), first endeavoured to keep the Achaeans
from closing with Cleomenes; but when they would not hearken to him,
for Cleomenes' daring spirit, and thinking the Lacedaemonians' proposals
to be very reasonable, who designed only to reduce Peloponnesus to
its own model, upon this he took his last refuge in an action which
was unbecoming any of the Greeks, most dishonourable to him, and most
unworthy his former bravery and exploits. For he called Antigonus
into Greece and filled Peloponnesus with Macedonians, whom he himself,
when a youth, having beaten their garrison out of the castle of Corinth,
had driven from the same country. And there had been constant suspicion
and variance between him and all the kings, and of Antigonus, in particular,
he has said a thousand dishonourable things in the commentaries he
has left behind him. And though he declares himself how he suffered
considerable losses, and underwent great dangers, that he might free
Athens from the garrison of the Macedonians, yet, afterwards, he brought
the very same men armed into his own country, and his own house, even
to the women's apartment. He would not endure that one of the family
of Hercules, and king of Sparta, and one that reformed the polity
of his country, as it were, from a disordered harmony, and returned
it to the plain Doric measure and rule of life of Lycurgus, should
be styled head of the Tritaeans and Sicyonians; and whilst he fled
the barley-cake and coarse coat, and, which were his chief accusations
against Cleomenes, the extirpation of wealth and reformation of poverty,
he basely subjected himself, together with Achaea, to the diadem and
purple, to the imperious commands of the Macedonians and their satraps.
That he might not seem to be under Cleomenes, he offered sacrifices,
called Antigonea, in honour of Antigonus, and sang paeans himself,
with a garland on his head, to the praise of a wasted, consumptive
Macedonian. I write this not out of any design to disgrace Aratus,
for in many things he showed himself a true lover of Greece, and a
great man, but out of pity to the weakness of human nature, which,
in characters like this, so worthy and in so many ways disposed to
virtue, cannot maintain its honours unblemished by some envious fault.

The Achaeans meeting again in assembly at Argas, and Cleomenes having
come from Tegea, there were great hopes that all differences would
be composed. But Aratus, Antigonus and he having already agreed upon
the chief articles of their league, fearing that Cleomenes would carry
all before him, and either win or force the multitude to comply with
his commands, proposed that, having three hundred hostages put into
his hands, he should come alone into the town, or bring his army to
the place of exercise, called the Cyllarabium, outside the city, and
treat there. 

Cleomenes, hearing this, said that he was unjustly dealt with; for
they ought to have told him so plainly at first, and not now he was
come even to their doors, show their jealousy and deny him admission.
And writing a letter to the Achaeans about the same subject, the greatest
part of which was an accusation of Aratus, while Aratus, on the other
side, spoke violently against him to the assembly, he hastily dislodged,
and sent a trumpeter to denounce war against the Achaeans, not to
Argos, but to Aegium, as Aratus writes, that he might not give them
notice enough to make provision for their defence. There had also
been a movement among the Achaeans themselves, and the cities were
eager for revolt; the common people expecting a division of the land,
and a release from their debts, and the chief men being in many places
ill-disposed to Aratus, and some of them angry and indignant with
him for having brought the Macedonians into Peloponnesus. Encouraged
by these misunderstandings, Cleomenes invaded Achaea, and first took
Pellene by surprise, and beat out the Achaean garrison, and afterwards
brought over Pheneus and Pentelleum to his side. Now the Achaeans,
suspecting some treacherous designs at Corinth and Sicyon, sent their
horse and mercenaries out of Argos, to have an eye upon those cities,
and they themselves went to Argos to celebrate the Nemean games. Cleomenes,
advertised of this march, and hoping, as it afterwards fell out, that
upon an unexpected advance to the city, now busied in the solemnity
of the games, and thronged with numerous spectators, he should raise
a considerable terror and confusion amongst them by night, marched
with his army to the walls, and taking the quarter of the town called
Aspis, which lies above the theatre, well fortified, and hard to be
approached, he so terrified them that none offered to resist, but
they agreed to accept a garrison, to give twenty citizens for hostages,
and to assist the Lacedaemonians, and that he should have the chief

This action considerably increased his reputation and his power; for
the ancient Spartan kings, though they in many ways endeavoured to
effect it, could never bring Argos to be permanently theirs. And Pyrrhus,
the most experienced captain, though he entered the city by force,
could not keep possession, but was slain himself, with a considerable
part of his army. Therefore they admired the despatch and contrivance
of Cleomenes; and those that before derided him, for imitating, as
they said, Solon and Lycurgus, in releasing the people from their
debts, and in equalizing the property of the citizens, were now fain
to admit that this was the cause of the change in the Spartans. For
before they were very low in the world, and so unable to secure their
own, that the Aetolians, invading Laconia brought away fifty thousand
slaves; so that one of the elder Spartans is reported to have said,
that they had done Laconia a kindness by unburdening it; and yet a
little while after, by merely recurring once again to their native
customs, and re-entering the track of the ancient discipline, they
were able to give, as though it had been under the eyes and conduct
of Lycurgus himself, the most signal instances of courage and obedience,
raising Sparta to her ancient place as the commanding state of Greece,
and recovering all Peloponnesus. 

When Argos was captured, and Cleonae and Phlius came over, as they
did at once, to Cleomenes, Aratus was at Corinth, searching after
some who were reported to favour the Spartan interest. The news, being
brought to him, disturbed him very much; for he perceived the city
inclining to Cleomenes, and willing to be rid of the Achaeans. Therefore
he summoned the citizens to meet in the Council Hall, and slipping
away without being observed to the gate, he mounted his horse that
had been brought for him thither, and fled to Sicyon. And the Corinthians
made such haste to Cleomenes at Argos, that, as Aratus says, striving
who should be first there, they spoiled all their horses; he adds
that Cleomenes was very angry with the Corinthians for letting him
escape; and that Megistonas came from Cleomenes to him, desiring him
to deliver up the castle at Corinth, which was then garrisoned by
the Achaeans, and offered him a considerable sum of money, and that
he answered that matters were not now in his power, but he in theirs.
Thus Aratus himself writes. But Cleomenes, marching from Argos, and
taking in the Troezenians, Epidaurians, and Hermioneans, came to Corinth,
and blocked up the castle, which the Achaeans would not surrender;
and sending for Aratus's friends and stewards, committed his house
and estate to their care and management; and sent Tritymallus, the
Messenian, to him a second time, desiring that the castle might be
equally garrisoned by the Spartans and Achaeans, and promising to
Aratus himself double the pension that he received from King Ptolemy.
But Aratus, refusing the conditions, and sending his own son with
the other hostages to Antigonus, and persuading the Achaeans to make
a decree for delivering the castle into Antigonus's hands, upon this
Cleomenes invaded the territory of the Sicyonians, and by a decree
of the Corinthians, accepted Aratus's estate as a gift. 

In the meantime Antigonus, with a great army, was passing Geranea;
and Cleomenes, thinking it more advisable to fortify and garrison,
not the isthmus, but the mountains called Onea, and by a war of posts
and positions to weary the Macedonians, rather than to venture a set
battle with the highly disciplined phalanx, put his design into execution,
and very much distressed Antigonus. For he had not brought victuals
sufficient for his army; nor was it easy to force a way through whilst
Cleomenes guarded the pass. He attempted by night to pass through
Lechaeum, but failed and lost some men; so that Cleomenes and his
army were mightily encouraged, and so flushed with the victory, that
they went merrily to supper; and Antigonus was very much dejected,
being driven, by the necessity he was in, to most unpromising attempts.
He was proposing to march to the promontory of Heraeum, and thence
transport his army in boats to Sicyon, which would take up a great
deal of time, and require much preparation and means. But when it
was now evening, some of Aratus's friends came from Argos by sea,
and invited him to return, for the Argives would revolt from Cleomenes.
Aristoteles was the man that wrought the revolt, and he had no hard
task to persuade the common people; for they were all angry with Cleomenes
for not releasing them from their debts as they expected. Accordingly,
obtaining fifteen hundred of Antigonus's soldiers, Aratus sailed to
Epidaurus; but Aristoteles, not staying for his coming, drew out the
citizens, and fought against the garrison of the castle; and Timoxenus,
with the Achaeans from Sicyon, came to his assistance. 

Cleomenes heard the news about the second watch of the night, and
sending for Megistonas, angrily commanded him to go and set things
right at Argos. Megistonas had passed his word for the Argives' loyalty,
and had persuaded him not to banish the suspected. Therefore, despatching
him with two thousand soldiers, he himself kept watch upon Antigonus,
and encouraged the Corinthians, pretending that there was no great
matter in the commotions at Argos, but only a little disturbance raised
by a few inconsiderable persons. But when Megistonas, entering Argos,
was slain, and the garrison could scarce hold out, and frequent messengers
came to Cleomenes for succours, he fearing lest the enemy, having
taken Argos, should shut up the passes and securely waste Laconia,
and besiege Sparta itself, which he had left without forces, dislodged
from Corinth, and immediately lost that city; for Antigonus entered
it and garrisoned the town. He turned aside from his direct march,
and assaulting the walls of Argos, endeavoured to carry it by a sudden
attack; and then, having collected his forces from their march, breaking
into the Aspis, he joined the garrison, which still held out against
the Achaeans; some parts of the city he scaled and took, and his Cretan
archers cleared the streets. But when he saw Antigonus with his phalanx
descending from the mountains into the plain, and the horse on all
sides entering the city, he thought it impossible to maintain his
post, and, gathering together all his men, came safely down and made
his retreat under the walls, having in so short a time possessed himself
of great power, and in one journey, so to say, having made himself
master of all Peloponnesus, and now lost all again in as short a time.
For some of his allies at once withdrew and forsook him, and others
not long after put their cities under Antigonus's protection. His
hopes thus defeated, as he was leading back the relics of his forces,
messengers from Lacedaemon met him in the evening at Tegea, and brought
him news of as great a misfortune as that which he had lately suffered,
and this was the death of his wife, to whom he was so attached and
thought so much of her that even in his most successful expeditions,
when he was most prosperous, he could not refrain, but would every
now and then come home to Sparta, to visit Agiatis. 

This news afflicted him extremely, and he grieved, as a young man
would do, for the loss of a very beautiful and excellent wife; yet
he did not let his passion disgrace him or impair the greatness of
his mind, but keeping his usual voice, his countenance, and his habit,
he gave necessary orders to his captains, and took the precautions
required for the safety of Tegea. Next morning he came to Sparta,
and having at home, with his mother and children, bewailed the loss,
and finished his mourning, he at once devoted himself to the public
affairs of the state. 

Now Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, promised him assistance, but demanded
his mother and children for hostages. This, for some considerable
time, he was ashamed to discover to his mother; and though he often
went to her on purpose, and was just upon the discourse, yet he still
refrained, and kept it to himself; so that she began to suspect, and
asked his friends, whether Cleomenes had something to say to her,
which he was afraid to speak. At last, Cleomenes venturing to tell
her, she laughed aloud, and said, "Was this the thing that you had
so often a mind to tell me, and were afraid? Make haste and put me
on ship-board, and send this carcass where it may be most serviceable
to Sparta, before age destroys it unprofitably here." Therefore, all
things being provided for the voyage, they went by land to Taenarus,
and the army waited on them. Cratesiclea, when she was ready to go
on board, took Cleomenes aside into Neptune's temple and embracing
him, who was much dejected and extremely discomposed, she said, "Go
to, King of Sparta; when we come forth at the door, let none see us
weep, or show any passion that is unworthy of Sparta, for that alone
is in our own power; as for success or disappointment, those wait
on us as the deity decrees." Having thus said and composed her countenance,
she went to the ship with her little grandson, and bade the pilot
put at once out to sea. When she came to Egypt, and understood that
Ptolemy entertained proposals and overtures of peace from Antigonus,
and that Cleomenes, though the Achaeans invited and urged him to an
agreement, was afraid, for her sake, to come to any, without Ptolemy's
consent, she wrote to him, advising him to do that which was most
becoming and most profitable for Sparta, and not, for the sake of
an old woman and a little child, stand always in fear of Ptolemy.
This character she maintained in her misfortunes. 

Antigonus, having taken Tegea, and plundered Orchomenus and Mantinea,
Cleomenes was shut up within the narrow bounds of Laconia; and making
such of the helots as could pay five Attic pounds free of Sparta,
and, by that means, getting together five hundred talents, and arming
two thousand after the Macedonian fashion, that he might make a body
fit to oppose Antigonus's Leucaspides, he undertook a great and unexpected
enterprise. Megalopolis was at that time a city of itself as great
and as powerful as Sparta, and had the forces of the Achaeans and
of Antigonus encamping beside it; and it was chiefly the Megalopolitans'
doing, that Antigonus had been called in to assist the Achaeans. Cleomenes,
resolving to snatch the city (no other word so well suits so rapid
and so surprising an action), ordered his men to take five days' provision,
and marched to Sellasia, as if he intended to ravage the country of
the Argives; but from thence making a descent into the territories
of Megalopolis, and refreshing his army about Rhoeteum, he suddenly
took the road by Helicus, and advanced directly upon the city. When
he was not far off the town, he sent Panteus, with two regiments,
to surprise a portion of the wall between two towers, which he learnt
to be the most unguarded quarter of the Megalopolitans' fortifications,
and with the rest of his forces he followed leisurely. Panteus not
only succeeded at that point, but finding a great part of the wall
without guards, he at once proceeded to pull it down in some places,
and make openings through it in others, and killed all the defenders
that he found. Whilst he was thus busied, Cleomenes came up to him,
and was got with his army within the city, before the Megalopolitans
knew of the surprise. When, after some time, they learned their misfortune,
some left the town immediately, taking with them what property they
could; others armed and engaged the enemy; and though they were not
able to beat them out, yet they gave their citizens time and opportunity
safely to retire, so that there were not above one thousand persons
taken in the town, all the rest flying, with their wives and children,
and escaping to Messene. The greater number, also, of those that armed
and fought the enemy were saved, and very few taken, amongst whom
were Lysandridas and Thearidas, two men of great power and reputation
amongst the Megalopolitans; and therefore the soldiers, as soon as
they were taken, brought them to Cleomenes. And Lysandridas, as soon
as he saw Cleomenes afar off, cried out, "Now, King of Sparta, it
is in your power, by doing a most kingly and a nobler action than
you have already performed, to purchase the greatest glory." And Cleomenes,
guessing at his meaning, replied, "What, Lysandridas, you will not
surely advise me to restore your city to you again?" "It is that which
I mean," Lysandridas replied; "and I advise you not to ruin so brave
a city, but to fill it with faithful and steadfast friends and allies,
by restoring their country to the Megalopolitans, and being the saviour
of so considerable a people." Cleomenes paused a while, and then said:
"It is very hard to trust so far in these matters; but with us let
profit always yield to glory." Having said this, he sent the two men
to Messene with a herald from himself, offering the Megalopolitans
their city again, if they would forsake the Achaean interest, and
be on his side. But though Cleomenes made these generous and humane
proposals, Philopoemen would not suffer them to break their league
with the Achaeans; and accusing Cleomenes to the people, as if his
design was not to restore the city, but to take the citizens too,
he forced Thearidas and Lysandridas to leave Messene. 

This was that Philopoemen who was afterwards chief of the Achaeans
and a man of the greatest reputation amongst the Greeks, as I have
related in his own life. This news coming to Cleomenes, though he
had before taken strict care that the city should not be plundered,
yet then, being in anger, and out of all patience, he despoiled the
place of all the valuables, and sent the statues and pictures to Sparta;
and demolishing a great part of the city, he marched away for fear
of Antigonus and the Achaeans; but they never stirred, for they were
at Aegium, at a council of war. There Aratus mounted the speaker's
place, and wept a long while, holding his mantle before his face;
and at last, the company being amazed, and commanding him to speak,
he said, "Megalopolis is destroyed by Cleomenes." The assembly instantly
dissolved, the Achaeans being astounded at the suddenness and greatness
of the loss; and Antigonus, intending to send speedy succours, when
he found his forces gather very slowly out of their winter-quarters,
sent them orders to continue there still; and he himself marched to
Argos with a small body of men. And now the second enterprise of Cleomenes,
though it had the look of a desperate and frantic adventure, yet in
Polybius's opinion, was done with mature deliberation and great foresight.
For knowing very well that the Macedonians were dispersed into their
winter-quarters, and that Antigonus with his friends and a few mercenaries
about him wintered in Argos, upon these considerations he invaded
the country of the Argives, hoping to shame Antigonus to a battle
upon unequal terms, or else if he did not dare to fight, to bring
him into disrepute with the Achaeans. And this accordingly happened.
For Cleomenes wasting, plundering, and spoiling the whole country,
the Argives, in grief and anger at the loss, gathered in crowds at
the king's gates, crying out that he should either fight, or surrender
his command to better and braver men. But Antigonus, as became an
experienced captain, accounting it rather dishonourable foolishly
to hazard his army and quit his security, than merely to be railed
at by other people, would not march out against Cleomenes, but stood
firm to his convictions. Cleomenes, in the meantime, brought his army
up to the very walls, and having without opposition spoiled the country,
and insulted over his enemies, drew off again. 

A little while after, being informed that Antigonus designed a new
advance to Tegea, and thence to invade Laconia, he rapidly took his
soldiers, and marching by a side-road, appeared early in the morning
before Argos, and wasted the fields about it. The corn he did not
cut down, as is usual, with reaping books and knives, but beat it
down with great wooden staves made like broadswords, as if, in mere
contempt and wanton scorn, while travelling on his way, without any
effort or trouble, he spoiled and destroyed their harvest. Yet when
his soldiers would have set Cyllabaris, the exercise ground, on fire,
he stopped the attempt, as if he felt that the mischief he had done
at Megalopolis had been the effort of his passion rather than his
wisdom. And when Antigonus, first of all, came hastily back to Argos,
and then occupied the mountains and passes with his posts, he professed
to disregard and despise it all; and sent heralds to ask for the keys
of the temple of Juno, as though he proposed to offer sacrifice there
and then return. And with this scornful pleasantry upon Antigonus,
having sacrificed to the goddess under the walls of the temple, which
was shut, he went to Phlius; and from thence driving out those that
garrisoned Oligyrtus, he marched down to Orchomenus. And these enterprises
not only encouraged the citizens, but made him appear to the very
enemies to be a man worthy of high command, and capable of great things.
For with the strength of one city, not only to fight the power of
the Macedonians and all the Peloponnesians, supported by all the royal
treasures, not only to preserve Laconia from being spoiled, but to
waste the enemy's country, and to take so many and such considerable
cities, was an argument of no common skill and genius for command.

But he that first said that money was the sinews of affairs, seems
especially in that saying to refer to war. Demades, when the Athenians
had voted that their galleys should be launched and equipped for action,
but could produce no money, told them, "The baker was wanted first,
and the pilot after." And the old Archidamus, in the beginning of
the Peloponnesian war, when the allies desired that the amount of
their contributions should be determined, is reported to have answered,
that war cannot be fed upon so much a day. For as wrestlers, who have
thoroughly trained and, disciplined their bodies, in time tire down
and exhaust the most agile and most skilful combatant, so Antigonus,
coming to the war with great resources to spend from, wore out Cleomenes,
whose poverty made it difficult for him to provide the merest sufficiency
of pay for the mercenaries, or of provisions for the citizens. For,
in all other respects, time favoured Cleomenes; for Antigonus's affair
at home began to be disturbed. For the barbarians wasted and overran
Macedonia whilst he was absent, and at that particular time a vast
army of Illyrians had entered the country; to be freed from whose
devastations, the Macedonians sent for Antigonus, and the letters
had almost been brought to him before the battle was fought upon the
receipt of which he would at once have marched away home and left
the Achaeans to look to themselves. But Fortune, that loves to determine
the greatest affairs by a minute, in this conjuncture showed such
an exact niceness of time, that immediately after the battle in Sellasia
was over, and Cleomenes had lost his army and his city, the messengers
came up and called for Antigonus. And this above everything made Cleomenes's
misfortune to be pitied; for if he had gone on retreating and had
forborne fighting two days longer, there had been no need of hazarding
a battle; since upon the departure of the Macedonians, he might have
had what conditions he pleased from the Achaeans. But now, as was
said before, for want of money, being necessitated to trust everything
to arms, he was forced with twenty thousand (such is Polybius's account),
to engage thirty thousand. And approving himself an admirable commander
in this difficulty, his citizens showing an extraordinary courage,
and his mercenaries bravery enough, he was overborne by the different
way of fighting, and the weight of the heavy-armed phalanx. Phylarchus
also affirms that the treachery of some about him was the chief cause
of Cleomenes's ruin. 

For Antigonus gave orders that the Illyrians and Acarnanians should
march round by a secret way, and encompass the other wing, which Euclidas,
Cleomenes's brother, commanded; and then drew out the rest of his
forces to the battle. And Cleomenes, from a convenient rising, viewing
his order, and not seeing any of the Illyrians and Acarnanians, began
to suspect that Antigonus had sent them upon some such design; and
calling for Damoteles, who was at the head of those specially appointed
to such ambush duty, he bade him carefully to look after and discover
the enemy's designs upon his rear. But Damoteles, for some say Antigonus
had bribed him, telling him that he should not be solicitous about
that matter, for all was well enough, but mind and fight those that
met him in the front, he was satisfied, and advanced against Antigonus;
and by the vigorous charge of his Spartans, made the Macedonian phalanx
give ground, and pressed upon them with great advantage about half
a mile; but then making a stand, and seeing the danger which the surrounding
wing, commanded by his brother Euclidas, was in, he cried out, "Thou
art lost, dear brother, thou art lost, thou brave example to our Spartan
youth and theme of our matron's songs." And Euclidas's wing being
cut in pieces, and the conquerors from that part falling upon him,
he perceived his soldiers to be disordered, and unable to maintain
the fight, and therefore provided for his own safety. There fell,
we are told, in the battle, besides many of the mercenary soldiers,
all the Spartans, six thousand in number, except two hundred.

When Cleomenes came into the city, he advised those citizens that
he met to receive Antigonus; and as for himself, he said, which should
appear most advantageous to Sparta, whether his life or death, that
he would choose. Seeing the women running out to those that had fled
with him, taking their arms, and bringing drink to them, he entered
into his own house, and his servant, who was a freeborn woman, taken
from Megalopolis after his wife's death, offering, as usual, to do
the service he needed on returning from war, though he was very thirsty,
he refused to drink, and though very weary to sit down; but in his
corselet as he was, he laid his arm sideway against a pillar, and
leaning his forehead upon his elbow, he rested his body a little while,
and ran over in his thoughts all the courses he could take; and then
with his friends set out at once for Gythium; where, finding ships
which had been got ready for this very purpose, they embarked. Antigonus,
taking the city, treated the Lacedaemonians courteously, and in no
way off any insult or offence to the dignity of Sparta, but permitting
them to enjoy their own laws and polity, and sacrificing to the gods,
dislodged the third day. For he heard that there was a great war in
Macedonia, and that the country was devastated by the barbarians.
Besides, his malady had now thoroughly settled into a consumption
and continual catarrh. Yet he still kept up, and managed to return
and deliver his country, and meet there a most glorious death, in
a great defeat and vast slaughter of the barbarians. As Phylarchus
says, and as is probable in itself, he broke a blood-vessel by shouting
in the battle itself. In the schools we used to be told that, after
the victory was won, he cried out for joy, "O glorious day!" and presently
bringing up a quantity of blood, fell into a fever, which never left
him till his death. And thus much concerning Antigonus. 

Cleomenes, sailing from Cythera, touched at another island called,
Aegialia, whence as he was about to depart for Cyrene, one of his
friends, Therycion by name, a man of a noble spirit in all enterprises,
and bold and lofty in his talk, came privately to him, and said thus:
"Sir, death in battle, which is the most glorious, we have let go;
though all heard us say that Antigonus should never tread over the
King of Sparta, unless dead. And now that course which is next in
honour and virtue is presented to us. Whither do we madly sail, flying
the evil which is near, to seek that which is at a distance? For if
it is not dishonourable for the race of Hercules to serve the successors
of Philip and Alexander, we shall save a long voyage by delivering
ourselves up to Antigonus, who, probably, is as much better than Ptolemy,
as the Macedonians are better than the Egyptians; but if we think
it mean to submit to those whose arms have conquered us, why should
we choose him for our master, by whom we have not yet been beaten?
Is it to acknowledge two superiors instead of one, whilst we run away
from Antigonus, and flatter Ptolemy? Or, is it for your mother's sake
that you retreat to Egypt? It will indeed be a very fine and very
desirable sight for her to show her son to Ptolemy's women, now changed
from a prince into an exile and a slave. Are we not still masters
of our own swords? And whilst we have Laconia in view, shall we not
here free ourselves from this disgraceful misery, and clear ourselves
to those who at Sellasia died for the honour and defence of Sparta?
Or, shall we sit lazily in Egypt, inquiring what news from Sparta,
and whom Antigonus hath been pleased to make governor of Lacedaemon?"
Thus spoke Therycion; and this was Cleomenes's reply: "By seeking
death, you coward, the most easy and most ready refuge, you fancy
that you shall appear courageous and brave, though this flight is
baser than the former. Better men than we have given way to their
enemies, having been betrayed by fortune, or oppressed by multitude;
but he that gives way under labour or distresses, under the ill-opinions
or reports of men, yields the victory to his own effeminacy. For a
voluntary death ought not to be chosen as a relief from action but
as an exemplary action itself; and it is base either to live or to
die only to ourselves. That death to which you now invite us, is proposed
only as a release from our present miseries, but carries nothing of
nobleness or profit in it. And I think it becomes both me and you
not to despair of our country; but when there are no hopes of that
left, those that have an inclination may quickly die." To this Therycion
returned no answer; but as soon as he had an opportunity of leaving
Cleomenes's company, went aside on the seashore, and ran himself through.

But Cleomenes sailed from Aegialia, landed in Libya, and, being honourably
conducted through the king's country, came to Alexandria. When he
was first brought to Ptolemy, no more than common civilities and usual
attentions were paid him; but when, upon trial, he found him a man
of deep sense and great reason, and that his plain Laconic way of
conversation carried with it a noble and becoming grace, that he did
nothing unbecoming his birth, nor bent under fortune, and was evidently
a more faithful counsellor than those who made it their business to
please and flatter, he was ashamed, and repented that be had neglected
so great a man, and suffered Antigonus to get so much power and reputation
by ruining him. He now offered him many marks of respect and kindness,
and gave him hopes that he would furnish him with ships and money
to return to Greece, and would reinstate him in his kingdom. He granted
him a yearly pension of four-and-twenty talents; a little part of
which sum supplied his and his friends' thrifty temperance; and the
rest was employed in doing good offices to, and in relieving the necessities
of, the refugees that had fled from Greece, and retired into Egypt.

But the elder Ptolemy dying before Cleomenes's affairs had received
a full dispatch, and the successor being a loose, voluptuous, and
effeminate prince, under the power of his pleasures and his women,
his business was neglected. For the king was so besotted with his
women and his wine, that the employments of his most busy and serious
hours consisted at the utmost in celebrating religious feasts in his
palace, carrying a timbrel, and taking part in the show; while the
greatest affairs of state were managed by Agathoclea, the king's mistress,
her mother, and the pimp Oenanthes. At the first, indeed, they seemed
to stand in need of Cleomenes; for Ptolemy, being afraid of his brother
Magas, who by his mother's means had a great interest among the soldiers,
gave Cleomenes a place in his secret councils, and acquainted him
with the design of taking off his brother. He, though all were for
it, declared his opinion to the contrary, saying. "The king, if it
were possible, should have more brothers for the better security and
stability of his affairs." And Sosibius, the greatest favourite, replying
that they were not secure of the mercenaries whilst Magas was alive,
Cleomenes returned, that he need not trouble himself about that matter;
for amongst the mercenaries there were above three thousand Peloponnesians,
who were his fast friends, and whom he could command at any time with
a nod. This discourse made Cleomenes for the present to be looked
upon as a man of great influence and assured fidelity; but afterwards,
Ptolemy's weakness increasing his fear, and he, as it usually happens,
where there is no judgment and wisdom, placing his security in general
distrust and suspicion, it rendered Cleomenes suspected to the courtiers,
as having too much interest with the mercenaries; and many had this
saying in their mouths, that he was a lion amidst a flock of sheep.
For, in fact, such he seemed to be in the court, quietly watching
and keeping his eye upon all that went on. 

He therefore gave up all thought of asking for ships and soldiers
from the king. But receiving news that Antigonus was dead, that the
Achaeans were engaged in a war with the Aetolians, and that the affairs
of Peloponnesus, being now in very great distraction and disorder,
required and invited his assistance, he desired leave to depart only
with his friends, but could not obtain that, the king not so much
as hearing his petition, being shut up amongst his women, and wasting
his hours in bacchanalian rites and drinking parties. But Sosibius,
the chief minister and counsellor of state, thought that Cleomenes,
being detained against his will, would grow ungovernable and dangerous,
and yet that it was not safe to let him go, being an aspiring, daring
man, and well acquainted with the diseases and weakness of the kingdom.
For neither could presents and gifts conciliate or content him; but
even as Apis, while living in all possible plenty and apparent delight,
yet desires to live as nature would provide for him, to range at liberty,
and bound about the fields, and can scarce endure to be under the
priests' keeping, so he could not brook their courtship and soft entertainment,
but sat like Achilles- 

"and languished far, 
Desiring battle and the shout of war." 

His affairs standing in this condition, Nicagoras, the Messenian,
came to Alexandria, a man that deeply hated Cleomenes, yet pretended
to be his friend; for he had formerly sold Cleomenes a fair estate,
but never received the money because Cleomenes was either unable as
it may be, or else, by reason of his engagement in the wars and other
distractions, had no opportunity to pay him. Cleomenes, seeing him
landing, for he was then walking upon the quay, kindly saluted him,
and asked what business brought him to Egypt. Nicagoras returned his
compliment, and told him that he came to bring some excellent war-horses
to the king. And Cleomenes, with a smile, subjoined, "I could wish
you had rather brought young boys and music-girls; for those now are
the king's chief occupation." Nicagoras at the moment smiled at the
conceit, but a few days after, he put Cleomenes in mind of the estate
that he had bought of him, and desired his money, protesting that
he would not have troubled him, if his merchandise had turned out
as profitable as he had thought it would. Cleomenes replied, that
he had nothing left of all that had been given him. At which answer,
Nicagoras, being nettled, told Sosibius Cleomenes's scoff upon the
king. He was delighted to receive the information; but desiring to
have some greater reason to excite the king against Cleomenes, persuaded
Nicagoras to leave a letter written against Cleomenes, importing that
he had a design, if he could have gotten ships and soldiers, to surprise
Cyrene. Nicagoras wrote such a letter, and left Egypt. Four days after,
Sosibius brought the letter to Ptolemy, pretending it was just then
delivered him, and excited the young man's fear and anger; upon which
it was agreed that Cleomenes should be invited into a large house,
and treated as formerly, but not suffered to go out again.

This usage was grievous to Cleomenes, and another incident that occurred
made him feel his hopes to be yet more entirely overcast. Ptolemy,
the son of Chrysermas, a favourite of the king's, had always shown
civility to Cleomenes; there was a considerable intimacy between them,
and they had been used to talk freely together about the state. He,
upon Cleomenes's desire, came to him, and spoke to him in fair terms,
softening down his suspicions and excusing the king's conduct. But
as he went out again, not knowing that Cleomenes followed him to the
door, he severely reprimanded the keepers for their carelessness in
looking after "so great and so furious a wild beast." This Cleomenes
himself heard, and retiring before Ptolemy perceived it, told his
friends what had been said. Upon this they cast off all former hopes
and determined for violent proceedings, resolving to be revenged on
Ptolemy for his base and unjust dealing, to have satisfaction for
the affronts, to die as it became Spartans, and not stay till, like
fatted sacrifices, they were butchered. For it was both grievous and
dishonourable for Cleomenes, who had scorned to come to terms with
Antigonus, a brave warrior, and a man of action, to wait an effeminate
king's leisure, till he should lay aside his timbrel and end his dance,
and then kill him. 

These courses being resolved on, and Ptolemy happening at the same
time to make a progress to Canopus, they first spread abroad a report
that his freedom was ordered by the king, and, it being the custom
for the king to send presents and an entertainment to those whom he
would free, Cleomenes's friends made that provision, and sent it into
the prison, thus imposing upon the keepers, who thought it had been
sent by the king. For he sacrificed, and gave them large portions,
and with a garland upon his head, feasted and made merry with his
friends. It is said that he began the action sooner than he designed,
having understood that a servant who was privy to the plot had gone
out to visit a mistress that he loved. This made him afraid of a discovery;
and therefore, as soon as it was full noon, and all the keepers sleeping
off their wine, he put on his coat, and opening his seam to bare his
right shoulder, with his drawn sword in his hand, he issued forth,
together with his friends provided in the same manner, making thirteen
in all. One of them, by name Hippitas, was lame, and followed the
first onset very well, but when he presently perceived that they were
more slow in their advances for his sake, he desired them to run him
through and not ruin their enterprise by staying for a useless, unprofitable
man. By chance an Alexandrian was then riding by the door; him they
threw off, and setting Hippitas on horseback, ran through the streets,
and proclaimed liberty to the people. But they, it seems, had courage
enough to praise and admire Cleomenes's daring, but not one had the
heart to follow and assist him. Three of them fell on Ptolemy, the
son of Chrysermas, as he was coming out of the palace, and killed
him. Another Ptolemy, the officer in charge of the city, advancing
against them in a chariot, they set upon, dispersed his guards and
attendants, and pulling him out of the chariot, killed him upon the
place. Then they made toward the castle, designing to break open the
prison, release those who were confined, and avail themselves of their
numbers; but the keepers were too quick for them, and secured the
passages. Being baffled in this attempt, Cleomenes with his company
roamed about the city, none joining with him, but all retreating from
and flying his approach. Therefore, despairing of success, and saying
to his friends, that it was no wonder that women ruled over men that
were afraid of liberty, he bade them all die as bravely as became
his followers and their own past actions. This said, Hippitas was
first, as he desired, run through by one of the younger men, and then
each of them readily and resolutely fell upon his own sword, except
Fanteus, the same who first surprised Megalopolis. This man, being
of a very handsome person, and a great lover of the Spartan discipline,
the king had made his dearest friend; and he now bade him, when he
had seen him and the rest fallen, die by their example. Fanteus walked
over them as they lay, and pricked every one with his dagger, to try
whether any was alive; when he pricked Cleomenes in the ankle, and
saw him turn upon his back, he kissed him, sat down by him, and when
he was quite dead, covered up the body, and then killed himself over

Thus fell Cleomenes, after the life which we have narrated, having
been King of Sparta sixteen years. The news of their fall being noised
through the city, Cratesiclea, though a woman of a great spirit, could
not bear up against the weight of this affliction; but embracing Cleomenes's
children broke out into lamentations. But the eldest boy, none suspecting
such a spirit in a child, threw himself headlong from the top of the
house. He was bruised very much, but not killed by the fall, and was
taken up crying, and expressing his resentment for not being permitted
to destroy himself. Ptolemy, as soon as an account of the action was
brought him, gave order that Cleomenes's body should be flayed and
hung up, and that his children, mother, and the women that were with
her, should be killed. Amongst these was Panteus's wife, a beautiful
and noble-looking woman, who had been but lately married, and suffered
these disasters in the height of her love. Her parents would not have
her embark with Panteus so shortly after they were married, though
she eagerly desired it, but shut her up, and kept her forcibly at
home. But a few days after she procured a horse and a little money,
and escaping by night, made speed to Taenarus, where she embarked
for Egypt, came to her husband, and with him cheerfully endured to
live in a foreign country. She gave her hand to Cratesiclea, as she
was going with the soldiers to execution held up her robe, and begged
her to be courageous; who of herself was not in the least afraid of
death, and desired nothing else but only to be killed before the children.
When they were come to the place of execution, the children were first
killed before Cratesiclea's eyes, and afterwards she herself, with
only these words in her mouth, "O children, whither are you gone?"
But Panteus's wife, fastening her dress close about her, and being
a strong woman, in silence and perfect composure, looked after every
one that was slain, and laid them decently out as far as circumstances
would permit; and after all were killed, rearraying her dress, and
drawing her clothes close about her, suffering none to come near or
be an eye-witness of her fall, besides the executioner, she courageously
submitted to the stroke, and wanted nobody to look after her or wind
her up after she was dead. Thus in her death the modesty of her mind
appeared, and set that guard upon her body which she always kept when
alive. And she, in the declining age of the Spartans, showed that
women were no unequal rivals of the men, and was an instance of a
courage superior to the affronts of fortune. 

A few days after, those that watched the hanging body of Cleomenes,
saw a large snake winding about his head, and covering his face, so
that no bird of prey would fly at it. This made the king superstitiously
afraid, and set the women upon several expiations, as if he had been
some extraordinary being, and one beloved by the gods, that had been
slain. And the Alexandrians made processions to the place, and gave
Cleomenes the title of hero, and son of the gods, till the philosophers
satisfied them by saying, that as oxen breed bees, putrifying horses
breed wasps, and beetles rise from the carcasses of dead asses, so
the humours and juices of the marrow of a man's body, coagulating,
produce serpents. And this the ancients observing, appropriate a serpent,
rather than any other creature, to heroes. 



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Translation of "The Deeds of the Divine Augustus" by Augustus is
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