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then prevailed; at the same time that Aratus was employing bis endeavours for the deliverance of his country. The enterprise was noble, but extremely hazardous. He observed, contrary to his expectation, that all the young men were disposed to enter into his views, while the generality of those in years, in whose minds corruption had taken the deepest root, trembled at the very name of Lycurgus, and Reforination. He began by conciliating his uncle Agesilaus, a man of great eloquence and reputation, but strongly possessed with a passion for riches; which was the very circumstance that rendered him the more favourable to the designs of Agis

. He was ready to sink under a load of debts, and hoped to discharge them without any expence to himself, by changing the form of government.

Agis then endeavoured, by his means, to bring over his own mother, who was the sister of Agesilaus. Her power was very great in the city, by a large party of friends, and the vast number of her slaves and debtors; and her credit gave her an extraordinary influence in the most important affairs : when Agis had opened his design to her, she was struck with consternation, on the first ideas it presented to her mind, and employed all the arguments she could invent to dissuade him from it; but when Agesilaus joined his own reflections with those of the king, and had made his own sister comprehend the advantages that would accrue to Sparta from the execution of such a design, and represented to her the glory which her family would for ever derive from it, this lady, as well as those of her sex with whom she was most intimate, being then animated by the noble ambition of the young prince, immediately changed their sentiments, and were so affected with the beauty of the project, that they themselves pressed Agis to enter upon the execution of it as soon as possible. They likewise sent to all their friends, and exhorted them to concur with him in that affair.

Application was also made by them to the other

ladies of that city, as they were very sensihle that the Lacedæmonians had always expressed the greatest deference to their wives, whom they allowed to exercise niore authority in all transactions of state, than they themselves assumed in their private and domestic affairs. Most of the riches of Sparta were at that time in the hands of women, which proved a great obstruction to the designs of Agis. They unanimously opposed his scheme, rightly foreseeing, that the plain manner of life he was endeavouring to re-establish, and on which so many commendations were bestowed, would not only be destructive to all their luxurious pleasures, but divest them of all the honours and power they derived from their riches.

Amidst the consternation this proposal gave them, they addressed themselves to Leonidas, and conjured him, as his age gave him an ascendant over Agis, to employ his whole authority in dissuading his colleague from the accomplishment of his plan. Leonidas was very inclinable to support the rich, but as he dreaded the indignation of the people, who were desirous of this change, he could not presume to oppose Agis in an open manner, but contented himself with crossing his designs by indirect

He had a private conference with the magistrates, wherein he took the liberty to calum. niate Agis, as a person who was offering to the poor the properties of the rich, with a partition of lands, and a general abolition of debts, as a compensation to them for the tyranny he was preparing to usurp; in consequence of which proceedings, instead of forming citizens for Sparta, he was only raising a body of guards for the security of his own person.

Agis, in the mean time, having succeeded so far as to cause Lysander, who concurred with him in his views, to be elected one of the Ephori, brought into the council a decree which he himself bad drawn up, the principal articles of which were these. 1. All debtors were to be discharged from their debts. 2. All the lands which extended from the

measures.

valley of Pellene to mount Taygetus, and the promontory of Malea, and likewise to Selasia, should be parcelled out into four thousand five hundred lots. 3. The lands which lay beyond those limits should be comprehended in fifteen thousand lots. 4. The last portions were to be distributed to those inhabitants of the adjacent parts, who were in a condition to bear arms. 5. Those lands, which lay within the limits already mentioned, should be reserved for the Spartans, whose due number, which was then considerably diminished, should be recruited out of such of the neighbouring people, and strangers, as had received an honest and generous education, and were then in the flower of their age, and not disqualified for that class, by any bodily defect. 6. All these should at the times of repast, be disposed into fifty halls, distinguished by the name of Phidicies; the least of which should contain two hundred, and the largest four hundred : And, lastly, they were all to observe the same manner of life and discipline as their ancestors.

This decree being opposed by the senators whose sentiments differed from those of Agis, Lysander caused the people to be assembled, and in the strongest terms exhorted the citizens to consent to it. He was seconded by Mandroclides, a young Spartan, whose heart glowed with zeal for the public welfare; and he represented to the people, with all the energy he could possibly express, every motive that could most affect them. Particularly the respect they owed to the memory of their illustrious legislator Lycurgus; the oath their ancestors had taken, in the names of themselves and all their posterity, to preserve those sacred institutions in the most inviolable manner; the glory and honour Sparta had enjoyed, during the time she strictly adhered to them; and the infamous degeneracy into which she had sunk, ever since they had been disregarded by her: He then set forth the miserable condition of the Spartans, those ancient masters of Greece, tbose

triumphant conquerors of Asia, those mighty sovereigns by sea and land, who once could make the Great King * tremble on his throne, but were now divested of their cities and houses by the insatiable avarice of their own citizens, who had reduced them to the lowest extremes of poverty and shameful indigence; which might be considered as the completion of all their calamities, as, by these means, they were exposed to the insult and contempt of those to whom it was their right to prescribe laws. He then concluded, with intreating them not to be so far influenced by their obsequiousness to a handful of men, who even trampled them under their feet like so many despicable slaves, as to behold, with eyes of indifference, the dignity of their city entirely degraded and lost, but that they would recal to their remembrance those ancient oracles, which had more than once declared, that the love of riches would prove fatal to Sparta, and occasion its total ruin.

King Agis then advanced into the middle of the assembly, and declared, after a concise discourse (for he thought his example would have more efficacy than any words he could utter) that he was determined to deliver up for the common welfare, all his effects and estate, which were very considerable; consisting of large tracts of arable and pasture lands, beside six hundred talents of current moneyk; and that his mother and grandmother, together with the rest of his relations and friends, who were the richest persons in Sparta, would do the same.

The magnanimity of their young prince astonished all the people, who, at the same time, were transported with joy that they at last were so happy as to behold a king worthy of Sparta. Leonidas then took off the mask, and opposed him to the utmost of his power: for as he knew it would otherwise be

. This was the usual appellation of the Persiarancnarchs.

+ Equal to six hundred thousand French crowns.

necessary for him to make the same offer they had heard from Agis, so he was sensible, that his citizens would not think themselves under the same obligations to him as they were to his colleague, who, when each of their estates should be appropriated to the public, would engross all the honour of that action, by rendering it the effect of his own example. He therefore demanded aloud of Agis whether he did not think that Lycurgus was a just and able man, and one who had zealously consulted the wel. fare of his country? Agis then replied, that he had. always considered him as such.

16 Where do you “ find then (retorted Leonidas) that Lycurgus ever “ ordained an abolition of debts, or gave the free“ dom of Sparta to strangers ? Since, on the con“ trary, it was his firm persuasion, that the city “ would never be safe till all strangers were expelled “ from its walls.” Agis answered, “ That he was “ not surprized that such a person as Leonidas, who “ had been brought up in foreign countries, and had “ married into the house of a Persian grandee,

should be so little acquainted with Lycurgus, as

not to know that he had swept away all actual “ and possible debts, by banishing gold and silver “ from the city. That, with respect to strangers, “ his precautions were intended against none but “ those who could not accommodate themselves to “ the manners and discipline he had established: " that these were the only persons he expelled from “ the city, not by any hostilities against their per

sons, but from a mere apprehension, that their “ method of life, and corruption of manners, might “ insensibly inspire the Spartans with the love of

luxury and softness, and an imunoderate passion " for riches."

He then produced several examples of poets and philosophers, particularly Terpander, Thales, and Pherecydes, who had been highly esteemed and honoured at Sparta, because they taught the same maxims as Lycurgus had established.

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