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SECTION IV.

CLEOMENES ASCENDS THE THRONE OF

SPARTA.

HE REFORMS THE

GOVERNMENT, AND REESTABLISHES THE ANCIENT DISCIPLINE.

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* CLEOMENES had a noble soul, and an ardent passion for glory, joincd with the same inclination for temperance and simplicity of manners, as Agis had always expressed ; but had not that excessive sweetness of disposition, attended with the timidity and precaution of that prince. Nature, on the contrary, had infused into him a vigor and vivacity of mind, which ardently prompted him on to whatever appeared great and noble. Nothing seemed so amiable to him, as the government of his citizens agreeably to their own inclinations ; but, at the same time, he did not think it inconsistent with the glory of a wise administration, to employ some violence in reducing to the public utility an inconsiderable number of obstinate and unjust persons, who opposed it merely from a view of private interest.

He was far from being satisfied with the state of affairs which then prevailed in Sparta. All the citizens had long been softened by indolence and a voluptuous life ; and the king himself, who was fond of tranquillity, had entirely neglected public affairs. No person whatever had testified any regard for the public good, every individual being solely intent upon his particular interest, and the aggrandizement of his family at the public expense. Instead of any care in disciplining the young people, and forming their temperance, patience, and the equality of freemen, it was even dangerous to

? Plat. in. Cleom. p. 805-811.

mention any thing of that nature, as Agis himself had perished by attempting to introduce it

among

them. It is also said, that Cleomenes, who was still very young, had heard some philosophical lectures at the time when Spherus, who came from the banks of the Boristhenes, settled in Lacedemon; and applied him. self, in a very successful manner, to the instruction of youth. This person was one of the principal disciples of Zeno, the Citian. The stoic philosophy, which he then professed, was exceedingly proper to infuse courage and noble sentiments in the mind ; but, at the same time, was capable of dangerous effects in a disposition naturally warm and impetuous; and, on the other hand, might be rendered very beneficial, by being grafted on a mild and moderate character.

* After the death of Leonidas, who did not long survive the condemnation and murder of Agis, his son Cleomenes succeeded him in the throne ; and though he was then very young, it gave him pain to consider that he had only the empty title of king, while the whole authority was engrossed by the ephori, who shamefully abused their power. He then grew solicitous to change the form of government ; and as he was sensible that few persons were disposed to concur with him in that view, he imagined the accomplishment of it would be facilitated by a war, and therefore endeavoured to embroil his city with the Acheans, who,very fortunately for his purpose, had given Sparta some occasions of complaint against them.'

So called from Citium, a city of Cyprus.

FA. M. 3762. Ant. J. C. 242.

Aratus, from the first moments of his administration, had been industrious to negotiate a league between all the states of Peloponnesus, through a persuasion, that if he succeeded in that attempt, they would have nothing to fear for the future from a foreign enemy; and this was the only point to which all his measures tended. All the other states, except the Lacedemonians, the people of Elis, and these of Arcadia, who had espoused the party of the Lacedemonians, had acceded to this league. Aratus, soon after the death of Leonidas, began to harass the Arcadians in order to make an experiment of the Spartan courage, and at the same time to make it evident that he despised Cleomenes, as a young man without the least experience.

When the ephori received intelligence of this act of hostility, they caused their troops to take the field, under the command of Cleomenes; they indeed were not numerous, but the consideration of the general by whom they were commanded, inspired them with all imaginable ardour for the war. The Acheans marched against him with twenty thousand foot, and one thousand horse, under the command of Aristomachus. Cleomenes came up with them near Pallantium, a city of Arcadia, and offered them battle; but Aratus was so intimidated with the bravery of this proceeding, that he prevailed upon the general not to hazard an engagement, and then made a retreat, which drew upon him very severe reproaches from his own troops, and sharp raillery from the enemy, whose numbers did not amount to five thousand men in the whole. The courage of Cleomenes was so much raised by this retreat, that he. assumed a loftier air among his citizens, and reminded

them of an expression used by one of their ancierit kings, who said, “ that the Lacedemonians never inquired after the numbers of their enemies, but where they were." He afterwards defeated the Acheans in a second encounter ; but Aratus, taking the advantage even of his defeat, like an experienced general, turned his arms immediately against Mantinea, and before the enemy could have any suspicion of his design, made himself master of that city, and put a garrison into it.

Cleomenes, after his return to Sparta, began to think seriously on the execution of his former design, and had credit enough to cause Archidamus, the brother of Agis, to be recalled from Messenc. As that prince was descended from the other royal house of Sparta, he had an incontestable right to the crown ; and Cleomenes was persuaded, that the authority of the ephori would receive a much greater diminution, when the throne of Sparta should be filled by its two kings, whose union would enable them to counterbalance their power. But, unhappily for his purpose, the same persons who had been guilty of the death of Agis, found means to assassinate his brother Archidamus.8

Cleomenes, soon after this event, gained a new ad. vantage over the Acheans, in an action near Megalopolis, wherein Lysiades was slain, in consequence of engaging too far in the pursuit of the Lacedemonians, who had been repulsed when the encounter first began. This victory was very honourable to the young king, and increased his reputation to a great degree. He then imparted his design to a small number of select and

& Polybius declares, that Cleomenes himself caused him to be assassinated, I. v. p. 383, et l. viii. p. 511.

faithful friends, who served him in a very seasonable manner. When he returned to Sparta, he concerted bis march so as to enter the city when the ephori were at supper ; at which time, a set of persons, who had been chosen for that action, entered the hall with their drawn swords, and killed four of these magistrates, with ten of those who had taken arms for their defence. Agesilaus, who had been left for dead on the spot, found means to save himself; after which no other person whatever sustained any violence ; and, indeed, what had been already committed was sufficient.

The next day, Cleomenes caused the names of four score citizens, whom he intended to banish, to be fixed up in places of public resort. He also removed from the hall of audience all the seats of the ephori, except one, where he determined to place himself, in order to render justice ; and after he had convoked an assembly of the people, he explained to them his reasons for the conduct he had pursued ; representing to them, in what an enormous manner the ephori had abused their power, by suppressing all lawful authority, and not only banishing their kings, but even in causing them to be destroyed without the least form of justice ; and menacing those who were desirous of beholding Sparta happy in the most excellent and most divine form of government. He then added, that the conduct he pursued, rendered it sufficiently evident, that, instead of consulting his own particular interest, his whole endeavours were employed to promote that of the citizens, and revive among them the discipline

h This magistracy was composed of five epbori. VOL. 6.

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