FRAGMENTA LIBRI XXVII
1. Ὅτι Νάβις ὁ τύραννος τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων ἀνεῖλε Πέλοπα τὸν Λυκούργου μὲν τοῦ βασιλεύσαντος υἱόν, παῖδα δὲ τὴν ἡλικίαν ὄντα· εὐλαβεῖτο γὰρ μή ποτε ὁ παῖς παραγενηθεὶς1 εἰς ἡλικίαν ἀποκαταστήσῃ τῇ πατρίδι τὴν ἐλευθερίαν, πεφρονηματισμένος διὰ τὴν εὐγένειαν. αὐτὸς δὲ τοὺς χαριεστάτους τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων ἐπιλεγόμενος ἀνῄρει καὶ μισθοφόρους πανταχόθεν τοὺς χειρίστους συνήγαγε φύλακας τῆς δυναστείας. διόπερ ἐκ παντὸς τόπου συνέρρεον εἰς τὴν Σπάρτην ἱερόσυλοι, φῶρες, λῃσταί, κατάδικοι θανάτου. ἀσεβῶς γὰρ τὴν τυραννίδα περιποιησάμενος ὑπὸ μόνων τούτων ἤλπιζε βεβαιότατα τηρηθήσεσθαι.
(Const. Exc. 2 (1), p. 266.)
2Ὅτι Νάβις ὁ τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων τύραννος πολλὰς τιμωρίας ἐπενόησε πρὸς τοὺς πολίτας, νομίζων τῇ τῆς πατρίδος ταπεινώσει τὴν ἰδίαν αὐξήσειν δυναστείαν. ἀνὴρ γάρ, οἶμαι, πονηρὸς τυχὼν ἐξουσίας οὐκ εἴωθε φέρειν τὴν εὐτυχίαν κατ᾿ ἄνθρωπον.
2. Ὢν γὰρ μέγιστος ἱερεὺς ἠναγκάζετο μὴ μακρὰν
Fragments of Book XXVII
1. Nabis,1 the tyrant of Sparta, put to death Pelops, c. 207 b.c. the son of the late king Lycurgus, who was at this time still a boy. This was a measure of precaution lest when he came of age the youth, emboldened by his noble birth, should some day restore his country’s freedom. Nabis personally selected and put to death those Lacedaemonians who were most accomplished, and gathered from all sides hirelings of the basest stamp to defend his régime. As a result temple-robbers, thieves, pirates, and men under sentence of death streamed into Sparta from every direction. For since it was by impious deeds that Nabis had made himself tyrant, he supposed that only by such men could he be most securely guarded.
Nabis, the tyrant of Sparta, devised many forms of punishment2 for the citizens, in the belief that by degrading his country he would enhance his own position. Indeed, when a knave comes to power he is not, I think, likely to bear his good fortune as a mortal should.
2. As pontifex maximus he was obliged by reason of 205 b.c.
- 1Nabis gained control of Sparta some time after the death of Machanidas at Mantinea in 207 b.c. Of royal blood, he was the most radical of the revolutionaries who arose in Sparta. Despite our uniformly hostile accounts, it is clear that he enjoyed broad popular support. The account is based on Polybius, 13. 6–8.
- 2Including the notorious Image of Apega (named for his wife), an instrument of torture similar to the “Iron Maiden”; cp. Polybius, 13. 7.