Xenophon of Athens, Agesilaus

LCL 183: 60-61

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Xenophon

ΞΕΝΟΦΩΝΤΟΣ ΑΓΗΣΙΛΑΟΣ

I. Οἶδα μέν, ὅτι τῆς Ἀγησιλάου ἀρετῆς τε καὶ δόξης οὐ ῥᾴδιον ἄξιον ἔπαινον γράψαι, ὅμως δ᾿ ἐγχειρητέον· οὐ γὰρ ἂν καλῶς ἔχοι, εἰ ὅτι τελέως ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς ἐγένετο, διὰ τοῦτο οὐδὲ μειόνων τυγχάνοι ἐπαίνων.

2Περὶ μὲν οὖν εὐγενείας αὐτοῦ τί ἄν τις μεῖζον καὶ κάλλιον εἰπεῖν ἔχοι ἢ ὅτι ἔτι καὶ νῦν τοῖς προγόνοις ὀνομαζομένοις ἀπομνημονεύεται, ὁπόστος ἀφ᾿ Ἡρακλέους ἐγένετο, καὶ τούτοις οὐκ 3ἰδιώταις, ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ βασιλέων βασιλεῦσιν; ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ ταύτῃ γ᾿ ἄν τις ἔχοι καταμέμψασθαι αὐτούς, ὡς βασιλεύουσι μέν, πόλεως δὲ τῆς ἐπιτυχούσης· ἀλλ᾿ ὥσπερ τὸ γένος αὐτῶν τῆς πατρίδος ἐντιμότατον, οὕτω καὶ ἡ πόλις ἐν τῇ Ἑλλάδι ἐνδοξοτάτη· ὥστε οὐ δευτέρων πρωτεύουσιν, 4ἀλλ᾿ ἡγεμόνων ἡγεμονεύουσι. τῇδέ γε μὴν καὶ κοινῇ ἄξιον ἐπαινέσαι τήν τε πατρίδα καὶ τὸ γένος αὐτοῦ· ἥ τε γὰρ πόλις οὐδεπώποτε φθονήσασα τοῦ προτετιμῆσθαι αὐτοὺς ἐπεχείρησε καταλῦσαι τὴν ἀρχὴν αὐτῶν οἵ τε βασιλεῖς οὐδεπώποτε μειζόνων ὠρέχθησαν ἢ ἐφ᾿ οἷσπερ ἐξ ἀρχῆς τὴν βασιλείαν παρέλαβον. τοιγαροῦν ἄλλη μὲν οὐδεμία ἀρχὴ φανερά ἐστι διαγεγενημένη ἀδιάσπαστος οὔτε δημοκρατία οὔτε ὀλιγαρχία

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Agesilaus, i.

Agesilaus

I. I know how difficult it is to write an appreciation of Agesilaus that shall be worthy of his virtue and glory. Nevertheless the attempt must be made. For it would not be seemly that so good a man, just because of his perfection, should receive no tributes of praise, however inadequate.

Now concerning his high birth what greater and2 nobler could be said than this, that even to-day the line of his descent from Heracles1 is traced through the roll of his ancestors, and those no simple citizens, but kings and sons of kings? Nor are they open to3 the reproach that though they were kings, they ruled over a petty state. On the contrary, as their family is honoured above all in their fatherland, so is their state glorious above all in Greece; thus they are not first in the second rank, but leaders in a community of leaders. On one account his fatherland4 and his family are worthy to be praised together, for never at any time has the state been moved by jealousy of their pre-eminence to attempt the overthrow of their government, and never at any time have the kings striven to obtain greater powers than were conferred on them originally at their succession to the throne. For this reason, while no other government—democracy, oligachy, despotism or kingdom—can

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.xenophon_athens-agesilaus.1925