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Headword: *lukou=rgos
Adler number: lambda,824
Translated headword: Lykourgos, Lycurgus
Vetting Status: high
Spartiate, descendant of Prokles; lawgiver. They say he got his laws either from Crete or from the god. The Pythia also addressed him as a god. This man also legislated for physical training for virgins; and that men should not have continual intercourse with their wives; and that newborn children be nursed upon a shield and washed in the river Eurotas; and also the Gymnopaideia,[1] by which he compelled the young men, wearing no jackets, forever to devote themselves to physical training and to compete in public contests of excellence, and to sleep in the open air, and to have the sustenance that comes from hunting; and the practice of thorough beating[2] as an exercise for excellence instead of sullen envy; for previously a young man used to be sacrificed to Artemis Orthosia.[3] And also the 'philitia',[4] which are like symposia and contain pains mixed with pleasures; for no cushion lay under those who feasted, but under their elbows the stone or wood. And he also legislated that they should be arrayed in battle to [the sound of] pipes, making the dishonoured life worse than death and proving it to be so, but that there was a release for that man if afterwards he should show excellence. This happened to Aristodemos, who, being surnamed the Trembler from his desertion at Pylai,[5] cancelled out his dishonour by his excellent performance at Plataiai. Because of this man's laws, mothers when sending forth their male children to the wars used to say, with reference to their shields, 'Either it, or on it', which stands for 'Either bring this when you return, and don't be a shield-thrower, or be brought upon this as a corpse'.[6] This man appointed the other labours for the helots, but the practice of war for the well-born. And he expelled foreigners, suspecting the ruin that comes from intermingling. And he valued brevity of words, and poverty, believing the former to be a mark of wisdom, the latter a teacher of excellence. And [the?] god agrees with these: for often he ordained that one should guard against avarice. And establishing aristocracy and two kings from among the descendants of Herakles, he laid down that the elders should be ephors;[7] he made the people subordinate to them, selecting the best from each constitution.[8] And he bound the Lakedaimonians by oath not to abolish the law, and went on his travels. And after he had secured an oracle from the god that the Lakedaimonians would prosper to the degree that they did not transgress the laws of Lykourgos, he came to Crete and starved himself to death so that he himself might not be compelled to abolish them.[9]
The following was the end of life that came to Lykourgos the lawgiver.[10] Wishing, so they say, to ask the god about certain remaining laws, he bound the Lakedaimonians by oath that until he returned no one would abolish the law as it stood. And after they swore, because when securing an oracle from the god he heard that the city would be blessed if it persisted with that man's laws, he determined never to come back, making certainty of the protection offered by the oath. And going down to Crete he made away with himself. And the Lakedaimonians, realizing because of his former excellence and that which he was now adjudged to have had regarding his death, consecrated a temple to him and, founding an altar, they sacrifice to him as a hero once every year. For he was conspicuously the cause of the complete excellence and leadership of the Spartans, who in older times had were in no better condition than the rest; not only because he set up laws of the best sort, but also because, when they were unwilling, he induced them to use his laws by the following means. Taking two puppies from the same mother he started to bring them up, but separately from one another and with dissimilar behaviour: one at home, giving it cooked foods and other indulgence, [but] compelling the other to take part in hunts with dogs and tracking [with it] in the mountains. And as each of them became similar to its upbringing, when the Spartans were holding assembly with the perioikoi[11] regarding war and were in a quandary, he brought along both dogs into the midst of them, and along with them roe-deers and soups and cooked foods, and said, 'Spartans, that nothing else is the cause of success and failure but the use of customs that are mean or wise, it is now possible for you to see. And these here' - pointing to the dogs - 'being of the same mother but reared in the opposite way to one another, by this very reason have turned out dissimilar.[12] For the one that learned to hunt, and the other that learned to indulge itself, would each do nothing contrary to its [habit] if opportunity arose.' And at the same moment he ordered the dog-handler to let both of them loose upon the prepared items. One of them, the home-bred dog, leapt upon the cooked food, but the hunter leapt upon the deer, brought it down, and tore it apart. And Lykourgos once more said, 'Spartans, you must recognize that these things apply to you and to all other mortals. For whichever practices and laws you use, you are compelled to turn out that way with regard to pains and luxury; for all things that mortals may learn, the gods have given them. And the endurance of pain leads to the will to be free, to succeed, and to be master of all; but the enjoyment of pleasure leads to slavery, ill fortune, and worthlessness.' So with these words he induced the Spartans to change their established way of life and to be habituated to better laws. And obeying him they became, in relation not only to the perioikoi but to all Hellenes, transparently the best men and the perpetual leaders, from the moment they accepted the laws up to the five hundredth year; and in not much time they proceeded to great power.
Greek Original:
*lukou=rgos, *spartia/ths, *prokle/ous a)po/gonos, nomoqe/ths, w(/s fasin h)\ e)k *krh/ths h)\ para\ tou= qeou= tou\s no/mous labw/n: o(\n kai\ qeo\n h( *puqi/a proshgo/reusen. ou(=tos kai\ gumna/sia parqe/nwn e)nomoqe/thse kai\ to\ mh\ dei=n sunexei=s o(mili/as pro\s ta\s gunai=kas poiei=sqai: kai\ to\ e)p' a)spi/dos tre/fesqai kai\ e)n *eu)rw/ta| potamw=| lou=sqai tou\s texqe/ntas, kai\ th\n gumnopaidei/an, h(=| tou\s e)fh/bous h)na/gkaze dia\ panto\s mh\ e)/xontas xlani/da gumnasi/ois proskei=sqai kai\ a)gwni/zesqai dhmosi/ous a)reth=s a)gw=nas u(paiqri/ous te koima=sqai trofh/n te e)/xein th\n e)k qh/ras, th/n te diamasti/gwsin, a)reth=s gumnasi/an, a)nti\ fo/nou skuqrwpou=: e)/fhbos ga\r pro/teron e)qu/eto th=| *)artemi/di th=| *)orqwsi/a|. kai\ me/ntoi kai\ ta\ fili/tia, oi(=a/ e)sti sumpo/sia, memigme/nous e)/xonta tai=s h(donai=s tou\s po/nous: ou) ga\r strwmnh/ tis u(pe/keito eu)wxoume/nois, a)ll' u(po\ toi=s a)gkw=si koilanqei\s o( li/qos h)\ cu/lon. e)nomoqe/thse de\ kai\ to\ u(p' au)loi=s parata/ssesqai, qana/tou th\n a)/timon zwh\n ei)=nai xei/rona tiqe/menos kai\ a)pofaino/menos, ei)=nai d' au)tw=| lu/sin, ei) meta\ tau=ta a)risteu/seie. tou=to *)aristodh/mw| sune/bh, o(\s o( *tre/sas e)piklhqei\s e)k leipotaci/ou tou= e)n *pu/lais th=| e)n *plataiai=s a)ristei/a| th\n a)timi/an e)/luse. dia\ tou\s tou/tou no/mous ai( mhte/res e)pi\ tou\s pole/mous prope/mpousai tou\s pai=das peri\ ta\s a)spi/das, h)\ ta\n h)\ e)pi\ ta/n, e)/legon: a)nti\ tou= h)\ tau/thn ko/misai u(postre/fwn kai\ mh\ gi/nh| r(i/yaspis h)\ e)pi\ tau/th| komi/sqhti nekro/s. ou(=tos toi=s me\n ei(/lwsi ta\s a)/llas e)rgasi/as, toi=s de\ eu)gene/si th\n polemikh\n a)/skhsin prose/tace: ce/nous de\ a)ph/lase, th\n e)k th=s e)pimici/as diafqora\n u(forw/menos: braxulogi/an te e)ti/mhse kai\ peni/an, th\n me\n sofi/as ei)=nai shmei=on, th\n de\ a)reth=s dida/skalon oi)hqei/s. kai\ o(mologei= tou/tois o( qeo/s: fula/ttesqai ga\r a)nei=le polla/kis filoxrhmati/an. a)ristokrati/an de\ katasthsa/menos kai\ basile/as du/o tw=n a)f' *(hrakle/ous e)/tacen ei)=nai kai\ e)fo/rous tou\s ge/rontas: oi(=s to\n dh=mon u(pe/tacen, e)c e(ka/sths politei/as a)/riston e)kleca/menos. w(/rkwse de\ tou\s *lakedaimoni/ous mh\ lu=sai no/mon, kai\ a)pedh/mhse. xrh/santos de\ au)tw=| tou= qeou= *lakedaimoni/ous eu)tuxh/sein, e)f' o(/son a)\n mh\ parabai/nwsi tou\s *lukou/rgou no/mous, e)lqw\n ei)s *krh/thn a)pekarte/rhsen, o(/pws mh\ au)to\s a)nagkasqei/h lu=sai. o(/ti *lukou/rgw| tw=| nomoqe/th| toia/de h( teleuth\ tou= bi/ou e)ge/neto. boulo/menos, w(/s fasi, qeo\n e)re/sqai peri/ tinwn u(poloi/pwn no/mwn, w(/rkwse *lakedaimoni/ous a)/xri e)pa/neisi mhde/na lu=sai tw=n keime/nwn. o)mosa/ntwn d', e)pei\ xrhsthriazo/menos h)/kouse para\ tou= qeou=, w(s eu)dai/mwn h( po/lis e)/soito, ei) toi=s e)kei/nou no/mois e)mme/noi, e)/gnw mhke/ti e)panelqei=n, to\ be/baion th=s fulakh=s e)k tou= o(/rkou poihsa/menos. kataba\s de\ ei)s *krh/ssan e(auto\n dierga/zetai. *lakedaimo/nioi de\ ai)sqo/menoi dia/ te th\n prote/ran a)reth\n kai\ th\n to/te kriqei=san peri\ to\n qa/naton nao/n te au)tw=| e)teme/nisan kai\ bwmo\n i(drusa/menoi qu/ousin w(s h(/rwi+ a)na\ pa=n e)/tos. perifanw=s ga\r dh\ *spartia/tais ai)/tios e)ge/neto th=s ei)s a(/pan a)reth=s te kai\ h(gemoni/as, ou)de\n a)/meinon tw=n a)/llwn pa/lai diakeime/nois: ou) mo/non o(/ti au)toi=s no/mous e)/qeto a)ri/stous, a)lla\ kai\ o(/ti a)/kontas proutre/yato xrh=sqai au)toi=s tro/pw| toiw=|de: du/o sku/lakas labw\n a)po\ th=s au)th=s mhtro\s e)/trefe, xwri\s de\ a)llh/lwn a)nomoi/ois h)/qesi, to\n me\n kat' oi)=kon o)/ya te didou\s kai\ th\n a)/llhn lixnei/an, to\n de\ e)n kunhgesi/ois qhra=n a)nagka/zwn kai\ stibeu/wn e)n o)/resin. w(s d' e(ka/teros au)tw=n o(/moios e)ge/neto th=| trofh=|, *spartia/tais e)kklhsia/zousi pro\s tou\s perioi/kous pole/mou pe/ri kai\ a)mhxanou=si paragagw\n a)mfote/rous ei)s me/son kai\ su\n au)toi=s do/rkous te kai\ zwmou\s kai\ o)/ya e)skeuasme/na e)/lecen: a)ll' o(/ti me\n, w)= *spartia=tai, tou= eu)= te kai\ kakw=s pra/ttein ou)k a)/llo e)sti\n ai)/tion plh\n to\ e)/qesi xrh=sqai fau/lois h)\ sw/frosi, pa/restin u(mi=n o(ra=n. oi(/de ge/ toi, tou\s sku/lakas dei/cas, th=s au)th=s mhtro\s o)/ntes, e)nanti/on de\ a)llh/lois teqramme/noi, par' au)to\ tou=to a)no/moioi e)kbebh/kasin. o( me\n ga\r qhra=n maqw/n, o( de\ lixneu/ein, ou)de\n a)nti\ tou=de, ei) parh/koi, poih/seie. kai\ a(/ma prose/tace tw=| kunoulkw=| meqei=nai a)mfote/rous e)pi\ ta\ h(toimasme/na. tw=n d' o( me\n katoiki/dios e)pi\ tou)/yon w(/rmhsen, o( de\ qhra/twr e)pi\ to\n do/rkon kai\ katabalw\n e)spa/ratte. kai\ *lukou=rgos pa/lin, tau=ta, e)/fh, nomi/sete, w)= *spartia=tai, ei)s u(ma=s tei/nein kai\ tou\s a)/llous pa/ntas a)nqrw/pous. o(poi/ois ga\r a)\n e)/qesi kai\ no/mois xrh=sqe, toiou/tous a)pobai/nein a)na/gkh pro/s te po/nous kai\ trufh/n: pa/nta ga\r a)nqrw/pois maqhta\ oi( qeoi\ e)/dosan. e(/petai de\ tw=| me\n ponei=n e)qe/lein to\ e)leuqe/rois ei)=nai kai\ to\ eu)= pra/ttein kai\ kratei=n pa/ntwn, tw=| de\ h(dupaqei=n to/ te douleu/ein kai\ kakopragmonei=n kai\ mhdeno\s a)ci/ois ei)=nai. o( me\n toiau=ta le/gwn proutre/peto tou\s *spartia/tas metabalei=n to/n te kaqestw=ta tro/pon tou= bi/ou kai\ belti/osi no/mois e)qisqh=nai. oi( de\ peisqe/ntes ou) tw=n perioi/kwn mo/non, a)lla\ kai\ pa/ntwn *(ellh/nwn diafanw=s a)/ristoi e)ge/nonto h(gemo/nes te sunexw=s, e)co/tou parede/canto tou\s no/mous, e)p' e)/tei f#, kai\ ou) pollou= xro/nou e)xw/rhsan e)pi\ me/ga duna/mews.
See already lambda 823. Much of the present entry is a reworking of material in Xenophon, Lakedaimonion Politeia and Plutarch, Lykourgos; see also n.10 below.
[1] cf. gamma 486.
[2] diamasti/gwsis, also mentioned by Plutarch, Moralia [Spartan Sayings] 239D.
[3] i.e. Artemis Orthia.
[4] cf. phi 366.
[5] i.e. Thermopylai. For Aristodemos see Herodotus 7.229-231; and omicron 752.
[6] cf. eta 616.
[7] In fact these were separate groups. The 28 elders were permanent members of the council, but the 5 ephors or 'overseers' were elected annually.
[8] A reference to the tripartite nature of the Spartan constitution, with its elements of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.
[9] cf. alpha 2998, alpha 3336.
[10] Here begins Nicolaus of Damascus FGrH 90 F56.
[11] The free inhabitants of Sparta's dependent city-states.
[12] The use of a)no/moios here, like the uses of related terms elsewhere in the passage, is perhaps an allusion to the term Homoioi, 'Similars', often used to describe the supposedly egalitarian Spartans.
Keywords: athletics; biography; children; chronology; clothing; constitution; economics; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; law; military affairs; meter and music; religion; women; zoology
Translated by: D. Graham J. Shipley on 16 February 2002@13:48:13.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 17 February 2002@07:06:51.
Catharine Roth (minor modifications to translation) on 15 July 2004@19:39:51.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 11 November 2005@08:07:14.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 24 April 2013@03:33:25.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 26 February 2015@01:35:40.
David Whitehead (coding) on 17 May 2016@05:14:55.


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