And so, by using such methods, he was formidable to his enemies, and inspired his friends with strength and confidence. Thus he was never despised by his foes, never brought to account by the citizens, never blamed by his friends, but throughout his career he was praised and idolised by all the world.
Of his Patriotism it would be a long task to write in complete detail, for there is no single action of his, I think, that does not illustrate that quality. To speak briefly, we all know that when Agesilaus thought he would be serving his fatherland he never shirked toil, never shrank from danger, never spared money, never excused himself on the score of bodily weakness or old age;[*](Xen. Mem. 3.2) but believed that it is the duty of a good king to do as much good as possible to his subjects.
Among the greatest services he rendered to his fatherland I reckon the fact that, though the most powerful man in the state, he was clearly a devoted servant of the laws. For who would be minded to disobey when he saw the king obeying? Who would turn revolutionist, thinking himself defrauded of his due, when he knew that the king was ready to yield in accordance with the laws?
Here was a man whose behaviour to his political opponents was that of a father to his children: though he would chide them for their errors he honoured them when they did a good deed, and stood by them when any disaster befell them, deeming no citizen an enemy, willing to praise all, counting the safety of all a gain, and reckoning the destruction even of a man of little worth as a loss. He clearly reckoned that if the citizens should continue to live in peaceful submission to the laws, the fatherland would always prosper and that she would be strong when the Greeks were prudent.
Again, if it is honourable in one who is a Greek to be a friend to the Greeks, what other general has the world seen unwilling to take a city when he thought that it would be sacked, or who looked on victory in a war against Greeks as a disaster?
Now when a report reached Agesilaus that eight Lacedaemonians and near ten thousand of the enemy had fallen at the battle of Corinth, instead of showing pleasure, he actually exclaimed: Alas for thee, Hellas! those who now lie dead were enough to defeat all the barbarians in battle had they lived!
And when the Corinthian exiles told him that the city was about to be surrendered to them and pointed to the engines with which they were confident of taking the walls, he would not make an assault, declaring that Greek cities ought not to be enslaved, but chastened. And if, he added, we are going to annihilate the erring members of our own race, let us beware lest we lack men to help in the conquest of the barbarians.
Or again, if it is honourable to hate the Persian because in old days he set out to enslave Greece, and now allies himself with that side which offers him the prospect of working the greater mischief, makes gifts to those who, as he believes, will injure the Greeks most in return, negotiates the peace that he thinks most certain to produce war among us — well, everyone can see these things, but who except Agesilaus has ever striven either to bring about the revolt of a tribe from the Persian, or to save a revolting tribe from destruction, or by some means or other to involve the Great King in trouble so that he will be unable to annoy the Greeks? Nay, when his fatherland was actually at war with Greeks, he did not neglect the common good of Greece, but went out with a fleet to do what harm he could to the barbarian.