Constitution of the Lacedaimonians
Xenophon, creator; Scripta minora; Marchant, E. C. (Edgar Cardew), 1864-1960, translator; Marchant, E. C. (Edgar Cardew), 1864-1960, editor, translator; Bowersock, G. W, (Glen Warren), 1936-, editor, translator
Should anyone ask me whether I think that the laws of Lycurgus still remain unchanged at this day, I certainly could not say that with any confidence whatever.[*](οὐκ .. ἔτι probably does not correspond to no longer here. On this chapter see Introduction.)
For I know that formerly the Lacedaemonians preferred to live together at home with moderate fortunes rather than expose themselves to the corrupting influences of flattery as governors of dependent states.
And I know too that in former days they were afraid to be found in possession of gold; whereas nowadays there are some who even boast of their possessions.
There were alien acts in former days, and to live abroad was illegal; and I have no doubt that the purpose of these regulations was to keep the citizens from being demoralized by contact with foreigners; and now I have no doubt that the fixed ambition of those who are thought to be first among them is to live to their dying day as governors in a foreign land.
There was a time when they would fain be worthy of leadership; but now they strive far more earnestly to exercise rule than to be worthy of it.
Therefore in times past the Greeks would come to Lacedaemon and beg her to lead them against reputed wrongdoers; but now many are calling on one another to prevent a revival of Lacedaemonian supremacy.
Yet we need not wonder if these reproaches are levelled at them, since it is manifest that they obey neither their god nor the laws of Lycurgus.