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any farther than to observe, that there were two hereditary kings, or presidents, whose power he controlled by giving an equal authority to twentyeight senators. The kings were commanders of the armies, and high priests of the temples. Of the senators was composed the executive and legiflative council of the state, and with them all laws originated. The assembly of the people was in. vested with the power of electing the fenators; they could give a fimple negative, or affirmative, to the meafures proposed to them, but had no right to discuss their propriety. Lycurgus allotted to every family an equal share of land, prohibited the use of gold and silver, and made iron money alone current, with a view to check the avarice of his subjects. He forbad foreign travel, left their morals should be corrupted by an intercourse with effeminate nations. He instituted public tables, at which even the kings of Sparta were required to share the coarsest viands with their people, and to fet examples of the most rigid temperance. To produce a hardy and vigorous race of men, he ordered the women not to be confined to the se: dentary employments of the distaff and the shuttle, but to be exercised in throwing the quoit, and hurling the spear. The children were carefully inspected as soon as born; the well-proportioned and
• B. C. 884 years. “We are told, that Lycurgus being alked why he, who in other respects appeared fo zealous for the equal rights of men, did not make his government democratical rather than 'oligarchal, “Go, you," the legislator aufwered, “and try a democracy in your own house."
healthy healthy were delivered to the public nurses; and the deformed, or fickly, were exposed to perish in the wilds of Mount Taygetus. Celibacy was held disreputable; yet the rights of female honour and marriage were not secured from violation: for provided the children born by promiscuous intercourse were strong and robuft, no inquiry was made to ascertain their fathers. All children were considered as the offspring, or rather the property, of the state; and their public education consisted in accustoming them to bear the cravings of hunger and thirft, to suffer extreme heat and cold, feep in the open air, and endure the scourge of difcipline, and every degree of pain with patience, and even exultation. As they approached to man- . hood, their discipline was made more severe, Military and athletic exercises employed the largest portion of their time; it was held disreputable for private business or domestic concerns to engross their attention. The whole energy of their minds was directed to war, and they lived as if always in a camp. Plutarch observed, thạt they were taught neither to defire nor to know how to live by themselves nor for themselves. Their passions and ambition were absorbed in the public service, and as they were hardened by constant exercise, they were both eager to undertake, and powerful to accomplifh every exploit for the glory of their country.
** As Lycurgus wished his people to enjoy complete independence, he provided the means of security against foreign attacks by establishing
: the strictest military discipline. In order, however,
to guard against the desire of conqueft, he forbad his subjects to engage too frequently in war with the same nations. This was the curb, by which he endeavoured to restrain their military ardour : the defire of conquest however was a disease
inherent in the vitals of his system, and it fre-quently broke out in fucceeding times, as often · as any temptation occurred of extending their dominions. By laws the most severe ever imposed on mankind, Lycurgus formed the habits of his people, and even far furpaffed other legislators, by regulating their conduct in many circumstances, · which are generally, supposed not to come within
the province of legal restrictions. He prescribed . the most rigid sobriety, respect to age, modesty of behaviour, and even a particular kind of mirth and conversation. In other governments, many institutions arise out of accidental circumstances; the character of the people, and the particular state of affairs: but in Lacedemon almost every rule feems to have sprung from the comprehensive mind of Lycurgus, and his plan of government was eminently his own. Before his death he saw every part of his political machine set in motion. The Spartans exulted in their new strength ; and their desire to exert it was so ardent, that they were foon distinguished among the neighbouring states as a warlike and formidable people. For many ages they firmly adhered to the will of their lawgiver ; and, not to adduce other examples, the monument erected in the straits of Thermopylæ, to record the
glorious glorious fall of Leonidas, king of Sparta, and his three hundred brave associates, expressed in an in-. fcription characteristic of the genius and spirit of the nation, that they maintained their post to the last extremity, in obedience to the orders of their country!
The reverence of the Spartans for old age, their abstemiousness, perfeet discipline, and great bravery, must not so far blind our judgment, as to induce us to palliate the imperfections of their laws, and the impropriety of their conduct. The honour in which they held the successful perpetration of theft, their cruelty to their faves, their inhumanity to children, the indelicacy of their conduct to women, and the insensibility and masculine energy of character, with which they endeavoured to inspire them, all unite to mark a ferocious and a barbarous people. The improvement of the mind, and the purest feelings of nature, were sacrificed to severe discipline, and the business of war. They extended the same rigour to
Character ame whicherod. lib.
Ps2&tu' ayyendes» Aaxed&sorioss Tudo
Herod, lib. vii. fect. 455.. The sentiment is the same which Demaratus expreffed to Xerxes in his character of the Spartans. Herod. Polym. fect, civ.
To them more awful than the name of king
their allies, which they exercised at home; and thus became the objects of hoftility and averfion. By a strange inconsistency in their laws, they were trained to arms, but stopped in the career of conquest; they were made a nation of warriors, yet forbidden to pursue a flying enemy, or to enrich themselves with his fpoils.
Eminent as they were in the field of battle, both kings and generals were incapable of compofing the histories of their campaigns, and no book has ever been transmitted to modern times, written by a genuine Spartan of the Doric race. They preferred the exercise of arms to the cultivation of letters, and left their exploits to be handed down to posterity by their enemies.
During the reign of fourteen succeffive kings, for the long period of five hundred years, their power and influence were felt throughout Greece; and for a confiderable part of that period, the glory of Sparta eclipsed the other ftates. But in process of time the auftere manners of her warriprs were relaxed by success. The universal applause with which they welcomed, and the rapacity with which they divided, the spoils of Athens, when that city was taken by Lysander, were strong indications of their degeneracy. Of this gradual departure from the inftitutions of Lycurgus, their subsequent venality, luxury, and avarice, were sufficient proofs.