X
 

It is as possessiong qualities such as these that I praise Agesilaus. And in these matters he was not like a man who chances upon a treasure and thereby becomes wealthier, albeit none the more skilful in economy; nor yet like him who, when a plague has fallen upon an enemy, wrests a victory, whereby he may add to his reputation for success, but not for strategy. Rather was his example that of one who in each emergency will take the lead; at a crisis where toil is needful, by endurance; or in the battle-lists of bravery by prowess; or when the function of the counsellor is uppermost, by the soundness of his judgment. Of such a man I say, he has obtained by warrant indefeasible the title peerless.

And if, as a means towards good workmanship, we count among the noble inventions of mankind the rule and the plummet, no less happily shall we, who desire to attain a manly excellence, find in the virtue of Agesilaus a pattern and example. He was God-fearing, he was just in all his dealings, sound of soul and self-controlled. How then shall we who imitate him become his opposite, unholy, unjust, tyrannical, licentious? And, truth to say, this man prided himself, not so much on being a king over others as on ruling himself, not so much on leading his citizens to attack the enemy as on guiding them to embrace all virtue.

Yet let it not be supposed, because he whom we praise has finished life, that our discourse must therefore be regarded as a funeral hymn. Far rather let it be named a hymn of praise, since in the first place it is only the repetition, now that he is dead, of a tale familiar to his ears when living. And in the next place, what is more remote from dirge and lamentation than a life of glory crowned by seasonable death? What more deserving of song and eulogy than resplendent victories and deeds of highest note? Surely if one man rather than another may be accounted truly blest, it is he who, from his boyhood upwards, thirsted for glory, and beyond all contemporary names won what he desired; who, being gifted with a nature most emulous of honour, remained from the moment he was king unconquered; who attained the fullest term of mortal life and died without offence committed, whether as concerning those at whose head he marched, or as towards those others against whom he fought in war.