V
 

Or again, reviewing the divers pleasures which master human beings, I defy any one to name a single one to which Agesilaus was enslaved: Agesilaus, who regarded drunkenness as a thing to hold aloof from like madness, and immoderate eating like the snare of indolence. Even the double portion allotted to him at the banquet was not spent on his own appetite; rather would be make distribution of the whole, retaining neither portion for himself. In his view of the matter this doubling of the king's share was not for the sake of surfeiting, but that the king might have the wherewithal to honour whom he wished. And so, too, sleep he treated not as a master, but as a slave, subservient to higher concerns. The very couch he lay upon must be sorrier than that of any of his company or he would have blushed for shame, since in his opinion it was the duty of a leader to excel all ordinary mortals in hardihood, not in effeminacy. Yet there were things in which he was not ashamed to take the lion's share, as, for example, the sun's heat in summer, or winter's cold. Did occasion ever demaned of his army moil and toil, he laboured beyond all others as a thing of course, believing that such ensamples are a consolation to the rank and file. Or, to put the patter compendiously, Agesilaus exulted in hard work: indolence he utterly repudiated.

And, as touching the things of Aphrodite, if for nothing else, at any rate for the marvel of it, the self-restraint of the man deserves to be put on record. It is easy to say that to abstain from that which excites no desire is but human; yet in the case of Megabates, the son of Spithridates, he was moved by as genuine a love as any passionate soul may feel for what is lovely. Now, it being a national custom among the Persians to salute those whom they honour with a kiss, Megabates endeavoured so to salute Agesilaus, but the latter with much show of battle, resisted--"No kiss might he accept." I ask whether such an incident does not reveal on the face of it the self-respect of the man, and that of no vulgar order. Megabates, who looked upon himself as in some sense dishonoured, for the future endeavoured not to offend in like sort again. Whereupon Agesilaus appealed to one who was his comrade to persuade Megabates again to honour him with his regard; and the comrade, so appealed to, demanding, "If I persuade him, will you bestow on him a kiss?" Agesilaus fell into a silence, but presently exclaimed: "No, by the Twins, not if I might this very instant become the swiftest-footed, strongest, and handsomest of men. And as to that battle I swear by all the gods I would far rather fight it over again than that everything on which I set my eyes might turn to gold."

What construction some will put upon the story I am well aware, but for myself I am persuaded that many more people can master their enemeis than the foes we speak of. Doubtless such incidents when known to but few may well be discredited by many, but here we are in the region of establishing facts, seeing that the more illustrious a man is the less can his every act escape notice. As to Agesilaus no eye-witness has ever reported any unworthy behaviour, nor, had he invented it, would his tale have found credence, since it was not the habit of the king, when abroad, to lodge apart in private houses. He always lay up in some sacred place, where behaviour of the sort was out of the question, or else in public, with the eyes of all men liable to be called as witnesses to his sobriety. For myself, if I make these statements falsely against the knowledge of Hellas, this were not in any sense to praise my hero, but to dispraise myself.