VI
 

Nor, in my opinion, were those obscure proofs of courage and true manliness which he furnished by his readiness ever to wage war against the strongest enemies, whether of Sparta or of Hellas, placing himself in the forefront of the contests decided on. If the enemy cared to join issue in fair field he would not chance upon a victory won by panic, but in stubborn battle, blow for blow, he mastered him; and set up trophies worthy of the name, seeing that he left behind him imperishable monuments of prowess, and bore away on his own body indelible marks of the fury with which he fought; so that, apart from hearsay, by the evidence of men's eyes his valour stood approved.

And amongst these we must not deem them trophies alone which he actually set up, but reckon the many campaigns which he undertook, since they were victories truly, even when the enemy refused to encounter him, victories devoid of danger, yet fraught with even more solid advantage to the state of Sparta and her fellow-combatants; just as in our games we crown as victor him who walks over the field no less than him who conquers by dint of battle.

And to speak next of his wisdom, I suppose there is not one of all his doings but must illustrate it;--this man whose bearing towards his fatherland was such that by dint of implicit obedience [he grew to so greate a height of power], whose zeal in the service of his comrades won for him the unhesitating attachment of his friends, who infused into the hearts of his soldiers a spirit, not of discipline only, but of self-devotion to their chief. And yet surely that is the strongest of all battle-lines in which obedience creates tactical efficieny, and alacrity in the field springs out of loyal affection for the general.

Enemies he had to cope with, who had little excuse to disparage, however much they might be compelled to hate their opponent, seeing that he was for ever contriving to give his allies some advantage over them--by sheer deception, if occasion offered; now anticipating them if speed were requisite; now skulking in corners if concealment served; in all points observing one rule of behaviour to his friends and another towards his foes. By turning night into day and day into night he drew so close a veil of mystery over his movements that frequently there was no saying where he was, or whither he would go, or what he might do next. The fastnesses of the enemy he transformed into so many weaknesses, passing this one by, and scaling that, and stealing like a thief into a third.

When he was on the march, and was well aware that an enemy might, if he chose, deliver battle, his habit was to lead his troops in compact battle order ready to confront emergencies, with soft, slow step, advancing, as it were, with maidenly demureness, for in such procedure, as he believed, lay the secret of true calm, engendering a dauntless self-assurance, imperturbable, unerring, impervious to treacherous assault. Therefore by such behaviour he was a terror to the enemy, whilst he infused courage and strength in the hearts of his friends, so that throughout his life he continued to be a man whom his foes dared not despise, whom his fellow-citizens cared not to arraign, within the circle of his friends held blameless, the idol and admiration of the outer world.