THE LIFE OF AGESILAOS BY PLUTARCH
Agesilaos II (ca. 445-361/0 BC) was a King of the Spartans of whom two ancient biographies have survived. The first was by Xenophon, who knew Agesilaos well. The much later, but fuller one from which all the passages concerning Greek love are here extracted, was written by the Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch at the beginning of the 2nd century AD as one of his Parallel Lives. Most of what is related here was taken from either Xenophon’s life of Agesilaos or his Hellenika.
The translation is by Bernadotte Perrin in the Loeb Classical Library volume LXXXVII (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1917). His conventional Latinisation of Greek names has been undone in favour of more literal transliteration into Roman script. One other amendment is explained in a footnote.
While he [Agesilaos] was among the so-called ‘bands’ of boys who were reared together, he had as his lover Lysandros, who was smitten particularly with his native decorum. For although he was contentious and high-spirited beyond his fellows, wishing to be first in all things, and having a vehemence and fury which none could contend with or overwhelm, on the other hand he had such a readiness to obey and such gentleness, that he did whatever was enjoined upon him, not at all from a sense of fear, but always from a sense of honour, and was more distressed by censure than he was oppressed by hardships.
 Spartan boys were taken from their parents at the age of seven to live and be trained together in bands, and “were favoured with the society of lovers from among the reputable young men” from the age of twelve, all of which was described by Plutarch in his Life of Lykourgos 16-7.
 Then obscure, Lysandros rose, a quarter of a century later, to be the Spartan admiral instrumental in the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War (thus perhaps proving retrospectively his worthiness to have been the lover of the King’s son).
Ἐν δὲ ταῖς καλουμέναις ἀγέλαις τῶν συντρεφομένων παίδων Λύσανδρον ἔσχεν ἐραστήν, ἐκπλαγέντα μάλιστα τῷ κοσμίῳ τῆς φύσεως αὐτοῦ. φιλονεικότατος γὰρ ὢν καὶ θυμοειδέστατος ἐν τοῖς νέοις καὶ πάντα πρωτεύειν βουλόμενος, καὶ τὸ σφοδρὸν ἔχων καὶ ῥαγδαῖον ἄμαχον καὶ δυσεκβίαστον, εὐπειθείᾳ πάλιν αὖ καὶ πρᾳότητι τοιοῦτος ἦν οἷος φόβῳ μηδέν, αἰσχύνῃ δὲ πάντα ποιεῖν τὰ προσταττόμενα, καὶ τοῖς ψόγοις ἀλγύνεσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ τοὺς πόνους βαρύνεσθαι·
The events here recounted occurred in 395 BC in the westernmost Asian satrapies of the Persian Empire, whither Agesilaos, as King, had been sent by the Spartans to liberate the Greek cities. Pharnabazos was the Persian satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia, Spithridates was a Persian warlord who had just defected from his to Agesilaos’s side, and Kotys was the King of Paphlagonia and a new ally of Agesilaos.
Spithridates also, from the time when he abandoned Pharnabazos and came to Agesilaos, always accompanied him in his journeys and expeditions. Spithridates had a son, a very beautiful boy, named Megabates, of whom Agesilaos was ardently enamoured, and a beautiful daughter also, a maiden of marriageable age. This daughter Agesilaos persuaded Kotys to marry,
and then receiving from him a thousand horsemen and two thousand targeteers, he retired again into Phrygia, and harassed the country of Pharnabazos, who did not stand his ground nor trust in his defences, but always kept most of his valued and precious things with him, and withdrew or fled from one part of the country to another, having no abiding place. At last Spithridates, who had narrowly watched him, in conjunction with Herippidas the Spartan, seized his camp and made himself master of all his treasures.
Here, however, Herippidas, who had too sharp an eye to the booty that was stolen, and forced the Barbarians to restore it, watching over and enquiring into everything, exasperated Spithridates, so that he marched off at once to Sardis with the Paphlagonians. This is said to have annoyed Agesilaos beyond all else. For he was pained at the loss of a gallant man in Spithridates, and with him of a considerable force, and was ashamed to labour under the charge of pettiness and illiberality, from which he was always ambitious to keep not only himself, but also his country, pure and free.
And apart from these manifest reasons, he was irritated beyond measure by his love for the boy, which was now instilled into his heart, although when the boy was present he would summon all his resolution and strive mightily to battle against his desires. Indeed, when Megabates once came up and offered to embrace and kiss him, he declined his caresses.
The boy was mortified at this, and desisted, and afterwards kept his distance when addressing him, whereupon Agesilaos, distressed now and repentant for having avoided his kiss, pretended to wonder what ailed Megabates that he did not greet him with a kiss. ‘It is thy fault,’ the king's companions said; ‘thou didst not accept, but didst decline the fair one's kiss in fear and trembling; yet even now he might be persuaded to come within range of thy lips; but see that thou dost not again play the coward.’
Then, after some time spent in silent reflection, Agesilaos said: ‘There is no harm in your persuading him; for I think I would more gladly fight that battle of the kiss over again than possess all the gold I have ever seen.’ Of such a mind was he while Megabates was with him, though when the boy was gone, he was so on fire with love for him that it were hard to say whether, had the boy come back into his presence, he would have had the strength to refuse his kisses.
 ὁ δὲ Σπιθριδάτης, ὡς ἀποστὰς τοῦ Φαρναβάζου τὸ πρῶτον ἦλθε πρὸς τὸν Ἀγησίλαον, ἀεὶ συναπεδήμει καὶ συνεστράτευεν αὐτῷ, κάλλιστον υἱὸν μὲν ἔχων, Μεγαβάτην, οὗ παιδὸς ὄντος ἤρα σφοδρῶς Ἀγησίλαος, καλὴν δὲ καὶ θυγατέρα παρθένον ἐν ἡλικίᾳ γάμου. ταύτην ἔπεισε γῆμαι τὸν Κότυν ὁ Ἀγησίλαος·
 καὶ λαβὼν παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ χιλίους ἱππεῖς καὶ δισχιλίους πελταστὰς αὖθις ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς Φρυγίαν, καὶ κακῶς ἐποίει τὴν Φαρναβάζου χώραν οὐχ ὑπομένοντος οὐδὲ πιστεύοντος τοῖς ἐρύμασιν, ἀλλὰ ἔχων ἀεὶ τὰ πλεῖστα σὺν ἑαυτῷ τῶν τιμίων καὶ ἀγαπητῶν ἐξεχώρει καὶ ὑπέφευγεν ἄλλοτε ἀλλαχόσε τῆς χώρας μεθιδρυόμενος, μέχρι οὗ παραφυλάξας αὐτὸν ὁ Σπιθριδάτης καὶ παραλαβὼν Ἡριππίδαν τὸν Σπαρτιάτην ἔλαβε τὸ στρατόπεδον καὶ τῶν χρημάτων ἁπάντων ἐκράτησεν.
 ἔνθα δὴ πικρὸς ὢν ὁ Ἡριππίδας ἐξεταστὴς τῶν κλαπέντων, καὶ τοὺς βαρβάρους ἀναγκάζων ἀποτίθεσθαι, καὶ πάντα ἐφορῶν καὶ διερευνώμενος, παρώξυνε τὸν Σπιθριδάτην, ὥστε ἀπελθεῖν εὐθὺς εἰς Σάρδεις μετὰ τῶν Παφλαγόνων. Τοῦτο λέγεται τῷ Ἀγησιλάῳ γενέσθαι πάντων ἀνιαρότατον. ἤχθετο μὲν γὰρ ἄνδρα γενναῖον ἀποβεβληκὼς τὸν Σπιθριδάτην καὶ σὺν αὐτῷ δύναμιν οὐκ ὀλίγην, ᾐσχύνετο δὲ τῇ διαβολῇ τῆς μικρολογίας καὶ ἀνελευθερίας, ἧς οὐ μόνον αὑτόν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν πατρίδα καθαρεύουσαν ἀεὶ παρέχειν ἐφιλοτιμεῖτο.
 χωρὶς δὲ τῶν ἐμφανῶν τούτων ἔκνιζεν αὐτὸν οὐ μετρίως ὁ τοῦ παιδὸς ἔρως ἐνεσταγμένος, εἰ καὶ πάνυ παρόντος αὐτοῦ τῷ φιλονείκῳ χρώμενος ἐπειρᾶτο νεανικῶς ἀπομάχεσθαι πρὸς τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν. καί ποτε τοῦ Μεγαβάτου προσιόντος ὡς ἀσπασομένου καὶ φιλήσοντος ἐξέκλινεν.
 ἐπεὶ δὲ ἐκεῖνος αἰσχυνθεὶς ἐπαύσατο καὶ τὸ λοιπὸν ἄπωθεν ἤδη προσηγόρευεν, ἀχθόμενος αὖ πάλιν καὶ μεταμελόμενος τῇ φυγῇ τοῦ φιλήματος, ὁ Ἀγησίλαος προσεποιεῖτο θαυμάζειν ὅ τι δὴ παθὼν αὐτὸν ὁ Μεγαβάτης ἀπὸ στόματος οὐ φιλοφρονοῖτο. “Σὺ γὰρ αἴτιος,” οἱ συνήθεις ἔφασαν, “οὐχ ὑποστάς, ἀλλὰ τρέσας τὸ φίλημα τοῦ καλοῦ καὶ φοβηθείς· ἐπεὶ καὶ νῦν ἂν ἔλθοι σοι πεισθεὶς ἐκεῖνος ἐντὸς φιλήματος· ἀλλ᾿ ὅπως αὖθις οὐκ ἀποδειλιασεις.”
 χρόνον οὖν τινα πρὸς ἑαυτῷ γενόμενος ὁ Ἀγησίλαος καὶ διασιωπήσας, “Οὐδέν,” ἔφη, “δεινὸν πείθειν ὑμᾶς ἐκεῖνον· ἐγὼ γάρ μοι δοκῶ τήναν τὰν μάχαν τὰν περὶ τοῦ φιλάματος ἅδιον ἂν μάχεσθαι πάλιν ἢ πάντα ὅσα τεθέαμαι χρυσία μοι γενέσθαι.” τοιοῦτος μὲν ἦν τοῦ Μεγαβάτου παρόντος, ἀπελθόντος γε μὴν οὕτω περικαῶς ἔσχεν ὡς χαλεπὸν εἰπεῖν εἰ πάλιν αὖ μεταβαλομένου καὶ φανέντος ἐνεκαρτέρησε μὴ φιληθῆναι.
This passage concludes Plutarch’s account of a private conference between Agesilaos and Pharnabazos held in the winter of 395-4, at which they greatly impressed one another, but failed to make peace. The later exile of Pharnabazos’s son to Greece probably began in 387. The Olympic Games mentioned were presumably therefore the 99th, held in 384.
As Pharnabazos and his friends were going away, his son, who was left behind, ran up to Agesilaos and said with a smile: ‘I make thee my guest-friend, Agesilaos,’ and offered him a javelin which he held in his hand. Agesilaos accepted it, and being delighted with the fair looks and kindly bearing of the boy, looked round upon his companions to see if any one of them had anything that would do for a return-gift to a fair and gallant friend;
and seeing that the horse of Idaios, his secretary, had a decorated head-gear, he quickly took this off and gave it to the youth. Nor afterwards did he cease to remember him, but when, as time went on, the youth was robbed of his home by his brothers and driven into exile in Peloponnesus, he paid him much attention. He even gave him some assistance in his love affairs.
For the Persian was enamoured of an Athenian boy, an athlete, who, owing to his stature and strength, was in danger of being ruled out of the lists at Olympia. He therefore had recourse to Agesilaos with entreaties to help the boy, and Agesilaos, wishing to gratify him in this matter also, with very great difficulty and with much trouble effected his desires. Indeed, although in other matters he was exact and law-abiding, in matters of friendship he thought that rigid justice was a mere pretext.
At any rate, there is in circulation a letter of his to Hidrieus the Carian, which runs as follows: ‘As for Nikias, if he is innocent, acquit him; if he is guilty, acquit him for my sake; but in any case acquit him.’ Such, then, was Agesilaos in most cases where the interests of his friends were concerned; but sometimes he used a critical situation rather for his own advantage. Of this he gave an instance when, as he was decamping in some haste and confusion, he left his loved boy behind him sick. The sick one besought him loudly as he was departing, but he merely turned and said that it was hard to be compassionate and at the same time prudent. This story is related by Hieronymos the philosopher.
 Xenophon says it was made possible by Pharnabazos’s absence (Hellenika IV I xl), and this was probably the absence to marry the Great King’s daughter also described by Xenophon (Hellenika V I xxviii).
 “Loved boy” is here substituted for Perrin’s vague “favourite” as a translation of the Greek “ἐρώμενος”.
 Ἀπιόντος δὲ τοῦ Φαρναβάζου μετὰ τῶν φίλων, ὁ υἱὸς ὑπολειφθεὶς προσέδραμε τῷ Ἀγησιλάῳ καὶ μειδιῶν εἶπεν· “Ἐγώ σε ξένον, ὦ Ἀγησίλαε, ποιοῦμαι·” καὶ παλτὸν ἔχων ἐν τῇ χειρὶ δίδωσιν αὐτῷ. δεξάμενος οὖν ὁ Ἀγησίλαος καὶ ἡσθεὶς τῇ τε ὄψει καὶ τῇ φιλοφροσύνῃ τοῦ παιδός, ἐπεσκόπει τοὺς παρόντας, εἴ τις ἔχοι τι τοιοῦτον οἷον ἀντιδοῦναι καλῷ καὶ γενναίῳ δῶρον.
 ἰδὼν δὲ ἵππον Ἰδαίου τοῦ γραφέως κεκοσμημένον φαλάροις, ταχὺ ταῦτα περισπάσας τῷ μειρακίῳ δίδωσι. καὶ τὸ λοιπὸν οὐκ ἐπαύετο μεμνημένος, ἀλλὰ καὶ χρόνῳ περιϊόντι τὸν οἶκον ἀποστερηθέντος αὐτοῦ καὶ φυγόντος ὑπὸ τῶν ἀδελφῶν εἰς Πελοποννησον, ἰσχυρῶς ἐπεμελεῖτο.
 καί τι καὶ τῶν ἐρωτικῶν αὐτῷ συνέπραξεν. ἠράσθη γὰρ ἀθλητοῦ παιδὸς ἐξ Ἀθηνῶν· ἐπεὶ δὲ μέγας ὢν καὶ σκληρὸς Ὀλυμπίασιν ἐκινδύνευσεν ἐκκριθῆναι, καταφεύγει πρὸς τὸν Ἀγησίλαον ὁ Πέρσης δεόμενος ὑπὲρ τοῦ παιδός· ὁ δὲ καὶ τοῦτο βουλόμενος αὐτῷ χαρίζεσθαι, μάλα μόλις διεπράξατο σὺν πολλῇ πραγματείᾳ. Τἆλλα μὲν γὰρ ἦν ἀκριβὴς καὶ νόμιμος, ἐν δὲ τοῖς φιλικοῖς πρόφασιν ἐνόμιζεν εἶναι τὸ λίαν δίκαιον.
 φέρεται γοῦν ἐπιστόλιον αὐτοῦ πρὸς Ἱδριέα τον Κᾶρα τοιοῦτο· “Νικίας εἰ μὲν μὴ ἀδικεῖ, ἄφες· εἰ δὲ ἀδικεῖ, ἡμῖν ἄφες· πάντως δὲ ἄφες.” ἐν μὲν οὖν τοῖς πλείστοις τοιοῦτος ὑπὲρ τῶν φίλων ὁ Ἀγησίλαος· ἔστι δὲ ὅπου πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον ἐχρῆτο τῷ καιρῷ μᾶλλον, ὡς ἐδήλωσεν, ἀναζυγῆς αὐτῷ θορυβωδεστέρας γενομένης, ἀσθενοῦντα καταλιπὼν τὸν ἐρώμενον. ἐκείνου γὰρ δεομένου καὶ καλοῦντος αὐτὸν ἀπιόντα, μεταστραφεὶς εἶπεν ὡς χαλεπὸν ἐλεεῖν ἅμα καὶ φρονεῖν. τουτὶ μὲν Ἱερώνυμος ὁ φιλόσοφος ἱστόρηκεν.
Here Plutarch is describing the situation soon after the succession of Agesilaos’s co-King in 394/3. (Plutarch’s subsequent passages describe events in 393).
For Agesipolis, the other king, since he was the son of an exile, in years a mere stripling, and by nature gentle and quiet, took little part in affairs of state. And yet he too was brought under the sway of Agesilaos. For the Spartan kings eat together in the same ‘phidition,’ or public mess, whenever they are at home.
Accordingly, knowing that Agesipolis was prone to love affairs, just as he was himself, Agesilaos would always introduce some discourse about the boys who were of an age to love. He would even lead the young king's fancy toward the object of his own affections, and share with him in wooing and loving, these Spartan loves having nothing shameful in them, but being attended rather with great modesty, high ambition, and an ardent desire for excellence, as I have written in my life of Lykourgos.
 Sparta had an unusual system of dual kingship, with two royal houses descended from twins who had first shared the rule some eight centuries earlier. Agesipolis’s father had fled into exile for life after being charged with misconduct.
 Ὁ γὰρ ἕτερος βασιλεὺς Ἀγησίπολις, ἅτε δὴ πατρὸς μὲν ὢν φυγάδος, ἡλικίᾳ δὲ παντάπασι μειράκιον, φύσει δὲ πρᾷος καὶ κόσμιος, οὐ πολλὰ τῶν πολιτικῶν ἔπραττεν. οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦτον ἐποιεῖτο χειροήθη. συσσιτοῦσι γὰρ οἱ βασιλεῖς εἰς τὸ αὐτὸ φοιτῶντες φιδίτιον, ὅταν ἐπιδημῶσιν.
 εἰδὼς οὖν ἔνοχον ὄντα τοῖς ἐρωτικοῖς τὸν Ἀγησίπολιν, ὥσπερ ἦν αὐτός, ἀεί τινος ὑπῆρχε λόγου περὶ τῶν ἐν ὥρᾳ· καὶ προῆγε τὸν νεανίσκον εἰς ταὐτὸ καὶ συνήρα καὶ συνέπραττε, τῶν Λακωνικῶν ἐρώτων οὐδὲν αἰσχρόν, αἰδῶ δὲ πολλὴν καὶ φιλοτιμίαν καὶ ζῆλον ἀρετῆς ἐχόντων, ὡς ἐν τοῖς περὶ Λυκούργου γέγραπται.
XXV 1-XXVI 1
The following happened in 378 BC, when Sphodrias, an ambitious opponent of Agesilaos, had been indicted on a capital charge for an unauthorised, dishonourable and unsuccessful attack on Athens.
Now Sphodrias had a son, Kleonymos, who was still a boy and fair to look upon, and of whom Archidamos, the son of King Agesilaos, was enamoured. In this crisis Archidamos naturally sympathized with his favourite because of the peril in which his father stood, but he was unable to aid and assist him openly, since Sphodrias was one of the opponents of Agesilaos.
But when Kleonymos came to him in tears and begged him to mollify Agesilaos, from whom he and his father had most to fear, for three or four days he was restrained by awe and fear from saying anything to Agesilaos as he followed him about; but finally, when the trial was near at hand, he plucked up courage to tell him that Kleonymos had begged him to intercede for his father.
Now Agesilaos, although he knew of the love of Archidamos, had not put a stop to it, since Kleonymos, from his early boyhood, had given special promise of becoming an earnest and worthy man. At this time, however, he did not permit his son to expect any advantage or kindness in answer to his prayer; he merely said, as he went away, that he would consider what was the honourable and fitting course in the matter.
Archidamos was therefore mortified, and ceased to visit Kleonymos, although before this he had done so many times a day. As a consequence, the friends of Sphodrias also were more in despair of his case, until Etymokles, one of the friends of Agesilaos, conferred with them and disclosed the mind of the king, namely, that he blamed to the utmost what Sphodrias had done, but yet thought him a brave man, and saw that the city needed just such soldiers.
For this was the way in which Agesilaos always spoke about the trial, in his desire to gratify his son, so that Kleonymus was at once aware of the zealous efforts of Archidamos in his behalf, and the friends of Sphodrias had courage at last to come to his help. It is a fact also that Agesilaüs was excessively fond of his children, and a story is told of his joining in their childish play. Once, when they were very small, he bestrode a stick, and was playing horse with them in the house, and when he was spied doing this by one of his friends, he entreated him not to tell any one, until he himself should be a father of children.
But after Sphodrias was acquitted, and the Athenians, on learning of it, were inclined to go to war, Agesilaos was very harshly criticized. It was thought that, to gratify an absurd and childish desire, he had opposed the course of justice in a trial, and made the city accessory to great crimes against the Greeks.
[XXV 1] Εἶχεν οὖν υἱὸν ὁ Σφοδρίας Κλεώνυμον, οὗ παιδὸς ὄντος ἔτι καὶ καλοῦ τὴν ὄψιν Ἀρχίδαμος ὁ Ἀγησιλάου τοῦ βασιλέως υἱὸς ἤρα. καὶ τοτε συνηγωνια μὲν ὡς εἰκὸς αὐτῷ κινδυνεύοντι περὶ τοῦ πατρός, συμπράττειν δὲ φανερῶς καὶ βοηθεῖν οὐκ εἶχεν· ἦν γὰρ ὁ Σφοδρίας ἐκ τῶν διαφόρων τοῦ Ἀγησιλάου.
 τοῦ δὲ Κλεωνύμου προσελθόντος αὐτῷ καὶ μετὰ δεήσεως καὶ δακρύων ἐντυχόντος, ὅπως τὸν Ἀγησίλαον εὔνουν παράσχῃ,610 μάλιστα γὰρ ἐκεῖνον αὐτοῖς φοβερὸν εἶναι, τρεῖς μὲν ἢ τέσσαρας ἡμέρας αἰδούμενος τὸν πατέρα καὶ δεδιὼς σιωπῇ παρηκολούθει· τέλος δὲ τῆς κρίσεως ἐγγὺς οὔσης ἐτόλμησεν εἰπεῖν πρὸς τὸν Ἀγησίλαον ὅτι Κλεώνυμος αὐτοῦ δεηθείη περὶ τοῦ πατρός.
 ὁ δὲ Ἀγησίλαος εἰδὼς ἐρῶντα τὸν Ἀρχίδαμον οὐκ ἔπαυσεν· ἦν γὰρ ὁ Κλεώνυμος εὐθὺς ἐκ παίδων ἐπίδοξος, εἴ τις καὶ ἄλλος, ἀνὴρ ἔσεσθαι σπουδαῖος. οὐ μὴν ἐνέδωκέ τι τότε χρηστὸν ἢ φιλάνθρωπον ἐλπίσαι δεομένῳ τῷ παιδί, σκέψεσθαι δὲ φήσας ὅ τι καλῶς ἔχοι καὶ πρεπόντως, ἀπῆλθεν.
 αἰδούμενος οὖν ὁ Ἀρχίδαμος ἐξέλειπε τὸ προσιέναι τῷ Κλεωνύμῳ, καίπερ εἰωθὼς πολλάκις τοῦτο τῆς ἡμέρας ποιεῖν πρότερον. ἐκ δὲ τούτου κἀκεῖνοι τὰ κατὰ τὸν Σφοδρίαν μᾶλλον ἀπέγνωσαν, ἄχρι οὗ τῶν Ἀγησιλάου φίλων Ἐτυμοκλῆς ἔν τινι κοινολογίᾳ πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἀπεγύμνωσε τὴν γνώμην τοῦ Ἀγησιλάου· τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἔργον ὡς ἔνι μάλιστα ψέγειν αὐτόν, ἄλλως γε μὴν ἄνδρα τὸν Σφοδρίαν ἀγαθὸν ἡγεῖσθαι καὶ τὴν πόλιν ὁρᾶν τοιούτων στρατιωτῶν δεομένην.
 τούτους γὰρ ὁ Ἀγησίλαος ἑκάστοτε τοὺς λόγους ἐποιεῖτο περὶ τῆς δίκης, τῷ παιδὶ χαρίζεσθαι βουλόμενος, ὥστε καὶ τὸν Κλεώνυμον εὐθὺς αἰσθάνεσθαι τὴν σπουδὴν τοῦ Ἀρχιδάμου καὶ τοὺς φίλους τοὺς τοῦ Σφοδρίου θαρροῦντας ἤδη βοηθεῖν. ἦν δὲ καὶ φιλότεκνος ὁ Ἀγησίλαος διαφερόντως· καὶ περὶ ἐκείνου τὸ τῆς παιδιᾶς λέγουσιν, ὅτι μικροῖς τοῖς παιδίοις οὖσι κάλαμον περιβεβηκὼς ὥσπερ ἵππον οἴκοι συνέπαιζεν, ὀφθεὶς δὲ ὑπό τινος τῶν φίλων παρεκάλει μηδενὶ φράσαι, πρὶν ἂν καὶ αὐτὸς πατὴρ παίδων γένηται.
[XXVI 1] Ἀπολυθέντος δὲ τοῦ Σφοδρίου, καὶ τῶν Ἀθηναίων, ὡς ἐπύθοντο, πρὸς πόλεμον τραπομένων, σφόδρα κακῶς ὁ Ἀγησίλαος ἤκουσε, δι᾿ ἐπιθυμίαν ἄτοπον καὶ παιδαριώδη δοκῶν ἐμποδὼν γεγονέναι κρίσει δικαίᾳ, καὶ τὴν πόλιν παραίτιον ἀπειργάσθαι παρανομημάτων τηλικούτων εἰς τοὺς Ἕλληνας.
Describing the battle in which the Spartans fought off a surprise Theban attack on their city in 362 BC.
But I think that Isidas, the son of Phoibidas, must have been a strange and marvellous sight, not only to his fellow-citizens, but also to his enemies.
He was of conspicuous beauty and stature, and at an age when the human flower has the greatest charm, as the boy merges into the man. Naked as he was, without either defensive armour or clothing,—for he had just anointed his body with oil,—he took a spear in one hand, and a sword in the other, leaped forth from his house, and after pushing his way through the midst of the combatants, ranged up and down among the enemy, smiting and laying low all who encountered him.
And no man gave him a wound, whether it was that a god shielded him on account of his valour, or that the enemy thought him taller and mightier than a mere human could be. For this exploit it is said that the ephors put a garland on his head, and then fined him a thousand drachmas, because he had dared to hazard his life in battle without armour.
 “Man” in Perrin’s translation of has been replaced by “human”. His “man” is not wrong, in so far as “man” can mean the same thing, but is apt here to lead to misunderstanding of a word that implies nothing about the person’s gender or age.
 Ἰσίδαν δὲ δοκῶ, τὸν Φοιβίδου υἱόν, οὐ τοῖς πολίταις μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς πολεμίοις θέαμα φανῆναι καινὸν καὶ ἀγαστόν.
 ἦν μὲν γὰρ ἐκπρεπὴς τὸ εἶδος καὶ τὸ μέγεθος τοῦ σώματος, ὥραν δὲ ἐν ᾗ τὸ ἥδιστον ἀνθοῦσιν ἄνθρωποι παριόντες εἰς ἄνδρας ἐκ παίδων εἶχε, γυμνὸς δὲ καὶ ὅπλων τῶν σκεπόντων καὶ ἱματίων, λίπα χρισάμενος τὸ σῶμα, καὶ τῇ μὲν ἔχων χειρὶ λόγχην, τῇ δὲ ξίφος, ἐξήλατο τῆς οἰκίας, καὶ διὰ μέσων τῶν μαχομένων ὠσάμενος ἐν τοῖς πολεμίοις ἀνεστρέφετο, παίων τὸν προστυχόντα καὶ καταβάλλων.
 ἐτρώθη δὲ ὑπ᾿ οὐδενός, εἴτε θεοῦ δι᾿ ἀρετὴν φυλάττοντος αὐτόν, εἴτε μεῖζόν τι καὶ κρεῖττον ἀνθρώπου φανεὶς τοῖς ἐναντίοις. ἐπὶ τούτῳ δὲ λέγεται τοὺς ἐφόρους στεφανώσαντας αὐτὸν εἶτα χιλίων δραχμῶν ἐπιβαλεῖν ζημίαν, ὅτι χωρὶς ὅπλων διακινδυνεύειν ἐτόλμησεν.
Comparison of Agesilaos and Pompey 1 iv
Plutarch’s great work is known as the Parallel Lives because he told in pairs the story of one great Greek together with one similar great Roman, and then compared them. He compared Demetrios to the Roman triumvir Pompey. Here he is comparing their “transgressions of right and justice … due to … family connections”:
|Agesilaos snatched Sphodrias from the death which hung over him for wronging the Athenians, merely to gratify the love of his son,||Ἀγησίλαος δὲ Σφοδρίαν μὲν ἐφ᾿ οἷς Ἀθηναίους ἠδίκησεν ἀποθανεῖν ὀφείλοντα τῷ τοῦ παιδὸς ἔρωτι χαριζόμενος ἐξήρπασε,|