Зображення сторінки

tans succeed in making their assembly, the Ecclesia, more powerful." If claims were then urged, as it seems, on every side, intrigues and hostilities would soon ensue, especially amongst a nation so savage and unimproved. It is not yet the moment to describe the condition of the conquered. Such were the institutions which Lycurgus had before him to reform, and, at the same time, to fortify. It is by no means certain that we know the changes he wrought; but the energies he infused into his state and his people appear, undeniably, to have resulted from his reforms. He seems to have left the kings nearly as he found them, incapable of tyranny, but hedged on all sides against degradation. The senate was opened to every class amongst the Spartans who had reached the age of sixty years; and to it was then intrusted nearly the same authority.it had previously obtained, in the proposal of laws, the judgment of criminal cases, “the power of life and death, of honor and of dishonor, and, in a word, of all important things.” If to the natural effect upon every temper of admission to a chosen body be added the preparation which the Spartan of threescore years had undergone before he could occupy his seat, it will not appear that Lycurgus, in opening its doors, meant to transform, but rather to establish, the senate, so that it would never need to be transformed. He made every Spartan of unblemished name eligible, and gave the election to all his fellow-citizens; but upon the candidate he set the seal of gray hairs, and put the voters under the general restraints his laws imposed. Nor was the assembly, though it may have received some new privileges, allowed to become more democratical.” No one was to have any voice in its deliberations before the age of thirty, nor then, as an orator, unless in office or under permission; and no other proceedings were to be allowed but elections to certain magistracies and decisions on the laws brought into the assembly from the senate. It was also within the province of the assembly to determine upon peace and war; but its votes were then the acclamations of soldiers, willing or unwilling to be led to conflict, rather than the resolutions of men who accepted or refused a war from consideration or conviction. The three, the assembly,” the senate, and the royalty, were together confirmed as the constitution of a rigid and a disciplined people. In thus tempering political institutions, the reforms of Lycurgus were but begun. It is from this point, indeed, that he appears, not merely as the reformer, but as the lawgiver, in whose judgment there was something to be added to the ancient customs of the race to which he belonged. Yet it is more than ever difficult to bring these wider labors within the scope of accurate history. In order to complete the union laid in the securer organization of the state, as such, it was necessary to make some further provisions for the independence of the Spartans, particularly of many who, through the common changes of society, had become impoverished and downhearted. It was equally necessary to check the accumulation of wealth and the increase of pride amongst the more fortunate. Either class was dangerous to the freedom which Lycurgus desired; the latter, through its tendency to oppression, — the former, through a still stronger tendency to turbulence, if not to degeneration; and care was also to be taken that the subjects did not grow rich, while the rulers, or many of their number, were becoming poor. In view of these contingencies, Lycurgus is said to have ordered a division of the Spartan territories. But so uncertain are the limits of these, and so doubtful is the account which remains of their distribution, that the only fact to be admitted, even conjecturally, is, that the Spartans received each an equal portion of land, sufficient for his own necessities and for those of his dependants.” If this be true, the equality of the people was so far secured, that none was richer than his neighbour in land, or stock, or slaves; while every man was so little engrossed by the occupations of agriculture or trade, as to have his time and his energy left free to meet the wars and the demands of his country. The conquest of Laconia was by no means completed in the time of Lycurgus; indeed, it is supposed that the vigor and the unanimity he established in Sparta were the main instruments in the subjugation of the whole surrounding country. But it is impossible to proceed farther in our account of the Spartans without some definite ideas of the relations between them and the people they had hitherto subdued. Of these, there were two great classes. One was that of the Laconians, who, under whatever name they had been overthrown, were the lords of the country before the coming of the Dorians. They continued to enjoy a certain degree of personal freedom; but held their land under lease from the Spartan state, in which they had no participation as citizens. Some of them, perhaps, were Dorians themselves, but of an inferior caste,” and reduced, in every respect, to the same condition as if they, too, had been amongst the conquered. Below all these were the Helots, a multitude of bondsmen, whose servitude apparently began before the conquest, but whose hardships were then probably increased by the introduction of new masters, to whom their former owners, as well as they themselves, were obliged to yield. Considered as public property in the use of one or another employer, the Helot was thus doubly enslaved.” He served the Laconian or the Spartan indiscriminately; but he was always considered the slave of the state, as well as of the citizen or the subject who could provide him with toil and sustenance. Sometimes rewarded by his liberty for the labors” he was bound to render, he was more commonly shut out from the hope of liberation; being not only subjected to every degree of ignominy, but to persecution and destruction of which the details are too horrible to be told.” Both the Helot and the Laconian were held to duty in the Spartan armies, as to any service which might be exacted from them; and though the Helots' chains were the heavier, it was natural for either class to feel such hatred towards their oppressors as to speak of them as enemies they would be glad to eat alive." Lycurgus was unable

61 On the organization of the Resp., Cap. X., and the description state in Oba, and Tribes, see Thirl- by Demosthenes of a Spartan senawall's History of Greece, Appen- tor: —’Eretőév ris, K. r. A., &eornródix I. rms torri rôv roMAóv; he is a lord

69 Képtov Švra kal 6avárov kai over the multitude. Adv. Leptidruțas kai ÖNos róv Heytorov. nem, 107.

Plut., Lyc., 26. Cf. Xen., Lac.

69 See Müller's Dorians, Vol. II. magistrates of Sparta were united pp. 90 et seq. in a sort of council; in the other,

64 It is here possible only to allude the Spartans met with their allies to the small assembly of later times, and their soldiers to decide upon or the large assembly, perhaps, of what may be called international af. , still later date. In the one, the fairs.

65 The chief authority concerning this division of the Spartan lands is Plutarch, who says that 30,000 portions were assigned to the Laconians (of whom more presently), 9,000 being given to the Spartans. Lyc., 8. The only possible way to reconcile these numbers with

the narrowness of the Spartan territory at that time is to suppose that the 30,000 lots were subdivisions of the 9,000, and that the Laconians held each a part of a Spartan's estate, in lease or in fee, -not, however, from the Spartan, but the State, 66 It is certain that there were tioned as joining heartily with the

many divisions amongst the Spartans proper, such as the New8apiá,8es and the ‘Yoropetoves, of which there are various explanations. In Xen., Hell., III. 3. 6, they are both men

slaves (eiMóra) and the Laconians (treptoikot) in the same fierce resentment. See Hermann, Pol. Antiq. Greece, Sect. 24, 48 ; and Grote's Hist., Ch. VI. part 2.

67 Really, as Cornelius Nepos famous, Crypteia. Plut., Lyc.,

calls them, but a “genus quoddam
hominum.” Paus., III.
The name of this historian, who
was a contemporary of Cicero, is
attached to several doubtful biogra-
phies relating chiefly to the great
men of Greece.
68 He could be emancipated only
by the state; as in Thucyd., W. 34.
Cf. Müller, Dor, Vol. II. pp. 43,64.
69 The famous, rather the in-

28. So the fearful story in Thu-
cyd., IV. 80. There were other
slaves in Greece, corresponding
to the Helots, from the earliest
times, such as the Mnoia of Crete,
the Thetes of Attica, the Gymnesii
of Argos, the Penesta of Thessaly,
70 Xen., Hell., III. 3. 6. Be-
tween the few and the many, as
Thucydides (IV. 126) describes the

« НазадПродовжити »