Key to Extra Reading: Units 21 - 24

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Extra Reading
Key 16-20

Extra Reading
Unit 21-24

1. Knowing well that you are mortal, exalt your heart, delighting in festivities; you have no enjoyment when you are dead. For I, [though I was] king of mighty Nineveh, am [mere] dust. I have [only] all that I ate and drank, and [all] the delights [which] I learned with the Loves (poets sometimes considered that there was a multiplicity of love gods); but all the many rich possessions (lit. all the many and rich [things]) have been left behind. (Preserved in Diodorus Siculus 2.23.3; cf. Athenaeus 336a)

2. Life is just like dice.

3. However, I want to explain also the education system both of the other Greeks and in particular of the Spartans. Among (lit. of) the other [Greeks] then those who claim to educate their sons best immediately appoint servants [as] tutors over them, as soon as their children understand what is said [sc. to them], and immediately send them to schools to learn letters, music and the skills of (lit. things in) the palaestra. In addition to this they make their children's feet delicate with (lit. in) sandals, and pamper their bodies with changes of clothes; and as for food for them, they consider their stomach [to be the] measure (i.e. they let them eat as much as they want.). But Lycurgus, instead of [allowing] each man (or father) privately to appoint slaves [as] tutors, appointed from among those from whom the greatest offices are filled a man to be their master, who indeed is actually called Director of Education, and gave this man the authority (lit. made him authorised) both to gather the boys together and to observe them and severely punish anyone who committed misconduct. He also gave him whip-bearers from among the youths, in order that they might inflict punishment whenever it was necessary, with the result that much respect and much obedience exist together (sc. in the children). Instead of making their feet delicate with sandals he instructed [them] to strengthen [their feet] by going barefooted, thinking that, if they adopted this practice (lit. practised this thing), they would much more easily go forth uphill, and more safely go downhill, and would also leap and jump up and run more quickly. And instead of being pampered with [changes of] clothing he enacted that [they should] accustom themselves to one garment throughout the year, considering that thus they would be better prepared to face (lit. towards) periods of both cold and heat. As to food, he advised [them] to have [only] so much that they would never be weighed down by repletion and would not be without the experience of living without a proper sufficiency (lit. in a rather insufficient way), believing that those who were brought up in this way would be better able, if necessary, to labour on without food, would be better [able], if the order were given, to hold out for a longer time from the same [amount of] food, would be in less need of delicacies, would be more indifferent to (or tolerant of) any [type of] food, and would also live more healthily. But on the other hand in order that they might not be too oppressed by hunger, whereas he did not give them [the opportunity] to take whatever they still wanted without trouble, he did allow [them] to steal some things to remedy (lit. remedying) their hunger. I do not think that anyone is unaware that [it was] not [because] he was (lit. being) at a loss as to what he was to give them [that] he allowed them to procure their own food; [it is] clear that the man who intends to steal must both stay awake at night and deceive and lie in ambush by day, and that the man who intends to catch something [must] also get spies ready. But someone may say, 'Why then, if he thought stealing [was] a fine thing, did he impose [a punishment of] many lashes on the [boy] who was caught?' Because, I say, as regards all other things which men teach, they punish the person who does not do them properly. And so they (sc. the Spartans) too punish those who are caught for (lit. as) stealing badly.

(Xenophon Constitution of the Spartans 2.1-8 (with omissions))
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(c) Gavin Betts, Alan Henry 2001