Paidika

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Περὶ τῶν ἐν Λακεδαίμονι ἐφόρων πολλὰ μὲν καὶ ἄλλα εἰπεῖν καλὰ ἔχω, ἃ δ᾽ οὖν προῄρημαι, ταῦτα νῦν ἐρῶ. ὅτε τις τῶν παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς καλῶν πλούσιον ἐραστὴν εἵλετο τοῦ χρηστοῦ πένητος, ἐπέβαλον αὐτῷ χρήματα, κολάζοντες ὡς ἔοικε τὴν φιλοχρηματίαν τῇ τῶν χρημάτων ζημίᾳ. ἄλλον δέ τινα ἄνδρα καλὸν κἀγαθὸν οὐδενὸς ἐρῶντα τῶν καλῶς πεφυκότων καὶ τοῦτον ἐζημίωσαν, ὅτι χρηστὸς ὢν οὐδενὸς ἤρα· δῆλον γὰρ ὡς ὅμοιον ἂν ἑαυτῷ κἀκεῖνον ἀπέφηνεν, ἴσως δ᾽ ἂν καὶ ἄλλον. δεινὴ γὰρ ἡ τῶν ἐραστῶν πρὸς τὰ παιδικὰ εὔνοια ἀρετὰς ἐνεργάσασθαι, ὅταν αὐτοὶ σεμνοὶ ὦσιν· ἐπεί τοι Λακωνικὸς καὶ οὗτος νόμος, ὅταν ἁμάρτῃ μειράκιον, τῇ μὲν ἀφελείᾳ τοῦ τρόπου καὶ τῷ νεαρῷ τῆς ἡλικίας συγγινώσκουσι, τὸν δὲ ἐραστὴν ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ κολάζουσιν, ἐπιγνώμονας αὐτοὺς καὶ ἐξεταστὰς ὧν ἐκεῖνοι πράττουσι κελεύοντες εἶναι.
(Aelian, Var. Hist. 3.10)

Though I have many other good things to report of the Spartan ephors, there is one I have chosen to mention now. When one of the handsome young men in their society chose a rich lover in preference to one who was poor but of good character, they imposed a fine, punishing, it would seem, the desire for possessions by a monetary penalty. And any man of good appearance and character who did not fall in love with someone well-bred was also fined, because despite his excellence he did not love anyone. It was clear that he could have made his beloved, and perhaps even another man, similar to himself. Lovers’ affections for their beloved has a remarkable power of stimulating the virtues, if the former are themselves worthy of respect. In fact there is also a Spartan law, that when a young man commits a misdemeanour, the ephors are indulgent to a naive character and to the inexperience of youth, but they punish his lover instead, because they require lovers to watch and control what the young do. (tr. Nigel G. Wilson)

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