Ὅσα δ’ ἄλλα πρὸς τούτῳ τολμήματα καὶ ῥήματα τῶν Σπαρτιατῶν παραλέλοιπεν*, ἐν τῷ Λεωνίδου βίῳ γραφήσεται. μικρὰ δ’ οὐ χεῖρόν ἐστι καὶ νῦν διελθεῖν. ἀγῶνα μὲν γὰρ ἐπιτάφιον αὐτῶν ἠγωνίσαντο πρὸ τῆς ἐξόδου καὶ τοῦτον ἐθεῶντο πατέρες αὐτῶν καὶ μητέρες· αὐτὸς δ’ ὁ Λεωνίδας πρὸς μὲν τὸν εἰπόντα παντελῶς ὀλίγους ἐξάγειν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὴν μάχην “πολλοὺς μὲν” ἔφη “τεθνηξομένους”· πρὸς δὲ τὴν γυναῖκα, πυνθανομένην ἐξιόντος εἴ τι λέγοι, μεταστραφεὶς εἶπεν “ἀγαθοῖς γαμεῖσθαι καὶ ἀγαθὰ τίκτειν.” ἐν δὲ Θερμοπύλαις μετὰ τὴν κύκλωσιν δύο τῶν ἀπὸ γένους ὑπεξελέσθαι βουλόμενος ἐπιστολὴν ἐδίδου τῷ ἑτέρῳ καὶ ἔπεμπεν· ὁ δ’ οὐκ ἐδέξατο φήσας μετ’ ὀργῆς “μαχατάς τοι, οὐκ ἀγγελιαφόρος, εἱπόμαν”· τὸν δ’ ἕτερον ἐκέλευεν εἰπεῖν τι πρὸς τὰ τέλη τῶν Σπαρτιατῶν ὁ δ’ ἀπεκρίνατο τῷ πράγματι, καὶ τὴν ἀσπίδα λαβὼν εἰς τάξιν κατέστη. ταῦτ’ οὐκ ἄν τις ἐπετίμησεν, ἄλλου παραλιπόντος; ὁ δὲ τὴν Ἀμάσιδος ἀποψόφησιν καὶ τὴν τῶν ὄνων τοῦ κλέπτου προσέλασιν καὶ τὴν τῶν ἀσκῶν ἐπίδοσιν καὶ πολλὰ τοιαῦτα συναγαγὼν καὶ διαμνημονεύων, οὐκ ἀμελείᾳ δόξειεν ἂν καὶ ὑπεροψίᾳ προΐεσθαι καλὰ μὲν ἔργα, καλὰς δὲ φωνὰς, ἀλλ’ οὐκ εὐμενὴς ὢν πρὸς ἐνίους, οὐδὲ δίκαιος.
* sc. Ἡρόδοτος
(Plutarch, Peri tēs Hērodotou kakoētheias 32)
What other acts and sayings of the Spartans Herodotus has omitted, we will write in the Life of Leonidas; yet that hinders not but we may here set down also some few. Before Leonidas went forth to that war, the Spartans exhibited to him funeral games, at which the fathers and mothers of those that went along with him were spectators. Leonidas himself, when one said to him, “You lead very few with you to the battle”, answered, “There are many to die there”. When his wife, at his departure, asked him what commands he had for her; he, turning to her, said, “I command you to marry good men, and bring them good children”. After he was enclosed by the enemy at Thermopylae, desiring to save two that were related to him, he gave one of them a letter and sent him away; but he rejected it, saying angrily, “I followed you as a soldier, not as a post”. The other he commanded on a message to the magistrates of Sparta; but he, answering by his act, took his shield, and stood up in his rank. Who would not have blamed another that should have omitted these things? But he who has collected and recorded the fart of Amasis, the coming of the thiefs asses, and the giving of bottles, and many such like things, cannot seem to have omitted these gallant acts and these remarkable sayings by negligence and oversight, but as bearing ill-will and being unjust to some. (tr. William W. Goodwin)