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Download e-book for kindle: Documents of the Communist movement in India Vol.17 by Jyoti Basu, chief ed. ....

By Jyoti Basu, chief ed. ....

ISBN-10: 8176260231

ISBN-13: 9788176260237

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In Sparta, as elsewhere for that matter, deformed or feeble children were exposed at birth. It is uncertain how reliable may be stories that infant toughness was tested by means of baths in wine or icy water, but it is perhaps true that the decision to rear or destroy a child lay not with the father but with the elders of his tribe. At the age, probably, of seven the boy who had survived these hazards entered a 'herd' or agela, under the supervision of -5- an older boy (with the right to beat his juniors) and ultimately of a magistrate, the paedonomus, but also of any citizen who happened to be present.

This is the traditional language of the poets about Sparta, with a new contrast implied. Another fragment of Ion's contrasts Asian luxury with Peloponnesian simplicity. The other side of the coin can be seen elsewhere in tragedy. Sophocles, perhaps in the 440s, made Menelaus in his Ajax into an arrogant bully with no regard for allies or those who do not fight as hoplites and a belief that fear is essential both to the preservation of the laws in a city and to prudent discipline in a camp. 2 The city where one can 'do what one wants' is doomed to disaster.

1 The contrast of Athens and Sparta has not been finished in Book I. Thucydides allows Pericles, in the famous Funeral Oration, to redress the balance drawn up by Archidamus. Once again an implied contrast gives depth to the patriotic claims. If Pericles really spoke in similar terms, he must have had an eye on Athenian laconizers. One may notice in this connection the insistence that Athens has not copied her politeia from any other source, and compare Euripides' objection to those who praise other cities excessively.

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