LAWS OF LYCURGUS
THE Spartan girls, who were brought up by the women, were,
like the boys, taught to wrestle, run, and swim, and to
take part in gymnastics of all kinds, until they too
became very strong and supple, and could stand almost
A Dancing Girl.
They were also taught to read, write, count, sing,
play, and dance; to spin, weave, and dye; and to do all
kinds of woman's work. In short, they were expected to
be strong, intelligent, and capable, so that when they
married they might help their husbands, and bring up
their children sensibly. At some public festivals the
girls strove with one another in various games, which
were witnessed only by their fathers and mothers and
the other married people of the city. The winners in
these contests were given beautiful prizes, which were
 Lycurgus hoped to make the Spartans a strong and good
people. To hinder the kings from doing anything wrong,
he had the people choose five men, called ephors, to
watch over and to advise them.
Then, knowing that great wealth is not desirable,
Lycurgus said that the Spartans should use only iron
money. All the Spartan coins were therefore bars of
iron, so heavy that a yoke of oxen and a strong cart
were needed to carry a sum equal to one hundred dollars
from one spot to another. Money was so bulky that it
could neither be hidden nor stolen; and no one cared to
make a fortune, since it required a large space to stow
away even a small sum.
When Charilaus, the infant king, had grown up, Lycurgus
prepared to go away. Before he left the town, he
called all the citizens together, reminded them of all
he had done to make them a great people, and ended by
asking every man present to swear to obey the laws
until he came back.
The Spartans were very grateful for all he had done for
them, so they gladly took this oath, and Lycurgus left
the place. Some time after, he came back to Greece;
but, hearing that the Spartans were thriving under the
rules he had laid down, he made up his mind never to
visit Sparta again.
It was thus that the Spartans found themselves bound by
solemn oath to obey Lycurgus' laws forever; and as long
as they remembered this promise, they were a thriving
and happy people.