Who Was Lycurgus?

AS we begin to see definitely through the mists of Greek history, we find Sparta well established about the year 800 B.C. as the foremost state of Greece. Her power was largely due to the remarkable social organization which had been established by her celebrated law-giver Lycurgus. This noted ruler was, even more positively than Homer, an actual individual. He was a member of the royal house of Sparta in a time of tumult and civil war. His father and elder brother were both slain, and as the only surviving member of his race Lycurgus seized the throne, but when a boy was born to his brother's widow he resigned in the child's favor. Being accused of seeking to slay the infant, he withdrew into voluntary exile and spent years travelling in other countries seeking to learn by what laws they evaded the tumults which distracted his own land.

Returning at length when his nephew Charilaus was grown, Lycurgus found the disorder as wild as ever, so he persuaded the chief men to unite with him in seizing the power. He was made joint king with Charilaus and at once instituted the remarkable system of laws he had planned. So successfully did these pacify the state that the people hailed him as a god. Lycurgus then prepared to start on another journey and pledged all the people to uphold his laws till he returned. Then he left Sparta and never returned, so as thus to bind them forever to his laws.

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Read about Who Was Lycurgus? in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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