XVII. (110) I know also that combatants in the pancratium very often, out of the excess of their spirit of rivalry, and of their eagerness for victory, when their bodies are exhausted do you keep up their spirits, and strive with their soul alone, which they have accustomed to look contemptuously on danger, and thus they endure toil and pain to the very end of their life. (111) Shall we then fancy that those men who have practised themselves so as to arrive at vigour of body, have been able to trample on the fear of death, either through hope of victory or from the desire of escaping the sight of their own defeat; but those who train up in themselves the invisible mind, which is really and truly the man himself, bearing about him the appearance perceptible by the outward senses as his house, and who educate it by the principles and maxims of philosophy and the rules of virtue, will not be willing to die for the sake of freedom, in order to perform the journey appointed for them by fate with an indomitable and free spirit? (112) They say that on one occasion, at one of the sacred games, two athletes who were contending with one another with equally matched strength and courage, doing the same things to one another, and suffering the same things, did not desist from the contest till they both fell dead.

“My too brave son, thy courage will destroy Thee,”{14}{hom. Il. 6:409.}

some one may say with reference to such persons. (113) However is the death of such combatants glorious when it is encountered for the sake of some wild olives and parsley-leaves, and must it not be much more so when endured for the sake of freedom, the love of which, if one must tell the plain truth, is firmly established in the soul alone, as if it were some extraordinary portion of it firmly united with it, which if it were cut off the whole composition of the man must necessarily be destroyed? (114) The indomitable spirit of a Lacedaemonian boy, whether derived from his birth or from nature, is celebrated, in which nation they are accustomed to hunt carefully for the virtues; for when he had been carried off as a prisoner by some one of the soldiers of Antigonus, he submitted to whatever was put upon him which became a free man, but refused to submit to menial offices, saying that he was not going to be a slave; and yet by reason of his age he could not as yet have been thoroughly educated in the laws of Lycurgus, because he had only tasted them, but he judged a violent death preferable to the life which was before him, and, despairing of any deliverance, he cheerfully slew himself. (115) It is also related that some Dardanian women who had been taken prisoners by the Macedonians, looking upon slavery as the most disgraceful of all evils, threw their children, whom they were carrying in their bosoms, into the deepest part of the river, saying at the same time, “At all events you shall not be slaves, but, before you can begin to experience such a miserable life, you shall cut off all such necessity, and travel in freedom the inevitable and last road of human existence.” (116) Again, the tragedian, Euripides, introduces Polyxena disregarding death, and thinking only of freedom, on which account she speaks in the following manner: