The Glory That Was Greece

zenith of his power, Lysander. As Sparta had now inherited a maritime empire, and as she was unable and unwilling to embark definitely upon a naval career, it became necessary to organise a system of garrisons and governors in every city under her sway. This work of organisation fell to Lysander—the nearest equivalent to a Cæsar that Greece ever produced. The Spartan empire, such as it was, was Lysander’s handiwork. Of course every state that came into Spartan hands was forcibly converted to oligarchy. This has often been represented as another example of Sparta’s tyranny. But a survey of Greece will soon convince us that oligarchy, and not democracy, is the normal condition of the Greek polis; and, in fact, with a few rare exceptions, it is only Athens and the states directly under her influence which are democracies. But Lysander was corrupt, and he entrusted the government in each town to a group of local aristocrats who had won or purchased his interest.

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