OLIGARCHY AND DEMOCRACY.
THE position and influence of Sparta had received from of old an acceptance in Hellas which was due to recognition of her stability and vastly predominant power. The basis of these was secured by conditions of social organisation that could not be adopted elsewhere, as indeed no other state of Hellas would under any inducement have consented to submit to 1them, and then by some special if accidental advantages. Among the latter geographical position is pre-eminent; the southernmost of the Greek states, Lacedaemon, was guarded by an extended but most inhospitable seaboard, which nowhere afforded easy access to the interior, and even least of all at the entrance to her chief valley at the embouchure of the Eurotas. The steep mountain ranges of Parnon and Taygetus fence this valley on either side, and are prolonged like bastions in rocky promontories. Inland again to the north, the frontier towards Arcadia and Argos was peculiarly defensible, especially after it was contracted by the conquest of the district Cynuria to the east of Parnon. Under these circumstances the dispensing with walls to Sparta,--which was seated moreover in a carefully selected strong position,-- was in truth a matter less of bravado than of brag.____________________