Spartan if

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Myths and legends of the market
The JC’s guide to the foundational mythology of the markets.™

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The etymological history of the word “laconic”: named after Laconia, the Greek region including Sparta, whose inhabitants had a way with verbal brevity we could all learn from.

So, when Macedonian warrior king Philip II was expanding his territory across the Peleponnese, he sent an emissary to Sparta with this message:

“Should I come as friend or foe?”

The Spartans answered:


Not being thrilled by this response, Philip massed his armies on the border and sent the Spartans another message:

“Now, look: if I win this war, you will be slaves forever. You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my armies into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people and level your city.”

The Spartan reply was truly laconic:


Philip thought the better of it.

See also