The Greek Warrior Spartans Essay

907 Words 4 Pages
The Greek Warrior Spartans

The Peloponnesian peninsula sits at the south west corner of Greece, poised like a soccer ball across a narrow peninsula at the foot of mainland Greece. In the easternmost corner of the Peloponnesus, at one time sat the region known as Laconia. The principal city of Laconia was Sparta. These Spartans or Lacedaemonians formed a unique society organized along communal and militaristic principles, a society that has been described by most historians as stagnant and has seldom evoked words of praise. One's first obligation as a Spartan was to the state, and one's noblest virtue was to lay down one's life for the state.

Approximately 600 years before Christ, Sparta was
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Made to endure the cold, naked or with minimal clothing, and fed only black broth and rough fare, Spartan boys were encouraged to steal food. The idea was resultant cleverness would help in foraging when, as soldiers, they later took part in warfare; while the self-denial imposed on the youth was designed to toughen bodies and make Spartans indifferent to hardship. The classic, but no doubt apocryphal story of this indifference to pain is the legend of the Spartan boy who had stolen a fox, which he concealed under his cloak. Rather than reveal his secret, so the story goes, the lad allowed the fox to gnaw into his stomach.

Literacy was not a part of Spartan education, for reading and writing played no role in a soldier's life. Nor were the arts a part of Spartan training. In fact, the arts--with the exception of martial music--unlike in neighboring Athens, were considered a positive hindrance to the development of military virtues. What was valued was silence, stoicism in the face of suffering, and speaking briefly and to the point; hence, even today we call a terse individual "laconic," in reference to the Spartan state of Laconia.

At age 20, Spartan boys became warriors or what the Spartans called hoplites. A hoplite was somewhat comparable to the Medieval knight in that his equipment was expensive, though in the case of the hoplite it did not

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