Sparta - A Most Dominant Military Force

Sparta - A Most Dominant Military Force

Sparta was a small city in the rocky mountains of southern Greece that possessed the most feared military in the ancient world. Due to grueling training that began at birth, Spartan soldiers were so hardened that they never lost a battle during the bloody conflicts that raged almost non-stop between the small city-states of Ancient Greece. To build this seemingly invincible army, every newborn baby was first tested by elders for weakness and deformity. If a baby gave even the slightest hint that it would not become a strong soldier, it was disregarded and tossed into a gorge. For those who passed, the training was brutal and relentless. The Greek historian Plutarch wrote that marching off to battle was a relief for many Spartan soldiers: "For the Spartans, actual war was a holiday compared to their tough training".

The history of ancient Greece was dominated by the rivalry between militaristic Sparta and its neighbor Athens. In contrast to Sparta, Athens was the birthplace of democracy and was a much less rigid society. While there was little time for culture in Sparta, Athens housed some of the most extraordinary accomplishments of philosophy, art, and science in the history of mankind. During the city's golden age in the 5th century BC, Athens gave birth to such playwrights as Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides, and Sophocles, and scientists such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato.

Although Athens and Sparta joined forces on a couple occasions to defeat two attempted Persian invasions, they spent most of their time battling for the leadership of the Hellenic world. The cities fought repeatedly between about 550-350 BC, and it was always a clash of civilizations in the most complete sense. While the hardened Spartan soldiers held the advantage on land, Athens made up for it with it's sea force. But the rivalry suddenly ended when Philip of Macedonia invaded from the north. Athens and Sparta was swallowed up into the empire that Philip and his son, Alexander the Great, built up over much of Greece and Asia.

Interesting facts:

  1. Sparta was the capitol of the Greek region Laconia. The word Laconic in modern English comes from the taciturn attitude of toughened Spartan soldiers.
  2. Spartan boys competed to see how much whipping they could endure as a testament to their toughness.
  3. Many of the famous buildings in Athens, like the Parthenon, were constructed during the city's golden age in the 5th century BC.

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kool 5 years ago


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Barnsey 4 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

When you say they were swallowed up, what happened to them? Were they killed or absorbed into a general populace? Just curious, great hub!

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