Sparta, a city in Southern Greece, was a militarist state, whose territory included all Laconia and Messenia, and was the most powerful state in Peloponnesus. Having the army to conquer and then command such a vast range of land must be put down to the high skill and tactical minds of the army. If it were not for their formidable attacking and defensive capabilities, which they had trained for so many years to perfect, Sparta would not have been the power we know it once was. Source 1 depicts a Spartan soldier travelling. It unclear what his purpose is however. The pottery has been dated to around 490bc, which is the time Sparta was becoming a true force in the world.
The Spartans were some of the bravest warriors in the world. As Source 2 states, one on one they were in the elite category of soldiers. However, when they were banded together they were the best force in all the world. Written by Xenophon, himself a warrior, albeit not for Sparta, one would surmise that this is a valid interpretation for it is not written from within the Spartan regime.
One of the biggest problems facing the Spartan army lay in the fact that each soldier was trained so well that the Spartan army practically consisted only of trained men, leaving them without a commanding officer. Yet, the average soldier was so well drilled and trained that he knew as much about warfare as an officer would have. Such an organisation does not always give the best results on the battlefield. An example of this is the Battle of Plataea (479 B.C.) where the Spartan commander refused to follow the order of the Spartan king, Pausanias, to retreat. At the Battle of Mantineia (362 B.C.), the ptolemarchs at the right wing ignored the orders of the king, as they wanted to win the battle in their own way.
Essentially, a normal Spartan was a warrior, trained to obey and endure. At the age of twenty, the Spartan began his military service and his membership in one of...