“Learn to love death's ink-black shadow as much as you love the light of dawn.” This is a quote taken from ancient Spartan society that was said to the young men who were in the process of becoming soldiers. While Sparta is most popularly known as a warrior society, it had many other characteristics that made it revered. No other civilization during the Classical Era can be compared to that of Sparta. Sparta’s legendary warriors, women, and politics made it a true iconic civilization during that time period.
Of course, the main topic for discussion is that of the men and soldiers. From the moment of a Spartan girl or a boy came into the world, the military and the city state were the center of every Spartan citizen’s life. Male babies were determined by city state if they were strong enough to be Spartan citizens. If the infants didn’t fit the criterion, they were abandoned in the country side to die. This may seem very draconian, but it was a very common thing in the Greek world because Sparta made it an official government policy. When a male Spartan was at the age of seven, he was taken from his mother and sent to live in special military barracks for twenty three years. In these living quarters they were taught discipline, athletics, survival skills, hunting, weapons training and how to endure the pain. At the age of twenty in the barracks, the male Spartans become soldiers for the state. The life of a Spartan soldier was with his soldiers. He ate, slept and trained with them; they never allowed each other to veer off track during their grueling tasks. They were allowed to marry, but couldn’t live with their wives. Only equals were allowed to live with their wives and children. Equals were the soldiers who reached thirtieth age, but if any soldier who disgraced himself in any way was risked not becoming an equal. They were granted rights and allowed to participate in politics. However equals were still soldiers. Military service was required until...
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