The importance of the army in Spartan society:
The entire Spartan society revolved around the army, essentially making it the key aspect of Spartan life and culture. The army influenced areas such as education and social structure as well as being the most important defence of Sparta in both combat and reputation. After an embarrassing defeat at the battle of Hysiai Sparta went through great military change, these changes dramatically changed all other areas of Spartan life, turning Sparta into a military focused state. This militaristic influence impacted greatly on Spartan education, essentially aiming to mass produce the perfect solider. The education and training of Spartan boys aged as young as 7 in the agoge became the crucial step in preparing and training the fierce Spartan hoplites, causing education to be focused on practical subjects rather than knowledgeable studies such as mathematics or philosophy, Plutarch tells us ‘Spartans learned only enough to serve their needs’ thus showing the army’s influence on education. However the agoge was not the first step in selecting boys to become fierce warriors, these boys were in fact selected at birth by the Spartan elders, their future as a Spartan solider already planned from their day of birth. Babies found unfitting or with impurities were exposed to the elements on mount tagetus and left to die. This shows the high importance of the army and the control and the control it had over the spartiates life from their day of birth. The influence of the army over the social structure also allows us to see its high importance within Sparta. Spartan society was designed to allow spartiate men the needed for military training and time away with the army. The Spartans enslaved the helots in order to provide food and agricultural labour for these men freeing them of menial chores they might otherwise have to fulfil, providing the time for ever needed training, drills and exercise required by them. Perioikoi were...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document