This isn’t a hippie commune. This isn’t a kindergarten classroom. This is SPARTA. Know the difference – or you might find yourself on the wrong end of a highly-sharpened spear…
Sparta was legendary for its warrior culture. All Greek city-states trained their citizens to be soldiers, but Sparta’s techniques were the most intense, like a military academy on steroids (Also, Spartans probably would have loved modern steroids). In Spartan education, boys were taken from their parents at age 7 and sent to live in soldier barracks. Girls were also trained to fight, though they lived at home, and their schooling was somewhat less harsh. Younger kids were beaten up by older kids to make them stronger, and all children were often whipped in front of groups, including their parents, but they were not permitted to cry out in pain. Children were provided with very little food and, instead, were encouraged to steal. However, if they were caught, the kids would still be beaten, thus encouraging them to become cunning liars and thieves. This, ladies and gentlemen, was a day in the life of the Spartan educational system.
As an adult warrior, a Spartan’s primary concern was to be a good soldier. Spartans used very similar armor and battle equipment to other Greek hoplites. Distinctive features of the Spartan warrior included their crimson cloak and tunic and their long hair, worn this way to reflect the Archaic symbol of a free man. Spartans were also hyper-obsessed with their shields, which were often marked with the letter lambda for “Laconia,” the region Sparta was located in. If a Spartan lost a sword or spear, he was likely to get a “meh” reaction, but if he lost a shield, it was a sign of a deserter, which made the man an utter disgrace and meant he was no longer invited to regional Risk tournaments.
In the Archaic era, Spartan soldiers wore flanged bronze cuirasses, greaves, and helmets, usually in the Corinthian style. Historians speculate that during the Persian Wars Spartans either wore sculpted bronze armor or the linothorax, a body armor composed of metal and linen. Spartan officers were also depicted wearing a horsehair crest on their helmets, their plumage making them the direct predecessors of Vegas showgirls.
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