Why Was The Spartan Army So Successful?

Why Was The Spartan Army So Successful?

Conny Waters – Icestech.info – Sparta was famous for being a city-state that valued discipline. The state’s citizens were expected to be loyal and contribute to Sparta’s prosperity. Located in a valley on the banks of the Eurotas River in the southeastern portion of Greece, it was surrounded by several enemies.

Why Was The Spartan Army So Successful?

Credit: Adobe Stock – Stanislav

Foreigners were allowed to live in Sparta, but they had no rights as citizens and could be expelled anytime for any reason.

It’s also no coincidence that Spartan warriors were exceptionally skilled, and the army was victorious. Military training and education were mandatory for young boys.

What Was Daily Life For Spartan Warriors?

Ancient records reveal warriors of Sparta had to follow strict rules. Young men trained to become warriors had limited rights to move around freely.

From the age of 7, when military training started, boys and men had to live in confined military barracks until they were 30 years. Leaving those houses was not permitted, not even when the men married. There was not much room for private life.

An image drawn in pencil of a Spartan Warrior. Image credit: SAWg3rd - CC0 1.0

An image drawn in pencil of a Spartan Warrior. Image credit: SAWg3rd – CC0 1.0

These restrictions occasionally led to those men sneaking out late in the evening to meet their wives.

In Sparta, only the strongest survived. As previously 

mentioned in Ancient Pages, “one of the harshest facts to come out about this way of living was that the older citizens of Sparta would kill those boys who could not be trained due to a disability.

The boys were thrown into a pit by the elders, who judged the physical ability of each boy in question.  Not all were condemned to death, just the weakest ones.”

Spartan warriors were somewhat vain. They often wore long hair and styled it before a battle. The goal was to look as fearsome as possible, but an attractive physical appearance was never wrong. A real warrior never wore any clothes except for the red cape.

Also, a Spartan warrior could not expect to enjoy too much delicious food. Nothing was more ridiculous than a fat warrior. Spartan warriors were expected to be athletic and fit.

Sparta And Legendary King Leonidas: The Heroes Of Thermopylae

Left: The Spartan army was an infantry-based army that fought using the phalanx formation. Credit: Public Domain – Right: Statue of King Leonidas. Credit: Public Domain

The worst sin a Spartan warrior could commit was capitulation. When raising their sons, mothers always told them they should return as soldiers or dead in a battle. The die-or-win mentality was typical among warriors of the ancient world. Viking 

warriors’ highest goal was to die courage in battle. Only such honorable death could guarantee a Viking entrance to Valhalla, where the great Norse God Odin resided.

The Spartan King Leonidas received superior military training, which prepared him unknowingly for future events. He may not have succeeded in winning an impossible war, but he and his 1,000 men died heroically defending the land that they loved.

It cannot be denied that Spartan warriors were skilled, effective, and courageous, but all their accomplishments were achieved through hard military training that started at a young age.

 Written by Conny Waters – Icestech.info Staff Writer

Updated on October 30, 2022

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Expand for references

Patrick Auerbach – Spartans: The True and Brutal Story Of How The Spartans Become The Strongest Warriors In History

Duncan B Campbell – Spartan Warrior 735–331 BC

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