• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Spartan Army’s Code of Honour

Extracts from this document...


THE SPARTAN ARMY'S CODE OF HONOUR The Spartan army comprised possibly the most formidable force in the World. Their entire lifestyle was focused on military training and war. A few hundred Spartan men could take out a few thousand of the enemy; such was their amazing battlefield warfare. However, the Spartans had a gruelling heroic code, where by no Spartan was to return home if he lost a battle. This was regarded as the highest shame, and Spartan citizenship was taken away to those who returned. This dishonour was unthinkable. To be stripped of your citizenship was like having an armed ripped off for a Spartan warrior. I am going to look at two examples where the Spartan code of honour did and didn't work. The two battles in particular are two very famous ones, the battle of Thermopylae and the battle of Pylos. The Greek Allies were against the Persians at this time due to the Persian's always attempting to invade parts of the Peloponnese. Before now, the Spartan's had always had a reason as to why they would not help stop the Persians, but this time they were ready to fight. King Xerxes marched his 250,000 men from Persia to the mountain paths of Thermopylae, an arduous journey than spanned thousands of miles and took months. They were on their way to meet the Greek force of 7000 men, 300 of which were Spartans, all of whom being led by King Leonidas. ...read more.


When Athens started mistreating its power, Sparta and the rest of the league had to stop them trying to take over Pylos. Soon came the Peloponnesian war, within which the battle of Pylos took place. Thucydidies says this about the Peloponnesian War: "Athens were swift to take action, innovative and creative, daring and impulsive, always abroad, optimistic and confidant. Sparta were slow to take action, lacking in initiative, cautious and conservative, parochial, pessimistic." The Spartans therefore planned a decisive land battle of Attica, with an annual land invasion to avoid naval engagement. This was due to their inadequacies of their navy. Limited financial resources stopped Sparta from installing a mighty naval force. MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A MAP A Map A: An overview of Athens, Pylos and Sparta The battle in question is that of Pylos, fought in 425 BC. Also known as the Athenian seizure of Pylos and Sphacteria, the battle saw the Athenians attempt to invade Pylos and Sphacteria, two close together islands. ...read more.


AND MAP C MAP B AND MAP C MAP B AND MAP C MAP B AND MAP C MAP B AND MAP C Two examples of the Spartan fighting methods, two different outcomes. Those who died at Thermopylae would have gone down in history as brave men, who showed complete honour and dignity, dying in fervour for their motherland. However, under normal circumstances, those who surrendered at Pylos would have gone back to Sparta only to have their citizenship rebuked. But, the state of the Spartan army without the men who fought at Pylos would've been quite catastrophic, and the numbers would have decreased enormously, so their citizenship was not taken away. They would become outcasts and their shame would be cast upon their families. Was this ridiculous code fair? Surely, if a man had no way out and had to surrender then he should be able to, keeping his life yet not losing his honour. Evidentially, this was not the case for the most formidable fighting force in the world. For Sparta, it was win or die. Were there any alternatives for the Pylos soldiers though? Should they have let themselves die in zest for their country, or did they do the right thing, saving themselves so that they could see their loved ones just once more. All that can be said is that due to the arduous code of honour the Spartans austerely enforced, they wiped themselves out. However, this did not happen till later on in history. Adam Sopp UVC 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Classics essays

  1. Science case study

    My first two points could be considered as scientific facts as these points were results from a scientific study. On the other hand my third point could be regarded as an opinion as it is an opinion of a professional scientist.

  2. The Spartans.

    Sparta was not built around a high and defensible hill or citadel, as most Greek cities were; and the Spartans never built walls around their city, as the Athenians had done, for example. The reasoning for this was the fact the Spartans would have originally have relied on their natural surroundings.

  1. what was the purpose of hadrians wall.

    was because there are no ready supplies of stone or lime near to hand along the western stretch, and at a later date it was decided to replace this with a regular stone wall. An alternative suggestion is that the turf-wall was temporarily substituted in order to speedily complete the

  2. Assess the role of Themistocles in the Greek defeat of the Persians in 480 ...

    Bradley explains how all disputes between Greek states were cease, envoys were sent to Argos, Crete, Syracuse and Corcyra with invitations to join the Panhellenic League and spies were sent to Asia to estimate the strength of Xerxes forces. Bradley also states that "The League lacked unity from the start"

  1. Describe the organisation and events of the Great Dionysia festival at Athens. To what ...

    miserly and not spend much by using second hand costumes, or by hiring a not-so-good chorus trainer. Originally the state had no say in which actors the playwright chose, but as more rules, and prizes for the actors, were introduced, the three actors were picked by the state and allocated to each playwright by lot.

  2. What was life like in the Roman Army and what made them successful?

    were five equestrian tribuni angusticlavii and one senatorial tribunus laticlavius, named thin - or broad striped after the purple lines on their tunics that indicated their social status. Some tribuni served only six month tours rather than the more usual 1-3 years.

  1. Who made the greatest contribution to the Athenian Constitution?

    I also introduced the concept of right of appeal within courts - although lawsuits were still decided by the archons, citizens could appeal to a jury, which was made up of members of the Assembly, in case they felt a decision to a be unfair.

  2. Pericles and Athens in the 5th century BC

    The establishment of cleruchies and garrisons in allied states ensured continued Athenian control over the League members, which maintained Pericles? power and influence as a military leader. Pericles increased his power and influence as a military leader in 446 BC with the introduction of The Chalcis decree.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work