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What Did the Upbringing of Spartan Males Involve and why was this so?

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Introduction

What Did the Upbringing of Spartan Males Involve and why was this so? The Spartans of Ancient Greece had a great army, made up of elite soldiers. Each soldier was trained to perfection so that his performance in battle was optimum. Before a Spartan joined the army, which was compulsory and only open to males, he would under go a tough and intensive physical training that would abolish his fears and create perfect warriors. The Spartans wanted an unbeatable fighting force to protect themselves from foreign invaders and to have the ability to crush any attempt of rebellion by the Spartan slaves, more commonly referred to as the "Helots" When any Spartan child was born they were assessed to see whether it was fit and healthy or weak and feeble. If the child was perceived to be unfit for a Spartan lifestyle they were taken to Mount Taygete, which was just outside of Sparta, and left on the mountain side to die of exposure. Spartan government only wanted the fittest and best children to ensure that Sparta was a very strong and able state, full of the best citizens. Spartan males who survived this merciless test were left to live at home with their mothers until the age of seven. ...read more.

Middle

To give the young Spartans something to aspire to, the "teachers" would tell the boys tales and sing songs and poems of war heroes and of men who showed great courage in battle. This made the young Spartans want to emulate the heroes, similar to how a modern child might wish to someday be as talented as his favourite football player. As the young Spartans were not given much food, they were encouraged to steal in order to fulfil the dietary needs. If one of the boys was caught they would be punished. They would be punished not for stealing, but for being caught and not being careful enough to avoid capture. A story was told to the boys about a student who stole a young fox from a local farm. He was caught and instead of allowing himself to be shamed by his failure, he put the fox into his tunic and allowed it to eat through his stomach, therefore killing himself. During these teenage years each boy was under supervision of a guardian, who was often a citizen with a high status. These guardians were known as paidonomos. He would sometimes be assisted by a teen aged nineteen or twenty. This is similar to a modern teacher's assistant who has just left sixth form. ...read more.

Conclusion

The men could still be called for military service on the front line. Also they could take part in councils. The Spartan name for the way of life or constitution was eunomia. Every Spartan had to live by the constitution. The idea was that if every Spartan lived by the same set of rules nobody would break them and order would be kept, therefore the only kind of uprising the Spartan government would have to worry itself about would be one conducted by the slaves, also known as the Helots. The Spartans had a foreign policy. They used their army primarily to defend themselves but would always offer help when it was needed to help defend Greece. For example at the battle of Thermopylae, three hundred Spartans under the command of Leonidas sacrificed themselves to help defend Greece. In conclusion, the system used for the upbringing of Spartan males involved carefully designed education and tests of physical and mental strength. The upbringing was designed so that only the strongest and best survived. The Spartan boys endured hardships like no other ancient Greek state. The main reason for this upbringing was to create and maintain the most successful army capable of withstanding any rebellion attempted by the helots. The Spartan fear of rebellion by the Helots, previously attempted and only just defeated, ensured that the system of upbringing was kept the centre of Spartan life. Word Count = 1362 ...read more.

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