Sparta: Uncultured Discipline
The Spartans were the most formidable warriors in all of history. They
dedicated their entire lives to warfare. They were taught to endure cold, hunger,
pain, their courage on the battlefield was second to none. The Spartan code was
to fight hard, follow orders without question and to die rather then retreat or
surrender. To achieve all this, Sparta sacrificed everything; the arts, culture,
and other things that make life worth while. I believe the price was to high
they went to far and shut off all that was creative and human in Sparta. A
culture that can't change or adapt doesn't survive. This is exactly what
happened , after a single major defeat in 360 B.C Sparta was no longer a
significant factor in the region (Isaac Asimov, 1965, p. 178).
The original founders of "modern" Sparta were the Dorians. At around
1100 B.C these savages came from the north into what is today Greece. They
attacked the Mycenean civilization thriving there and quickly defeated them. The
secret behind the remarkable victories against the Myceneans was iron, the
Dorians knew how to forge iron weapons which completely outclassed the bronze
weaponry of the Myceneans (Carl Roebuck, 1966, p. 119).
In Mycenean times Sparta had been a important city, but after Dorian
conquest it sank to insignificance. Over the next three hundred years it
recovered and began to prosper. By 800 B.C it ruled over the region called
Up to about 650 B.C Sparta was pretty much like every other Greek state.
They had music, art and poetry. During the seventh century, a musician named
Terpander came to Sparta and established himself their. He is called the "father
of Greek music," he's also supposed to off improved the lyre (a harp like
instrument). The most widely known Spartan musician was Tyrtaeus. He lived
during the Second Messenian War and his music inspired many Spartan soldiers to
new heights of bravery (Isaac Asimov, 1965, p. 53).
But then something happened, a war with the Messinians. The First
Messenian War broke out in 730 B.C, when the Spartans marched into Messenia
eager for more land. After 20 long years of war the Messenians were forced to
surrender. They were made into helots (slave/workers with no rights) and
ruthlessly oppressed. In 685 B.C they rose in revolt, it took 17 years of brutal
fighting they were finally put down (Isaac Asimov, 1965, p. 50).
These wars were the turning point of Spartan history, nearly half a
century of conflict had made the Spartans very warlike. It seemed to them if
they ever relaxed their guard even a bit, the helots would rise again.
The Spartans went to excessively great extremes in order to make sure
this wouldn't happen. At age seven a boy would be taken from his family and...