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Why Did Sparta Have No Need For Walls?

908 words - 4 pages

During the 10th century BC, the Spartans settled Laconia. Instead of establishing colonies like other Greek city-states, the Spartans conquered neighboring Messenia. They subjugated the population of Messenia and called them the Helots. This led to a Helot revolt which took Sparta twenty years to put down. Therefore, a military state was formed following the laws of Lycurgus. Sparta was a unique city-state because it did not have any walls. The Spartan’s strong army and warrior society removed the need for a wall.
The citizens of Sparta were very different than those of a non-military state. Women in Sparta produced vigorous children and were treated with respect by men. When Spartan women were children, they were required to exercise with the boys and attend frequent athletic competitions to bear healthier children. This was based on the philosophy that if both parents were strong, then a child born to them would be stronger. Spartan women during this time were given more status and freedom than women of other city-states. The women’s husband worked as a professional soldier. Men lived in barracks according to division and company. They slept on pallets which consisted of the tops of reeds which grew on the banks of the river. Only one garment was worn for the entire year and men were not allowed to bathe. They lived in the barracks with occasional overnight leaves for wedding night and conceiving children. The men visited their wives briefly before returning to the barracks to sleep. The boys that the men conceived were under strict discipline. Infants were examined by a committee of inspectors and if they were considered weak or deformed, they were thrown off a cliff. At age seven, they began their training. From age thirteen to age twenty, they went through a series of harsh discipline and training. Boys were taught to steal firewood and vegetables from private gardens, but if they were caught they received a beating and were deprived of the evening’s food. This gave them the ability to go without food and be daring. These citizens lived a very different way of life than other Greek city-states.
The Spartans lived a very unique lifestyle. Tutors were appointed by the government to teach young boys. The teachers taught the Laconian habit of speech which was a short and succinct way of expressing thoughts. Young boys were also taught to read and write for practical reasons and emphasis was directed toward obedience and respect to authority and sturdy endurance of hardship. These boys were also taught the idea of victory or death in battle. A Spartan woman once said that her son had better not return alive without his shield. Songs were another form of...

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