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62

SHORT ANSWER Most battles were short and thus the shield did not have to be held for long in combat. Also, Spartans who survived the training which began in early childhood were extremely tough both physically and mentally. Lastly, most historians of ancient Greek warfare have estimated that the shield used in classical times weighed between 13.5 lbs / 6.12 ...


51

Lars' answer has addressed the fact that the shields (know as a hoplon) often didn't need to be held for long; I'd like to address the actual mechanics. Image showing the shield held close in to the body, with straps and left shoulder taking most of the weight - photo by Grant Mitchell [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia ...


21

Plutarch, in De garrulitate , writes this concerning the brief, concise language used by the Laconians: The Lacedaemonians to Philip; Dionysius in Corinth. And when Philip wrote thus to the Spartans: If once I enter into your territories, I will destroy ye all, never to rise again; they answered him with the single word, If. To King Demetrius ...


20

The Spartans are known for different things to different peoples in time. Some of these things are good, and others bad. Today, if you ask a typical 20-something man who has a keen interest in history, watches historical movies and plays historical video games, he will say that the Spartans are best remembered for their Military prowess. It is this quality ...


19

Hoplite and phalangite at the time of the Persian Wars preferred a linen upper body armour called linothorax. Unfortunately, no examples have survived from ancient times, and we can't be sure for the details of its construction. Bronze cuirasses were also used, but were too expensive for infantryman and probably impractical for regular use in battle. We can'...


19

SHORT ANSWER Aside from works by academics, much of what has been written about Sparta has been exaggerated or sensationalized and, even in ancient times, the Spartans themselves did not discourage many of these 'myths'. There are many documented examples of Spartans using writing, including the recording of laws and oracles, and the literacy rate amongst ...


16

This question fits my definition of trivial. If you copy the question and paste it into google, three of the top five responses answer the question. One mentions the Hoplites I'll grant you that Yahoo answers answer is as sparse as the movie's armor. Roman Army Talk cites (unreliably) an interesting counterexample The best answer is the first, from ...


11

SHORT ANSWER Most likely yes when compared to men under 20 or maybe 30 years old. The available evidence suggests that young males had short hair and young females long hair, while mature males generally had long hair and married females had short hair. DETAILED ANSWER In general, that would depend on the age of the man. There is some dispute as to at ...


9

There is no evidence from ancient sources that any helots were made citizens in the aftermath of Plataea. Also, there is very strong circumstantial evidence which suggests that it didn't happen. The earliest likely date for helots becoming citizens is the late 3rd century, at least 250 years after the Battle of Plataea. There is also no evidence that any ...


8

Normally the Spartans were very much concerned about helots uprisings, and there were indeed several large recorded ones. On the other hand, when needed (when pressed really hard), they would draft helots to their army, and usually they granted them freedom for this. Several such instances are described by Thucydides and Xenophon. There is indeed no recorded ...


8

The Greek historian Herodotus is the main primary source of information about the battle of Thermopylae. Most other records of the battle come from historians who lived centuries after the battle. They are all fairly consistent with each other. How did Herodotus get his information? The most common way historians did for centuries. By travelling the world ...


7

This question probably can't produce anything but opinion-based answers, but I'll take my shot. I would say two factors are at play here: First, the lauding of extravagant praise on an "alien" system was often used by classical-era writers as a method of criticizing flaws in their domestic system. Tacitus' Germania is a typical example of this. Athens ...


7

According to http://www.historyofinformation.com/, the first Latin translation was commissioned by Pope Nicholas V and completed in 1452 by Lorenzo Valla. The image below is from the first page of the first book. My Latin is below basic, but the first line seems interesting, a specific reference to 'Peloponnesian War'.


7

I am unsure if this is the first mention of Thucydides' 'history of the Peloponnesian war' but this is Thomas Hobbes' first sentence, thirteenth paragraph of the section titled 'On the life and history of Thucydides' from "History of the Peloponnesian War, Thomas Hobbes, Ed." It comes from the 1843 translation of his 1628 version. To this I say, that ...


7

Edit: I think I have to revise quite a bit. One thing is that the Peloponnesian Wars went through various stages which themselves got different titles (Ionian, Corinthian, etc). As a result the poster on Yahoo Answers may be quite right. In the Ionian War, which crushed Athens, the Persians provided the gold for the Spartan Fleet. In the Corinthian War, ...


6

Our only source both reliable and substantial on Spartan life is Xenophon on the Constitution of the Lacedaimonians. Xenophon reports that the Spartan boys were required to supply themselves with a substantial portion of their own food ration, by foraging and stealing, and [Lycurgus] made it a point of honour to steal as many cheeses as possible [from ...


6

Sparta always was a closed society, and the exact numbers of citizens (i.e. warriors) were an absolutely secret information all the time, no doubt. After all, what do we know for sure? In the Battle of Platea there were 5000 spartiates, 5000 perioikoi, and 35000 helots. Also let's add that Plutarch in "Lycurgus" mentions 39000 shares in Laconia: 9000 ...


5

For Sparta, "great deeds" is mentioned by Xenophon (c. 431 to 354 BC) in Constitution of the Lacedaemonians where he relates this in the context of the young gaining part of their education from the experience of their elders: Note that in other states the company usually consists of men of the same age, where modesty is apt to be conspicuous by its ...


4

This is too long for a comment, but is certainly not a complete answer. However, with that caveat, Athenaeus of Naucratis certainly wrote about that practice in the Cretan commons in his Deipnosophistae. Quoting Dosiadas' 4th book on Cretan History, he says: "... After dinner they are in the habit first of deliberating on public affairs; from that ...


4

First of all, spartans were dorian greeks who had culture of their own (specific dialect, calendar etc.). And Peloponnesus itself was relatively closed world for many years. Certainly, spartans appreciated poetry, and there are quite a few well-known names, yet little remained of their texts written in 7th century B.C. in laconic dialect. Next, the vast ...


3

First of all, helots were "light infantries" only, at least until Brasidas' campaign. So spartan hoplits could defeat them in a direct clash: until Iphikrates light infantries had no tactic against heavy phalanx, no matter if helots outnumbered spartans as 7:1. But why they never tried to betray spartans in the battle seems really strange. Of course, some ...


3

Spartans gave canonical examples (for Western culture) of what is called "noble behavior", and heroism.


3

There were a lot more than 300 Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae. The 300 were just the Spartan contingent. According to Herodotus the whole Greek army had about 5,000 men in it from all parts of Greece.


2

While much has been written on the topic of homosexuality, both in Sparta and in other Greek city states, the evidence is often second-hand, open to interpretation and / or quite possibly a reflection of an (ancient) author's bias. There is also much controversy among modern scholars (see Wikipedia for a summary and some examples). Xenophon makes quite a ...


1

There was a story of an event that took place in Athens. A group of men were watching an athletic contest. An old man wandered into the auditorium, where all the seats were taken. Finally, one young man arose, and offered the old man his seat. The other young men in the vicinity applauded. The old man said something like, "You Athenians know what to do, but ...


1

I'll add a few extra details which may be of use to you since the scope of the question now seems to include events outside the Peloponnesian war of 431–404 BC Persian gold was said to have made its way into the hands of the prominent Athenian orator and statesmen Demosthenes, who led the opposition forces against Phillip of Macedon and other Pan-Hellenists ...


1

I think they left some ideas that still resinate in western culture. The word "spartan" means "marked by strict self-discipline or self-denial" or "marked by simplicity, frugality, or avoidance of luxury and comfort" definition The word "laconic" "using few words in speech or writing" [definition] Most significantly, I've read that Plato was greatly ...


1

Sparta could actually be called the birthplace of democracy. Tho Sparta had a small voting population by today's standards (probably around ~3%), it was transformative for the time. Democracy was even suggested by at least some of the population. A story I've read was that a man once argued that Sparta (circa 850BC before they created the Apella) should ...


1

Here's some food for thought: Sparta was just one of the many city states which were fighting in ancient Greece, before the inception of the Roman empire (think the Peloponneseian Wars). Their relatively equal strength prevented them from winning any extremely significant wars and yielding any great conquest, again, until the inception of the Roman empire. ...


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