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60 votes

How would a Spartan have held his shield?

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 ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
50 votes

How would a Spartan have held his shield?

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 ...
walrus's user avatar
  • 838
30 votes

Why did the Spartans learn to read and write if they weren't allowed to keep records?

SHORT ANSWER There are many documented examples of Spartans using writing, including the recording of laws and oracles, and the literacy rate amongst women may well have been higher than in any other ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

Did the Spartans really taunt Philip II of Macedon with a single word?

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 ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 39.7k
16 votes
Accepted

Why did Athenian philosophers praise Spartan culture and laws, which would preclude philosophers like themselves?

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" ...
tbrookside's user avatar
  • 1,168
14 votes

Did Sparta give citizenship to the helots who participated on its side in the Battle of Plataea?

SHORT ANSWER If there was any reward at all for the helots at Plataea, it was plunder. There is no evidence from ancient sources that any helots were made citizens in the aftermath of Plataea. Also, ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
13 votes

Was homosexuality rarer in ancient Sparta than in any other Greek state?

Short Answer There is no evidence of any law banning homosexual relationships where one partner submits to the other, but Xenophon does mention the forbidding of physical pederastic relationships by ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Did unmarried Spartan women have longer hair than men?

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 ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
11 votes

Why did Sparta turn on its ally Elis during the First Macedonian War?

Machanidas of Sparta's motive for attacking Elis was almost certainly territorial expansion, and was part of the last but one of several (ultimately futile) attempts to resurrect Spartan hegemony in ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Did the Persian Empire really finance both sides of the Peloponnesian war?

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 ...
Marakai's user avatar
  • 2,476
9 votes

Who came up with the name "Peloponnesian War"?

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 ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Where is it recorded that Spartan common meals were followed by a recounting of noble deeds?

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 ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
4 votes

Where is it recorded that Spartan common meals were followed by a recounting of noble deeds?

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 ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
4 votes

Why did Athenian philosophers praise Spartan culture and laws, which would preclude philosophers like themselves?

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 ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
3 votes

Why did Athenian philosophers praise Spartan culture and laws, which would preclude philosophers like themselves?

The portrayal of Sparta and Athens as complete opposites masks the fact that neither city was one-dimensional. In Athens there had always been a faction leaning towards oligarchy, the prime example ...
Demetrios's user avatar
  • 198
3 votes

Did anything come from Sparta, besides fitness and war?

Spartans gave canonical examples (for Western culture) of what is called "noble behavior", and heroism.
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.8k
3 votes

Did Sparta give citizenship to the helots who participated on its side in the Battle of Plataea?

I think your question is THE key for making sense of the following two events: A) the fate of Pausanias and B) the "ceremony" of the helots in Thucydides (IV 80). I am not a historian, but I have a ...
Demetrios's user avatar
1 vote
Accepted

When did Athenian archers pepper Spartan hoplites with arrows for days on an island?

You are certainly remembering of the history of the garrison of Sphacteria island. Some things to adjust from the description you made: Athenians did not only use archers, but javeliniers as well ...
totalMongot's user avatar
  • 6,791
1 vote

Did the Persian Empire really finance both sides of the Peloponnesian war?

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 ...
Notaras's user avatar
  • 3,935
1 vote

Why did Helots fight alongside Spartans?

I would also be interested in any references describing the Helots and the techniques Sparta used to control them. On the techniques used by Spartans to keep the helots in check you may want to ...
Demetrios's user avatar
  • 198
1 vote

Did anything come from Sparta, besides fitness and war?

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 ...
DBWeinstein's user avatar
  • 2,967
1 vote

Did anything come from Sparta, besides fitness and war?

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 ...
B T's user avatar
  • 423

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