Bred for Battle—Understanding Ancient Sparta’s Military Machine (2023)

  • History Magazine

Sparta’s entire culture centered on war. A lifelong dedication to military discipline, service, and precision gave this kingdom a strong advantage over other Greek civilizations, allowing Sparta to dominate Greece in the fifth century B.C.

ByAntonio Penadés

20 min read

This story appears in the November/December 2016 issue of National Geographic History magazine.

Sparta’s enemies, when facing the intimidating Spartan forces, would see a wall of shields, bristling with lances, inexorably bearing down on them—not to the beat of drums, but as the Greek historian Thucydides explains, “to the music of many ute-players, a standing institution in their army, which has nothing to do with religion, but is meant to make them advance evenly, stepping in time, without breaking their order.”

Little remains of the ancient city of Sparta, capital of the Laconia region, situated on the Peloponnesus peninsula in modern Greece, but the impact of its unique culture is impossible to ignore. Unlike Athens to the north, Sparta was famed for its austerity—its “spartan” character—was, and is, proverbial. A state run by an inflexible military regime, whose people existed almost entirely to serve the army, the Spartans were legendary for their professionalism, intense physical and mental stamina, and absolute dedication to the defense of their land. No great philosophers would ever arise from Spartan culture the way they did from Athens.

Athens and Sparta

Founded around the ninth century B.C., Sparta’s kings oversaw a society with little interest in intellectual and artistic pursuits beyond patriotic poetry. Religion did occupy a central role in this warrior society. An efficient military machine in almost every other respect, war was only unthinkable during the festivities dedicated to Apollo Carneus. These were celebrated every summer, sometimes in full campaign season, and it was considered impious to interrupt them.

The Athenian view of Sparta oscillated between admiration and fear, according to whether their warlike neighbors were allies or enemies. Without Spartan participation in the war against Persia at the beginning of the fifth century B.C.— especially their heroic stand at the critical Battle of Thermopylae in 480—the Persians may well have conquered Greece. Later in the same century, however, Athens found itself at war with its ferocious former ally, a venture that greatly sapped its energy and resources. Even as Athens experienced a Golden Age, the conflict with Sparta largely brought about its political decline.

The Peloponnesian War in which Athens fought Sparta began in 431 B.C. At the outset, the Athenian statesman Pericles ordered all inhabitants of the Attica region to take refuge within the capital’s strong walls. Despite grumbling from some quarters that this amounted to cowardice, many Athenians understood Pericles’pragmatism. Athens was strong at sea, but the Spartans were invincible on land. Pericles knew that facing the enemy there would mean certain defeat. Sparta’s total dedication to military greatness and discipline earned them their fearsome reputation and their enemies’ respect.

Boys to Men

From birth, Spartan boys were prepared both physically and mentally for their later, inevitable combat service. Most boys lived with their families until age seven, after which time they were delivered to the agoge—part military academy, part boot camp—to be trained as soldiers. Family ties loosened, and young recruits effectively belonged to the state. The first-century Roman historian Plutarch details the regime to which young Spartans were subjected:

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[T]heir training was calculated to make them obey commands well, endure hardships, and conquer in battle ... When they were 12 years old, they no longer had tunics to wear, received one cloak a year, had hard flesh, and knew little of baths. They slept together ... on pallet-beds which they collected for themselves, breaking off with their hands—no knives allowed—the tops of the rushes which grew along the river Eurotas.

When war loomed, the Gerousia, the council of elders, decided when to draw from this silo of young fighters. Their proposal then had to be approved by the Spartan assembly. Spartan men aged between 20 and 60 would then be called up, starting with the most experienced. Each year the ephors, or magistrates, chose the 300 best hoplites in Sparta to become the hippeis—elite soldiers who formed the king’s private guard.

A Bronze Wall: Power of Spartan Shields

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Some hoplite shields, like the one above, were designed with openings through which spears could be thrust. Oliveriano Archaeological Museum, Pesaro, Italy

Photograph by Scala, Florence

Known as a hoplon—from which is derived the name of its bearer, the hoplite—the shield was, together with the spear, the most important weapon of the Spartan warrior. Each shield was circular and convex, weighed more than 15 pounds, and measured three feet in diameter. Shields were specially made out of layers of wood that had been rounded off and glued together. The exterior was covered with a fine layer of bronze, whose surface, glinting in the sun and replicated across the formation, would present a daunting spectacle to an enemy. The Spartan hoplites organized themselves into a tight-packed phalanx that then relentlessly pushed forward behind this wall of bronze.

March to War

There were many reasons for launching a military campaign. For example, Sparta might face an existential threat, prompting its participation in the Battle of Plataea in 479 B.C., which effectively ended all Persian attempts to invade the Greek lands. At other times, Sparta engaged in disputes with its rival Greek city-states, especially Athens and Thebes. Slave rebellions had to be nipped in the bud—the Helots, conquered peoples enslaved by the Spartans, had to be routinely subdued.

When facing a foreign foe, the Spartan king would first offer a sacrifice to Zeus Agetor, in order to know whether the gods approved of the campaign. If it was discerned that they did, the official fire bearer, the pyrphorus, would take up the sacred fire from the altar and carry it with him throughout the march in order to ensure divine protection. As a bonus, it also provided the expedition with a constant source of fire. The meat of the goats and sheep sacrificed to Zeus was then used as food for the soldiers.

During the march, the Skiritai, the mountain-dwelling mercenaries to the north of Sparta, and calvary were placed at the front. They carried light weapons and formed a daunting defensive and scouting force at the front of the convoy. Next came the hoplites in two long lines, flanking the cargo mules; the Helot slave porters; and the noncombatants—physicians, artisans, blacksmiths, carpenters, and tanners, bearing all the objects that the company might need.

(Video) How Did a Greek Hoplite Go to War? (5th Century BC) DOCUMENTARY

Each soldier would carry 20 days worth of provisions with him. This consisted of rye bread, cheese, and salted meat, which in the spirit of Spartan egalitarianism was distributed among soldiers and officers alike. Most campaigns took place in the late spring, when water was scarce, so drinking water also had to be hauled.

Every Spartan soldier carried his own weapons, while a Helot slave took charge of his other belongings. At night the soldiers had no more than capes to protect them from the cold. They did not sleep in tents but lay on the ground or under simple shelters.

Eve of Battle

After the army arrived at the border of the Spartan region, the king made a new sacrifice, this time dedicated to Zeus and Athena. Upon reaching the battlefield, the Spartans set up camp in the most appropriate place—close to a water source when possible. The camp itself was laid out in the form of a square, with the animals, supplies, and slaves placed in the middle. The elite Skiritai and cavalry made constant patrols of the high ground to keep watch. Sometimes the guard was more concerned about the Helot slaves trying to flee the camp than about an attack from the rival army.

The Spartan soldiers kept to a strict schedule when on campaign. Having offered the appropriate morning sacrifice, the king gave the day’s orders to his officers. There would be physical exercise before breakfast, an inspection, a changeover of those on guard duty and then military instruction. The historian Plutarch notes that, paradoxically, war for Spartans was seen almost as a holiday: “Their bodily exercises, too, were less rigorous during their campaigns, and [they] were allowed a regimen less rigid. They were the only men in the world for whom war brought a respite in the training for war.”

In the afternoon the soldiers would compete in athletic exercises in which a polemarch (high-ranking military commander) acted as judge and gave a prize to the winner, this usually being meat for dinner. At the end of the day the soldiers would sing hymns and poems by the seventh-century B.C. poet Tyrtaeus, whose work exalted Spartan patriotism.

The Hoplite

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Hoplites dressing for battle. Athenian cup from the early fifth century B.C. Wien Museum, Austria

Photograph by Peter Connolly, Album

Dressed for battle, Spartans and Athenians looked alike. This painted Athenian cup (above) shows the traits that would have been displayed by all such groups across the Greek-speaking world in the 400s B.C. In previous centuries Greek warriors had worn very thick, heavy armor, much of which, by the classical period, had been largely dispensed with. For those fighting on either side in the Peloponnesian War, the armor would have been made up of: (1) greaves over the legs; (2) a breastplate; and (3) a helmet. By this period, the solid bronze armor plates had been replaced with pieces made from layers of linen stuck together, stiffened by immersion in vinegar and salt, and reinforced with layers of bronze. As well as for defense, (4) the shield was used to batter and barge. Each soldier bore a long lance and (5) a short iron sword. Despite the uniformity in hoplite dress, the Spartan warrior wore a distinctive scarlet cape to protect him from the cold, although it was always removed before combat.

At daybreak on the morning of the battle, sometimes within sight of the enemy, the Spartan hoplites would polish their bronze-coated shields, prepare their weapons, and carefully arrange their long hair, as part of a symbolically charged ritual. When the battle was imminent, a young goat would be sacrificed to Artemis Agrotera, goddess of the hunt. The sages examined the entrails under the watchful eye of the king, who would only give the order to attack if he could count on divine approval.

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When the trumpet sounded, all the Spartan hoplites would chant a paean or war song called the “Song of Castor,” named in honor of a venerated Spartan hero. The singing was accompanied by the flautists who played from their positions within the ranks. The Spartan phalanx, a tight military formation usually eight men deep, would then begin its advance, lances raised, in time with the music. One measure of the Spartan reputation for courage and nerve was the pace with which it proceeded: Its army would draw close to enemy lines more slowly than their rivals, always following the steady rhythm set by the flutes.

Rise to Combat

Sparta’s battle methods were similar to those employed elsewhere in the Greek-speaking world. Hoplite warriors formed phalanxes, which advanced in lockstep. The front row presented a barrier of shields locked together, from which a long line of spears protruded.

Unity within the phalanx was crucial, and Spartan phalanxes had a fearsome reputation for holding their formation. During the Peloponnesian War, both the Spartan and Athenian sides made use of an additional class of soldier, the peltasts. This division of light infantry supplemented the heavily armed—and often unwieldy—hoplites. But the phalanx remained the Spartans’ primary strength. Enemy commanders justly feared the colossal damage this disciplined mass could inflict.

The Phalanx

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Greek phalanx from a Chigi vase in a pro-Corinthian style. Seventh century B.C. National Etruscan Museum, Rome

Photograph by Art Archive

The phalanx was formed of compact columns of hoplites who maintained the formation at the exact width and depth required. Wielding a greater and more powerful block of fighters than the enemy was one of the keys to victory. The Spartan formation was typically a minimum of eight lines deep. (1) Each soldier had his own spear, which he held in front of him, parallel to that of his fellow warriors. The aim for those in the front row was to injure the arms, throat, or eyes of their opponents. (2) The front lines made use of their shields to thrust forward into the enemy line and attempt to breach it. If a breakthrough happened, it almost always spelled the beginning of the end for the Spartans’ enemies.

When the first lines clashed, all the soldiers would push forward with their shields. Every hoplite pressed hard against the back of the man in front, while those in the first three or four lines hurled their lances.

The purpose of the phalanx was to smash the enemy line. Until a breach was made, there were few casualties within the tightly packed Spartan lines, and the soldiers behind could immediately cover the gaps left by any men who did fall. If a phalanx did ever fall apart, the soldiers were left vulnerable, tempted to abandon their shields in order to flee. For the Spartans, such an outcome was almost too shameful to contemplate. Rhipsaspia, “the throwing away of one’s shield in battle,” effectively meant desertion.

Victory to Sparta

Despite their frightening reputation, the Spartan army was very restrained when it defeated a foe. According to Thucydides, the Spartans “fought long and stubbornly until the rout of their enemy, but that achieved, pursuing them only for a short time, and not far.”

(Video) Athens vs Sparta (Peloponnesian War explained in 6 minutes)

This practice was, at heart, pragmatic: Having secured the military objective, there was little sense in unnecessarily exposing Spartan forces to further danger, especially if the enemy had men mounted on horseback. Instead, the king would order the trumpeters to sound the retreat, and the army would start to retrieve the dead. When vanquished enemies wanted to retrieve the bodies of their fallen, they would send a representative to negotiate the handover with the king of Sparta.

The bodies of the fallen Spartans were carried on their own shields to a site near the battlefield for burial. They would be honored with a memorial engraved with an epitaph, such as that composed for the Spartans who died defending the Thermopylae pass against the Persians: “O Stranger, tell the Spartans that here we remain, obedient to their orders.”

Growing Up Spartan

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The forces of King Archidamus III were defeated by those of Thebes at Leuctra in 371 B.C. From that point on, Sparta’s reputation of invincibility crumbled.

Photograph by BPK/Scala, Florence

From age seven, a Spartan boy was sent to the military academy known as the agoge, where he would be put under
the supervision of a teacher and instructor, the paidonomos. From there, he would then be enlisted in the Spartan army. From age 20 to 29, he was part of the hebontes, an age group regarded by Spartan society as not yet fully adult, since marriage was only encouraged after age 30. In theory, all Spartan males were bound to military service until achieving the status of elder, or geron, at age 60, but many continued to serve on the battlefield. One of Sparta’s later kings, Archidamus III (above) fell in battle in 338 B.C. when he was thought to be around 62 years old.

In a time-honored Spartan tradition, other markers were often erected on the site of the battle. One of the most common was a tree trunk dressed in the helmet, armor, and weapons of the defeated. If the battle was particularly significant, a stone monument might be constructed, such as the statue of the lion in honor of the Spartan leader Leonidas, which was placed on the battlefield of Thermopylae.

When the rituals were over, the army began their triumphal return to Sparta. For those who did not come back, their family’s grief at their loss was salved by the tributes of a society who exalted the fallen as heroes. The worst fate for any Spartan was cowardice on the battlefield.

Throughout history, mothers have wept in seeing their sons set out for war; Spartan women, however, developed another ritual, aimed at preventing the ignominy that would befall them if their son wavered in the line of duty. Plutarch records Spartan mothers handing the shield to their sons, with the exhortation: Either with this or upon this—either return with the shield, victorious; or return lying on it, dead.

A prolific writer on Sparta and Athens, Antonio Penadés teaches Greek History at the L’iber Museum in Valencia, Spain.

(Video) How Sparta Manufactured Super-Soldiers - The Spartan Agoge


Were Spartans bred for war? ›

From birth, Spartan boys were prepared both physically and mentally for their later, inevitable combat service. Most boys lived with their families until age seven, after which time they were delivered to the agoge—part military academy, part boot camp—to be trained as soldiers.

What is the Spartan war Machine? ›

FV103 Spartan is a tracked armoured personnel carrier of the British Army. It was developed as the APC variant of the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family. The vehicle can carry up to seven personnel, including three crew members.

What military technique did Sparta use? ›

Like the other Greek city-states' armies, the Spartan army was an infantry-based army that fought using the phalanx formation.

What did Spartans fight for? ›

The Spartans and their allies were painted as fighting for 'Greek freedom' in the face of the threat of Persian 'enslavement' by ancient Greek sources. A wonderful example comes from Herodotus' account of events just prior to Thermopylae.

What was Sparta known for? ›

Sparta is known for their warrior society and caste system that was in great contrast to other surrounding Greek city-states. Sparta was also famous for their fighting style, which involved hoplite armor, shields, and spears, which were used in the phalanx style.

How did Spartans prepare for war? ›

In the days prior to battle, they exercised before breakfast, had further military instruction and training after eating, and engaged in exercise and athletic competitions in the afternoon. During moments of repose, the men dressed and groomed their hair, and polished the brass exteriors of their shields.

What is the weapon of War Machine? ›

War Machine can fly at Mach 2 and is equipped with a variety of projectile weapons such as repulsor rays, bombs, guns, and missiles.

What made the Spartan army so powerful? ›

Spartan troops drilled relentlessly, until they could execute tactics with perfection. “It was probably their training in tactical maneuvers which really gave Spartan soldiers their edge on the battlefield,” J.F. Lazenby writes in his book The Spartan Army.

What is the Spartan Code? ›

The Spartan Code was created in Fall 2003 in response to a growing dissatisfaction by Student Government with negative student behaviors and in conjunction with a national focus on the importance of University values.

What was the most important piece of equipment for a Spartan? ›

The basic equipment used by the Spartans included their shield (called an aspis), a spear (called a dory), and a short sword (called a xiphos). They also wore a crimson tunic so their bloody wounds wouldn't show. The most important piece of equipment to a Spartan was their shield.

How were Spartan soldiers trained? ›

The actual training of the Spartan youth was brutal, focusing on cultivating skills such as fighting, stealth, pain tolerance, as well as dancing, singing, and developing loyalty to the Spartan state.

Did Spartans use hand to hand combat? ›

The Pankration event was the ancient crowd's favorite sport. It was believed that a military training based on this formerly unarmed combat system helped the Spartans to excel in hand-to-hand fighting.

How were Spartans so good at fighting? ›

Spartan hoplites were well-trained and the fiercest of the Greek soldiers. Their constant training made them dexterous in the formation of a phalanx. The highlight of the phalanx formation was that the success in the battle was a team effort and no one man could take credit for the victory.

What is Sparta called now? ›

Sparta (Greek: Σπάρτη Spárti [ˈsparti]) is a city and municipality in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece. It lies at the site of ancient Sparta. The municipality was merged with six nearby municipalities in 2011, for a total population (as of 2011) of 35,259, of whom 17,408 lived in the city.

How did Sparta begin? ›

Legend dates the founding of the city to Mycenean times, when the legendary King Menelaus, who helped defeat Troy, supposedly ruled the city. Archaeologists put the date of its origin later, around 1000 BC, when a tribe called the Dorians migrated to the region.

How did Sparta end? ›

Sparta's military dominance came to an end with its defeat at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. The city-state continued to decline in power over the next few centuries, culminating in its incorporation into the Roman Empire in 146 BC.

What did Sparta invent? ›

Technology and Innovation

Many of the technological innovations of the spartan world have been adapted and modernized to be utilized in the world today. One example of this is the spartan invention of encryption. The scytale was a spartan tool used to encrypt and decrypt secret messages, especially in times of war.

Why did Sparta start the war? ›

As a Spartan ally, Corinth resumed hostilities toward Athens when Athens threatened Corinth's interests in the region surrounding Corcyra. This eventually drew Sparta into the conflict. The Spartan army began by raiding lands within an Athenian allied territory, particularly a region near Athens called Attica.

Who was the first War Machine? ›

War Machine (James Rupert "Rhodey" Rhodes) is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. James Rhodes first appeared in Iron Man #118 (January 1979) by David Michelinie and John Byrne.

Who wears the War Machine suit? ›

Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, sometimes referred to by his alias, War Machine, and briefly Iron Patriot, is a fictional character primarily portrayed by Don Cheadle (initially by Terrence Howard) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media franchise, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.

What is the most powerful weapon in War Machine? ›

One of War Machine's most powerful weapons is his uni-beam projector. While it is very powerful, the uni-beam is a signature weapon of both Iron Man and War Machine.

How is the strongest Spartan? ›

There are four different generations of Spartans with the Spartan-IIs being considered the strongest. That said, there are still plenty of Spartan-IIIs and IVs that can compete and even exceed what the Master Chief has accomplished.

What was Sparta's greatest strength? ›

  • Military machine!
  • Self disciplined.
  • Physically fit/healthy.
  • Did not focus on luxuries.
  • Women had more rights.

What made Sparta weak? ›

Sparta is a Greek city-state that is located on a southern peninsula called Peloponnese. They were a strong military force, but nothing else. Sparta was weak because they had harsh military training for their young, they abused their children, and they lacked in education.

What was the Spartan motto? ›

Molon labe (Ancient Greek: μολὼν λαβέ, romanized: molṑn labé), meaning 'come and take [them]', is a classical expression of defiance. It is among the Laconic phrases reported by Plutarch, attributed to King Leonidas I in reply to the demand by Xerxes I that the Spartans surrender their weapons.

What are Spartan 3 numbers? ›

Each individual SPARTAN-III's identifier becomes A, B, or G (letter of respective company), followed by a three-digit number between 001 and 497 (Alpha Company), 418 (Beta Company), or 330 (Gamma Company), such as Ash-G099 and Catherine-B320 . This numbering system is very much like that of the SPARTAN-IIs.

Who was Spartan 001? ›

Jhonathan-001 is a Spartan-II Class I super solider, and Second in Command of Green team which was led by Kurt-051, when Fireteam Green deployed in late 2525 his call sign on the Green Team is "Seirra-001".

How heavy were Spartan shields? ›

Spartan shields were generally created from wood with bronze for its outer layer. The 30-pound shield is small enough to hold with one arm, while still able to guard much of the body. The Athenians obtained the shield after their victory against the Spartans at the Battle of Sphacteria.

What is a Spartan shield called? ›

An aspis (Ancient Greek: ἀσπίς, plural aspides, ἀσπίδες), or porpax shield was the heavy wooden shield used by the infantry in various periods of ancient Greece.

What color were the Spartans? ›

The primary color for Spartan Sports Lighting is crimson red in homage to the Ancient Spartans who wore red into battle. Red is a powerful, dynamic, energizing color that portrays strength. Spartan Crimson gives strength and energy to the brand.

What was a Spartan soldier called? ›

Going into battle, a Spartan soldier, or hoplite, wore a large bronze helmet, breastplate and ankle guards, and carried a round shield made of bronze and wood, a long spear and sword. Spartan warriors were also known for their long hair and red cloaks.

What weapons did Spartans train in? ›

Every Spartan warrior was equipped with 5 different weapons, each with different purposes.
  • The Xiphos: The Xiphos was the close quarter weapon used by Spartan Warriors. ...
  • The Kopis: The Kopis was an alternative sword used sometimes by the Spartans. ...
  • The Javelin: ...
  • The Dory: ...
  • The Apsis: ...
  • The Raven Crest Tactical Spartan Knife:

How tough were Spartan soldiers? ›

Sparta became famous for its ability in warfare, and the Spartans were considered invincible warriors. Their ability to fight was only a part of why Spartans were exceptional soldiers. The most important reason was their specific ethics and training instilled in them since childhood.

What could Spartans never do during a battle? ›

Spartans were taught to never flee during a battle. They had to return victorious or dead. They were told before they went into battle to 'come back with their shields or on their shields'. If they still had their shields that meant they were victorious.

What was the biggest shame that a Spartan soldier could experience in battle? ›

Surrender in battle was the ultimate disgrace. Spartan soldiers were expected to fight without fear and to the last man. Surrender was viewed as the epitome of cowardice, and warriors who voluntarily laid down their arms were so shamed that they often resorted to suicide.

Why were Spartan soldiers feared? ›

Many Greeks admired the Spartans, and even more feared and respected them, for their valor, military prowess, and dedication to their polis.

What were Spartans originally made for? ›

They were developed in secret as part of the Orion Project by the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) with the original goal of creating the perfect soldier that could protect colonies, patrol warzones, and crush uprisings, a common problem at the time.

Were the Spartans a warrior race? ›

Sparta was a warrior society in ancient Greece that reached the height of its power after defeating rival city-state Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.). Spartan culture was centered on loyalty to the state and military service.

Why were Spartans so good at war? ›

Spartan troops drilled relentlessly, until they could execute tactics with perfection. “It was probably their training in tactical maneuvers which really gave Spartan soldiers their edge on the battlefield,” J.F. Lazenby writes in his book The Spartan Army.

Were Vikings stronger than Spartans? ›

Vikings would win. Vikings fought guerilla style and seemed to have heavier weapons, as for Spartans, unlike the AC game, they fought in phalanx formation, a disciplined formation warfare like the Romans and British and had lighter weapons.

Were there black Spartans? ›

By the mid-19th century, the Black Spartans numbered between 1,000 and 6,000 women, about a third of the entire Dahomey army. Under King Gezo's rule, female troops lived in his compound and were kept well supplied with tobacco, alcohol and slaves–as many as 50 to each warrior.

Did Spartan slaves fight? ›

Helots as troops in conflict

Herodotus makes multiple accounts of Helots accompanying Spartans as servants and soldiers in battles such as Thermopylae and Plataea, often lightly equipped compared to their hoplite counterparts.

What language did Spartans speak? ›

Doric Greek

How did Sparta fall? ›

In fact, the Spartan state was eventually brought down by a number of factors, including internal strife, economic decline, and foreign invasion. Sparta's military dominance came to an end with its defeat at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC.

Why are Spartans so good? ›

Sparta became famous for its ability in warfare, and the Spartans were considered invincible warriors. Their ability to fight was only a part of why Spartans were exceptional soldiers. The most important reason was their specific ethics and training instilled in them since childhood.

How did Spartans treat their wives? ›

In reality, Sparta was at its best when men and women were regarded as equals. The female Spartan was honored as the equal of the male in her own sphere of power and authority and, even in the accounts of detractors, performed admirably.

Were Spartans the strongest? ›

Spartan warriors known for their professionalism were the best and most feared soldiers of Greece in the fifth century B.C. Their formidable military strength and commitment to guard their land helped Sparta dominate Greece in the fifth century.

Did Spartans ever fight Romans? ›

The siege of Gythium was fought in 195 BC between Sparta and the coalition of Rome, Rhodes, the Achaean League, and Pergamum.

Would a samurai beat a Spartan? ›

If they both fought with swords, samurai would win because of the range that a nodachi/katana has over the spartan sword {forgot the name}.

Who has defeated Sparta? ›

Battle of Leuctra, (6 July 371 bce). Fought in Boeotia, Greece, the Battle of Leuctra made Thebes the leading military power among the Greek city-states, ending the long dominance of Sparta.


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