Pros of Spartan Society: an Analysis of Military Power, Social Order, and Warrior Legacy

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Pros of Spartan Society: an Analysis of Military Power, Social Order, and Warrior Legacy

This essay will explore the strengths of Spartan society, focusing on its military prowess, social structure, and the legacy of its warrior culture. It will discuss how these elements contributed to Sparta’s prominence in ancient Greece and their historical significance. Moreover, at PapersOwl, there are additional free essay samples connected to War.

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The Making of Spartan Warriors: Training, Loyalty, and Courage from Childhood

Militaries existed for a long time, dating back to the BC time period. Athens, Persians, Sparta, and Thebans are just a few that existed during that time. Out of the militaries that existed, Sparta stood out from the rest. Their warrior society, extensive training, and the defeat of their military rivals in various wars are just a few of the reasons the Spartan Military was one of the most impressive militaries in Western Civilization.

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Sparta’s military was one of the largest, most established militaries in Sparta. The military was derived from the city-state Sparta, which was located on the Eurotas River. Their culture was centered on loyalty to the state and military service. Sparta’s warrior society and other key attributes, such as their training, led them to a glorious victory during the Peloponnesian War. During this short period, Sparta’s military was the most impressive during 431-404 BC.

The Sparta warriors were taught as young boys to be obedient warriors with their extensive training, professionalism, and bravery. Training to be a warrior started as early as the age of seven for Sparta males. They would enter a state-sponsored education, military training, and social program (History). At the age of seven, the courage it took to train to risk your life for your city-state and citizens was overpowering.

Sparta’s Singular Focus: Military Dominance, Social Structure, and the Bonding of Warriors

Like many of the societies during their time, it was dominated by males. Due to Sparta centering their culture on loyalty to the state and the military, their society focused extensively on their military training. This gave them dominance over the other city-states. They centered their citizens, work, and support on the warriors. Male citizens were only allowed one job, and that was to be a warrior. Unlike their counterparts, Athenian society appeared to be a standard society, with government and laws. It also appeared that Athens citizens had regular jobs; their society wasn’t based on a warrior culture. Considering Athens did emphasize the work and support for their warriors, this gave Sparta an advantage during their battle against each other during the Peloponnesian War.

Sparta’s men were not required to perform any other task; instead, when it came to manual labor, the Helots were enslaved to take on that responsibility. Soldiers often spent a lot of time together, building bonds that would help them on the battlefield. Although Sparta’s men were trained to be a warrior at an early age, soldiers had to trust each other in order to succeed in battle. Competitive training took place, and warriors were taught not only was it imperative to protect themselves but to protect their land and fellow warriors. Although it’s human nature to have the “every man for himself” mentality, it becomes imperative for each soldier to build a bond with one another. That’s the only way a soldier can build trust, where each soldier is willing to die for his brother. That’s the only way any military can succeed during battle, and this bonding also helped Sparta during battle. The fact that they had to remain in barracks until the age of thirty helped with establishing relationships with their peers. They were allowed to get married at the age of twenty. Their wives would have to be highly independent and incorporate the skills necessary to run their households due to the majority of the men being professional soldiers. Their dedication to training and focus on protecting their land and people gave them an advantage over the other militaries.

From Infancy to Battle: The Rigorous and Relentless Path of a Spartan Warrior

Although training began around age seven, the inspection began for the soldiers as infants. Infants would be examined for physical defects. If any were found with any abnormalities or weren’t found fit to fulfill their duty as a soldier, they would be left to die. Those who pass the inspection would still face being challenged. They would bathe them in wine instead of water to test their constitution. Infants were ignored when they cried and ordered not to fear darkness (History). When the young warriors turned twelve, they would be forced to sleep outside without any clothing. At the age of twenty, they would officially become soldiers and would remain one until the age of sixty.

During this time, warriors had to maintain being strong and fit. They had to maintain their physique. Inspections would be done on them every ten days. Any warrior who did not adhere to inspections would be beaten and criticized. Warriors were trained and known to be fearless. Being a coward was not tolerated and would result in public humiliation. They would have their beards shaved and ordered to dress in rags. Giving up during a battle was considered a disgrace. Their diets also were managed and played a role in their training. The food they consumed was to keep them healthy and strong. Their famous meal was black soup, pork boiled in pig blood made with salt and vinegar (website). The training was consistent day and night, even when they were at war.

Spartan Arms and Tactics: Weapons, Shields, and the Clever Strategies of War

War was fought with weapons, and Sparta had a few that each soldier used during battle: the dory, swords, the kopis, and a battle shield. Their shields were made of wood and bronze and protected them from chin to knee. Shields were very important. It didn’t just protect the individual but the entire army. They wore crimson to disguise any blood lost from their enemies. The dory was the Spartan’s primary weapon, and it was a spear; the Spartans had a unique name for it. “The spear was held one-handed, either over or underhand. The butt of the spear was capped with a butt spike that was used as a secondary weapon, just in case the spearhead was broken off.” (website source) Sparta used swords as another secondary weapon. Most militaries used swords during a battle; however, Sparta’s swords were short. Sparta mainly used their swords when their spears became useless due to the spears being broken or if they weren’t needed.

Spartans had another unique way of using their swords. “The Spartan shorter weapon proved deadly in the crush caused by colliding phalanxes formation where it was capable of being thrust through gaps in the enemy shield walls and armor. The formation required warriors to be grouped with their spears and interlocking shields. The groin and throat were favorite targets.” (website source) Visualize a formation that was extremely difficult to penetrate while dealing with swords coming through gaps at your groin or throat. If the sword wasn’t enough to worry about, Spartans used another secondary weapon called the Kopis. In a manner of preference, the Kopis was similar to the sword, but it was used in a different fashion. The Kopis were very thick and used like an axe. The first three weapons appeared to be used more during an attack. In some scenarios, defense can be more effective than offense. The shield, which was another weapon used by the Spartans, was mainly used for defense. One Spartan soldier having a shield made it difficult for his enemy to strike. Now several Spartan soldiers have a shield, hiding behind it while shielding the Spartan soldier next to him, ultimately creating a wall that’s almost impenetrable. Spartans were very clever when using their shields. Their enemies only saw the shields as a defense; however, Spartans would use them for offense or for a counterattack.

Battlefield Rivals and Allies: Sparta’s Role in the Greco-Persian and Peloponnesian Wars

The Persian military was on the rise, and due to the Greeks getting involved in Persia’s conquest, King Darius wanted to punish Greece. Athens got involved in Persia’s conquest, which led to King Darius vowing to burn the city of Athens. Ultimately leading to a series of battles between Persia and the Greeks. The Battle of Thermopylae between Persia and the Greeks began during the Persian invasion. Persia had a huge army, and this led the Greek city-states to decide to allow Sparta to lead this battle due to their dominance in war. After the death of King Darius, his son, Xerxes, led the second invasion of Greece. Since Sparta was leading Greece in its war against Persia, Sparta’s king Leonidas created a plan to trap the Persian army. However, a traitor in Greece showed the Persian army a secret passageway over the mountains to counterattack the Spartans. (website source) As mentioned earlier, the Spartans do not surrender, nor do they retreat in battle. After the Persians made their way over the mountains, the Greeks retreated; however, the Spartans remained and fought the Persian army. Vastly outnumbered, King Leonidas and his men were finally defeated over a span of two days. Sparta was able to avenge their defeat in the battle at Plataea, where Sparta’s army was able to lead the Greeks through the Persian army, ultimately leading the Greeks to victory over Persia. (website source)

Athens and Sparta fought together in the Greco-Persian war, and Athens became more powerful. Sparta came out victorious, while the constant fighting left Athens bankrupt, worn out, and discouraged. After their roles in defeating the Persians, Athens and Sparta gained stature among the city-states. Due to the lack of interest in the leadership role over Greece from Sparta, Athens becomes the leader of Greece. As the differences between Athens and Sparta grew, it led to the start of the long-expected showdown between the rivals that would last for almost thirty years. It is believed that this war was due to Spartans fearing that Athens was gaining power. Both armies were powerful. Athens was weaker than Sparta on land; however, Athens had a naval unit, something Sparta didn’t have. Athens’s service to the military was optional, while Sparta’s was mandatory. Sparta’s use of the phalanx formation during the Peloponnesian War was a great deal of their strength.

The Tug of War: Strategy, Betrayal, and the Epic Showdown between Athens and Sparta in the Peloponnesian War

This formation would allow them to smash their enemy’s line. Soldiers would line up back to back and use strong force when approaching their enemy. “The Spartans’ best ally was the unforeseen outbreak of plague inside the cramped walls of Athens, which killed Pericles and nearly one-quarter of the citizens.” (website source) Over a series of different battles, Athens and Sparta were going back and forth, with Athens winning a few battles and Sparta winning as well. Both sides were seeking aid to help gain the upper hand in the war. The most noticeable attempt was when a general of the Athens army tried to convince the Persian army to join them in the war against Sparta; however, that attempt was unsuccessful. After several battles at sea, Sparta was able to overcome Athens’s naval unit. “The Athens general had great victories at the sea battles of Abydos and Cyzicus, keeping Athens in control, but at the Battle of Notium, the Athens general was defeated by the Spartans general, who was comfortable at sea…

Finally, at the Battle of Aegospotami, the Spartan general captured the Athenian fleet, then sailed to Athens and closed off the Port of Piraeus. Athens was forced to surrender, and Sparta won the war.” (website source) Although Sparta’s strength was on land, Sparta was able to strengthen its naval unit, which led them to victory over Athens, which was known to have a strong naval unit. The war had a lasting effect on the Greek World, causing both Sparta and Athens to be weakened. (website source) This would have a catastrophic effect on Sparta as they head into their final conflict.

The Pros and Cons of Spartan Society: Strategy, Dominance, and the Unforeseen Defeat at the Battle of Leuctra

The Battle of Leuctra was a major defeat for Spartan warriors against Thebes, giving the Thebes military power amongst the city-states; Thebes’ infantry phalanx looked as though they would surely lose against Spartan warriors. Spartan hoplites were defeated by Thebans even though they outnumbered the group. Thebes’s leader Epaminondas formed a hoplite unit known as the Sacred Band. He grouped one hundred fifty male couples who committed to fight to death for their polis and one another’s honor. Epaminondas implemented a mock Spartan system that would allow the Sacred Band victory over Spartan warriors. The war was initiated due to the Spartan’s press of dominance over Greece after their victory in the Peloponnesian War. Thebes would begin the battle using a battle formation that would strike against the main line of Spartan warrior leaders.

They attacked them from the left with their use of cavalry and a clashing method of dismantling Spartan warriors’ formation. They continued to target the main line killing Spartan warrior leaders. Spartans would lose dominance over Greece. Thebes outsmarted them by using their formation but finding a weakness in their line in order to obtain victory. Sparta lost approximately four thousand hoplites. This loss was one they wouldn’t be able to recover from. Sparta would not be able to regain power within their unbreakable warrior society. Sparta was able to continue as a regional power for another two centuries following the battle. Soon they started to see their once powerful military society decline.

The Legacy of Spartan Warriors: Training, Bravery, and a Reputation Built on Fearlessness and Dominance

The Battle of Leuctra contributed to Sparta’s downfall. Although their dominance came to an end, they were known for being the greatest military among the Greek city-states. Even though they were defeated, their enemy imitated their warrior system and found a weakness in their line in order to defeat them. They managed to wound a massive number of warriors even when they were outnumbered. Spartan warriors were professional in their organization on the battlefield and established relationships with their peers that built trusting relationships during the war. They honored their land and one another. They were trained to be brave warriors day and night. Those who were not brave wouldn’t be allowed to remain Sparta citizens. Training played a key role in their greatness. Extensive training day and night that began as an adolescent. Spartan warriors training at such an early age led to an army of skillful warriors. Their warrior society and dominance allowed the Greek city-states to rely on them in the battle against Persia. Spartan warriors had more defeats than losses. Battles also caused them to lose skillful men and leaders; however, compared to other armies, they had fewer warriors. Spartan warriors lived up to their fearless reputation even when they were defeated.


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  2. McLean, John. “Western Civilization.” Lumen Learning, Lumen,
  3. The Spartan Military, Unknown, 2012,
  4. Karnazes, Dean. The Road to Sparta. Rodale Books, 2016.
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Pros of Spartan Society: An Analysis of Military Power, Social Order, and Warrior Legacy. (2023, Aug 02). Retrieved from