The Importance of the Spartan Army

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The Spartan army was significant in all aspects of the society. The army was the basis of which Sparta developed into the state known all over the world. It impacted their lives spiritually, politically and socially. Its army was fundamental for the running of the town. Sparta wasn’t always the great nation of military denomination. ‘Sparta lost the Battle of Hysiai to Argos in 669BC and long remembered the humiliation (Brian Brennan, Spartan Society). This defeat led to the reforms made by Lycurgus, to transform Sparta into the militaristic state that is idealized today. ‘Lycurgus changed all the laws……. established military organisation, the division, companies of thirty and the messes also known as the syssitia (Herodotus, The histories, Book 1,65). The reforms made by Lycurgus were enforced after conquering the Messenians. Post- conquer the Spartan army gained confidence and power. The changes entitled the Spartan army to solely focus on military training, the agoge and other pre-requisites of becoming a Spartiate. This dominance led to the helots (original inhabitants of Laconia) becoming agricultural slaves. While these Spartan warriors (hoplite) were training or at war, the helots were looking after their land, allowing the Spartiates to keep their monthly contributions to the syssitia. The power given to the Spartiates proves that their importance in society was extreme as they didn’t participate in daily activities. Having total control over the helots, keeping them under constant surveillance incase of revolt outlines their superiority. ‘Worked for individual Spartiates on their estates….Spartans believed themselves to be superior’ (Antiquity 2, Chapter 3). Due to the Spartan society’s fascination and determination to be the greatest militaristic state, the agoge evolved. The official agoge started at the age of 7. The intensity of the educational system

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