This is Sparta: Fierce warriors of the ancient world – Craig Zimmer

This is Sparta: Fierce warriors of the ancient world – Craig Zimmer

In ancient Greece, violent internal
conflict between bordering neighbors and war with foreign invaders
was a way of life, and Greeks were considered
premier warriors. Most Greek city-states surrounded
themselves with massive defensive walls for added protection. Sparta in its prime was a different story, finding walls unnecessary when it had an army of the most feared
warriors in the ancient world. So what was Sparta doing differently
than everyone else to produce such fierce soldiers? To answer that question, we turn to
the written accounts of that time. There are no surviving written accounts
from Spartans themselves, as it was forbidden for Spartans
to keep records, so we have to rely on those of
non-Spartan ancient historians, like Herodotus, Thucydides,
and Plutarch. These stories may be embellished and depict Sparta
at the apex of its power, so take them with a grain of salt. For Spartans, the purpose for their
existence was simple: to serve Sparta. On the day of their birth, elder Spartan leaders examined
every newborn. The strong healthy babies were considered
capable of fulfilling this purpose, and the others may have been left
on Mount Taygetus to die. Every Spartan, boy or girl,
was expected to be physically strong, mentally sharp, and emotionally resilient. And it was their absolute duty
to defend and promote Sparta at all costs. So in the first years of their lives, children were raised to understand that
their loyalty belonged first to Sparta, and then to family. This mindset probably made it easier
for the Spartan boys, who upon turning seven,
were sent to the agoge, a place with one main purpose: to turn a boy into a Spartan warrior through thirteen years of relentless,
harsh, and often brutal training. The Spartans prized physical perfection
above all else, and so the students spent a great deal
of their time learning how to fight. To ensure resilience in battle, boys were encouraged to fight
among themselves, and bullying, unlike today,
was acceptable. In order to better prepare the boys
for the conditions of war, the boys were poorly fed, sometimes even going days without eating. They also were given little
in the way of clothing so that they could learn to deal
with different temperatures. Spartan boys were encouraged
to steal in order to survive, but if they were caught, they would be disciplined, not because they stole,
but because they were caught in the act. During the annual contest of endurance in a religious ritual known as
the diamastigosis, teenage boys were whipped
in front of an altar at the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia. It was common for boys to die
on the altar of the goddess. Fortunately, not everything
was as brutal as that. Young Spartans were also taught
how to read, write, and dance, which taught them graceful control
of their movements and helped them in combat. While the responsibilities for the girls
of Sparta were different, the high standards of excellence and expectation to serve
Sparta with their lives remained the same. Spartan girls lived at home with
their mothers as they attended school. Their curriculum included the arts, music, dance, reading, and writing. And to stay in peak physical condition,
they learned a variety of sports, such as discus, javelin, and horseback riding. In Sparta, it was believed that only
strong and capable women could bear children that would one day
become strong and capable warriors. To all Spartans, men and women, perhaps the most important lesson
from Spartan school was allegiance to Sparta. To die for their city-state was seen
as the completion of one’s duty to Sparta. Upon their death, only men who died in battle
and women who died in childbirth were given tombstones. In the eyes of their countrymen,
both died so that Sparta could live.

100 thoughts on “This is Sparta: Fierce warriors of the ancient world – Craig Zimmer

  1. This is Sparta
    Won't keep u prisona
    History's Navy now
    They weren't kiddin wow
    Yeah yeah they were cold like that
    Babies thrown like yeah
    You so dead now yeah

  2. This was an excellent video, but I didn't like how after every time the word Spartan was used, a voice in the background yelled "sparta!". I understand the idea behind it, but it was slightly annoying.

  3. Aristotle talks about how Sparta had some of the most pampered women of the ancient world, and that how when the Thebians invaded, the women were so spoiled that they caused as much confusion to the state as the enemy. Funny how notions like these in history are white washed by liberal agendas for gender equality.

  4. If only the men who died in battle were given honorary tombstones and respect and whatnot, doesn't that mean all the soldiers would want to die and technically make Sparta's armies weak? I dunno just feels like that.

  5. Its awsome how we view sparta today as EPIC HEROS but back then they viewed sparta kinda like how we view north korea right now , maybe a north korea that was more threatining

  6. It's funny how literally everyone has their own conceived view of the Spartans and literally every view is they were the apex murder machines.

  7. Throwing kids was a myth it was done only if there was a heavy disease or a danger to the society nothing to do with physical attributes.

  8. Nonsense, your typical myths and Halo style soldiers, you want to know how the Spartans lived? Here:

    Don't be foolish by these propaganda myths!

  9. As a greek, i need to say that i love TED-ED & approve this video
    I would also like to add one thing ; The mothers in Sparta were very "hard" with their sons. They expected of them either to win or die in battle. Actually, there is a quote
    "Either you come to me a victor with your shield or dead on your shield "
    ἢ τὰν ἢ ἐπὶ τᾶς


  10. There is no evidence that the agoge entailed any extra combat training before the war with Athens, it was added later to perpetuate the "Spartan Myth". The battle of the hot gates was a complete failure which accomplished nothing(also there were 7000 other Greeks there on top of the 300), and they only beat Athens because democratic gridlock prevented Athenian generals from taking the action they needed to win the war, it had little to do with the strength of Spartan arms.

  11. Although you are not wrong, you paint a picture of Sparta that is not quite true. This very harsh lifestyle might have been a part of Spartas culture, but only in the very early days of the city. Most of the time Sparta existed, there education system was not different from the other citys. However Sparta had the "Spartain Myth". This Myth is exactly what you just told us about Spartan. Sparta spent time and resources to mentain this myth long after it was no longer true. They used propaganda so they would be feared and respected. This actually worked and gave them protection for quite a long time, so they never needed to build Protection as good as the Athens did. Spartan Myth might be cool, but it portraits the Spartans just like the pirates, vikings and samurai in a wrong way. crimes against history.

  12. Been there so many new things coming out to light about Sparta's contitution like women being the main bank, or they keping the properties of both their families and their dead husbands, or the massive amounts of helots slaves and more and more, I think making more videos about the mythic Sparta is just a waste. Anyway, great animations, love the series of short animated documentals

  13. Malnourishment and severe physical abuse almost to the point of death is not how you raise a strong and loyal army. Stunted growth and crippling injuries do not great soldiers make. I just do not believe this is how Spartan boys were raised. We have no records from Sparta itself, but from the Athenians who considered Spartans to be Barbarians. I have a sneaking suspicion they may have embellished the cruelty to contrast their superior ways against the incivility of Spartans, whom they looked down on.

  14. If the whole world now still use Spartan policies, we might live in the world of Warhammer 40k, in a society that we die for one thing

  15. And we know that it's just propaganda from Sparta… well, it's not originally from them but they went along with it cause they have slaves :]

  16. 🇬🇷 🇬🇷 🇬🇷 🇬🇷 💪💪💪💪💪💪🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷

  17. Childbirth was seen as painful and honourable as war?
    Wow… Glad that this ancient civilisation can understand that better than the average white male

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