Spartan Army Battle Procedure


Battle Procedure

The oldest age class of the army was mobilized by the ephors. The king sacrificed to Zeus and associated gods. If the sacrifice was propitious, the fire bearer took fire from the altar and led the way to the border, where the king sacrificed before crossing. The sacrifice was attended by the two ephors who accompanied the king on campaign. The king gave his orders to the senior officers present, after the sacrifice was over. The 418 orders were given in a top down hierarchy.

The king determined where to stop where to camp and selected the campsite on the march. The army exercised athletically both in the morning and in the evening during the camp. After the morning exercise, they had breakfast with the order of herald and relieved the outposts. 

Guards were posted for watching the camp in case of treachery by allies or slaves. Cavalries posted on high ground to watch for enemy. The army slept in groups of tent companions.

When the opposing armies had been close enough to be seen clearly, The Lakedaimonians practice to sacrifice a female goat to Artemis Agrotera, the goddess of chase. Then the king started singing one of the marching songs with accompaniment of hymn. It is a thing that great armies usually do as they close with the family therefore they may move on in line, save time and their ranks might not be broken. Even if the orders would given by the herald, in the battle the signals were given by trumpet because of the noise. If having achieved a local victory, they would wheel their line round the face left and began to roll up the enemy line by attacking it in flank. Punishments in the army were devised for extra sentry duty or carrying a heavy shield throughout the night.