Life in Sparta

SPARTA

Life in Sparta

From the moment of a Spartan girl or a boy came into the world, the military and the city state were the center of every Spartan citizen’s life. Both male and female babies were determined by city state if they were strong enough to be Spartan citizens. If the infants were too week or sick, they were abandoned in the country side to die. This was a very common thing in the Greek world because Sparta made it an official government policy.

When a male Spartan was at the age of seven, he was taken from his mother and sent to live in special military barracks for twenty three years. In these barracks they were taught discipline, athletics, survival skills, hunting, weapons training and how to endure the pain. At the age of twenty in the barracks, the male Spartans become soldiers for the state.

The life of a Spartan soldier was with his soldiers. He ate, slept and trained with them. They were allowed to marry, but couldn’t live with their wives. Only equals were allowed to live with their wives and children. Equals were the soldiers who reached thirtieth age, but if any soldier who disgraced himself in any way was risked not becoming an equal. 

They were granted expanded rights and allowed to participate in politics. However equals were still soldiers. Military service was required until age sixty.

However this soldier centered state was the most liberal state in regards to the status of women. While women didn’t go through military training, they were required to be educated along similar lines. 

The Spartans were the only Greeks not only to take seriously the education of women; they instituted it as state policy. 

This was not, however, an academic education (just as the education of males was not an academic education); it was a physical education which could be grueling. 

Infant girls were also exposed to die if they were judged to be weak; they were later subject to physical and gymnastics training. 

This education also involved teaching women that their lives should be dedicated to the state. In most Greek states, women were required to stay indoors at all times (though only the upper classes could afford to observe this custom); Spartan women, however, were free to move out and had an unusual amount of domestic freedom for their husbands, after all, didn’t live at home.

Life in Sparta