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Thread: Why do so many people love Sparta ?

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  1. #1

    Default Why do so many people love Sparta ?

    Seriously, I don't get it, why does so many people like Sparta this much ? Yes spartan warriors were great. But they were as great as a lot of other warriors.

    My point is that Sparta was a vile nation. Just the Krypteia is proof enough of how horrible and superior to all they thought themselves. Giving a knife to a boy and giving him the right to kill any slaves just for fun...

    Babies that weren't born as healthy as required from a warrior point of view were left to die or just plainly put to death...

    Except from the fact that they were (and even that can be argue) a military force to be reckon, I find that other Greek nations are really much more interesting than Spartia...

    Am I missing something here ?
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  2. #2
    Mary The Quene's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    What people alway seems to forget about sparta that they've accepted persian money to build a fleet in the peloponessian war against Athens and her allies

    and they certainly weren't the best soldiers in 375 BC at the battle of Tegyra the thebans pushed out the spartans (2000 soldiers strong) with barely 300 soldiers under the lead of Pelopidas

    it seems alot of people forget this fact because it gets overshadowed by Thermopylae (and the movie of it)
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    You need to watch 300 fast

    Well I am guessing from the movies to Sparta being the first military state in Greece (or am I wrong and full ? I did state in Greece, not the world).

    Also something about them protecting the West from the East, I am not too sure about this one. Oh and there is Gods of War.

    Most people don't know about Battle of Leuctra, so many still think Sparta was undefeated (I am one of those people that tell people otherwise that Sparta was mediocre at best in war).

    Go Persia!!!!!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan999 View Post
    You need to watch 300 fast
    I watched 300... but I ranked it as a fictional movie

    Correct me if I'm wrong but there were a lot of Greek nations way east of Sparta "protecting" the west no ?
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    They were the Don Bradman of classical Hellas, (whats the US equivalent? Ty Cobb? 50's-60's Celtics?), they won a lot and earned a mystic aura, but weren't really nice guys.

    They did rid a lot of Hellas of Tyrants, preffering stable selfish oligarchies.

    As for taking the Great King's money, pretty much every Helenic state east of Korkyra did that if they had a chance.

    Their militarised society seems pretty nasty and involved wholesale slavery and a lot of personal cruelty to turn out those admired hoplites. Once again, other Hellenic states had slavery and used their slaves meanly: there's episode in Magna Graeca, maybe Sybaris? where the enslaved citizens of a defeated polis were herded into a field and raped or murdered as the individual victors saw fit.

    Theres also the acusations of pederasty, a vile crime in our eyes but in its day not unknown in many societies and certainly found in Hellas, especially Crete.

    Overall I'd say the Spartans were admired for their military effectiveness. They also seemed to cultivate a simple direct manner of speech, different to most talkative Hellenes, that distinguished them also.

    However its fair to say they have a crueler and more disgusting society than most Hellenes around them, sharing some of the same qualities but emphasising some pretty cruel aspects.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    I don't know that is why I said I am not sure about them protecting west from East.

    (wait when you say far east Greek nations, are we talking about the Ionian city-states? cause they lost after a short war with Persia since the Lydians lost).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan999 View Post
    I don't know that is why I said I am not sure about them protecting west from East.

    (wait when you say far east Greek nations, are we talking about the Ionian city-states? cause they lost after a short war with Persia since the Lydians lost).
    In the period after the peloponessian war I'm pretty sure Athens took Persian money to oppose Sparta, Thebes and Makedon. Argos maintained a suspicious nuetrality in the Persian invsion, Thebes and Makedon actually sided with the Great King, they were all in it for themselves and Medising was the default alternative to hegemony.
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    Mary The Quene's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    In the period after the peloponessian war I'm pretty sure Athens took Persian money to oppose Sparta, Thebes and Makedon. Argos maintained a suspicious nuetrality in the Persian invsion, Thebes and Makedon actually sided with the Great King, they were all in it for themselves and Medising was the default alternative to hegemony.
    ehm no sparta received money from acheamenid empire and made treaties with them to oppose athens

    http://www.livius.org/pb-pem/pelopon...r/war_t11.html
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    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Antiochus IV Epiphanes View Post
    ehm no sparta received money from acheamenid empire and made treaties with them to oppose athens

    http://www.livius.org/pb-pem/pelopon...r/war_t11.html
    Not sure what your point is? Sparta did take the Great King's coin but they're hardly Robinson Crusoe.

    Several Poleis and Basileus openly allied with the Great King at various times and others acted in Persia's interests (such as when Thebes, Athens, Argos and others stabbed Agesilaus in the back when he was preparing a major campaign against Asia Minor, the Coronea campaign IIRC).

    Sparta had strong infantry that triumphed often, and were admired for their seemingly altruistic intervention in other states politics to remove tyrants. This admiration was tempered by distrust of their behaviour after the Peloponessian wars but the aura of greatness remains to this day, and they have inspired Roman Emperors, Nazi tyrants and (a quick glance at wiki shows) also kibbutzim, French philosophers and Italian political writers.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    I was talking about Seleucid, Pontus, Armenia etc... they were all culturally eastern-greeks no ?
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoHungover View Post
    I was talking about Seleucid, Pontus, Armenia etc... they were all culturally eastern-greeks no ?
    I was talking about pre-Greco persian war and pre-Alexander.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Because it was the strongest and most prestigious state in Greece, prior to the Athens of Pericles at least.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Because of 300 obviously.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    I would argue Gods of War had an even bigger impact

  15. #15

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Such a unique state even by ancient Greek standards, that was so influential in military history.. it's hardly surprising that Sparta is one of the more studied areas of history despite their small size and lack of the enduring monuments or literature that Athens, for example, bequeathed to posterity.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Because of the comic and then the film 300. When the comic appeared there was interest in Sparta but it was the movie that really blew it up. The fanciful fights and the stylistic feel made it a hit at the box office and thus the Spartan fandom was born.

  17. #17
    Feanaro Curufinwe's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    I think the Spartan ''obsession" does in fact predate 300, both the comic and the film adaptation (Both awful at best if you ask me) because people are fascinated by warrior cultures. But to say they were more cruel than the other Greeks of the time is probably an exaggeration. I'd say they were the more ''humane" side in the Peloponnesian War (But that's probably because Athens was even nastier during that war).
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    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Wasn't the spartan phalanx failing in one battle during the Peloponnesian War and then the Spartans broke ranks and used melee sword combat against the Athenians and won? What does that say about the Spartan hoplites? Are they good or bad? Another noticeable thing is that it seems the Thebans and the peoples of Boetia might have put up a better fight against Athens.

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  19. #19
    Manuel I Komnenos's Avatar Rex Regum
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    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
    What does that say about the Spartan hoplites? Are they good or bad? Another noticeable thing is that it seems the Thebans and the peoples of Boetia might have put up a better fight against Athens.
    Yes, because the Athenians did not even dare to challenge the Spartan phalanx in a large battle. They only chose to face them when they were at great disadvantage (see Sphacteria) or in campaigns abroad, like in Amphipolis, where only a fraction of hoplites participated. It should be pointed out though that the hoplites used by Sparta in such campaigns were Lacedemons, not Spartans (not homioi, but perioikoi). It's quite amazing that the spartan phalanx proved to be such a deterrence factor due to its fighting ability that it saw no significant action, like it would later, in the Corinthian War or the war against Thebes.
    Last edited by Manuel I Komnenos; November 22, 2013 at 07:37 PM.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Why does so many people love Sparta ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel I Komnenos View Post
    Yes, because the Athenians did not even dare to challenge the Spartan phalanx in a large battle. They only chose to face them when they were at great disadvantage (see Sphacteria) or in campaigns abroad, like in Amphipolis, where only a fraction of hoplites participated. It should be pointed out though that the hoplites used by Sparta in such campaigns were Lacedemons, not Spartans (not homioi, but perioikoi). It's quite amazing that the spartan phalanx proved to be such a deterrence factor due to its fighting ability that it saw no significant action, like it would later, in the Corinthian War or the war against Thebes.
    The deterrence factor was however in reverse as well, since Sparta could ill afford to lose those guys in essence throwing a tantrum over losing a mere 120 of them at Sphacteria. The "no significant action" was not solely because none wanted to fight them but also because Sparta couldn't afford to lose them, rather sending a small number of them alongside some other force.
    The question is then if that true Spartan phalanx ever formed in those days or if we wrongly assume the warrior caste of a society would ever be used in this manner when that rarely was the plan to begin with.
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