The ancient Spartans have been in history as the bravest warriors of antiquity.
The Spartan society was strictly militarist and the Spartans started their military training from childhood. At the age of seven already, the offspring of a Spartan family left his home and became part of a communal living and education system. As a member of a “herd,” he was inured from a really early age, he learned in deprivation and improved his body so that one day, he would become a brave warrior. The adolescent Spartan by learning to handle the spear, the shield and the sword, standing on the line, holding his seat and forming part of a powerful war machine, until the age of 18 had become a real warrior, liberated from all fear. The Spartans were horrific warriors, but most of the time their reputation – which preceded them – won the battle for them. Their opponents were often dismantled by their fear, even before the phalanxes came into contact.
Their characteristic saying “i tan i epi tas” (or this, or on this) is the words with which a Spartan mother farewell her son who left for war, giving him the shield, which means: either bring the shield back or they carry you on it. Hard words appropriate for a tough society like the Spartan. Besides, the coward who will abandon the line by throwing the heavy shield to run, the Ripsaspis as he was called, was an intruder of the Spartan society that had no place in Sparta.
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