Re: History of the Spartans
Posted By: heroDate: 11/5/01 2:38 a.m.

In Response To: History of the Spartans (Inverted Sock Puppet)

: Ok, I don't know if any of this has been said before (or if anyone cares),
: but I did a term on the Spartans last year in school.

: Basically the Spartans are the freaks of the Roman Empire, they were easily
: the best warriors of their time. The Spartan children were brought up in a
: normal way during their time up until the age of 9, when they were put in
: training camps. They lived in camps and trained until they were about 20
: (not really sure on that), and then tried to join the army. There were
: essentially clans in the army and you were forced to join one of these if
: you wanted to be in the army. The problem was that you had to be voted
: into a clan, so if they didn't vote you in, tough luck. Once you retired
: form the army you were given a wife and told to have however many children
: they wanted you to have, and basically worked on a farm until you died.

: There are some other interesting facts about the Spartans though: * The
: Spartans didn't socialise well with people that were not Spartans, and
: were basically considered the outcasts of the Empire.
: * Many historians believed that as a general rule the Spartans were
: homosexuals. They think this because every boy was surrounded only by men
: from the age of 9, until they retired. Also the women were made to look
: like men, they had to have very short hair, they were allowed to wear no
: make-up, etc.
: * The Spartan's city-state (Sparta) was inland, and deep inside the Roman
: Empire, so basically there was very little chance of being attacked, but
: no one was willing to attack the place where all those freaks came from,
: so there was almost no chance of them being attacked. But still, the
: fanatical Spartans had their city arranged in roughly a circular shape,
: with the merchants on the outside, then the slaves, then the weapon
: makers, then in the middle themselve. This was so that if anyone attacked,
: they would have to wade through the masses of peasants before they
: actually got to the Spartans.

: So, there you go. I don't know why Bungie chose to name their suits SPARTAN,
: but it fits the profile of a mass murdering marine (master chief,
: whatever).

1) Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece. (think this has been said already...)

2) Your social description is relatively accurate. The Spartans WERE the badasses of ancient Greece--because they lived for war:

At birth, babies were "culled"--those with disabilities or sicknesses were left in the wilderness to die. Spartan citizens were taken from their parents at a young age and put in boarding schools. There they were organized into social units of around 100 in number. These units were kept intact throughout their training all the way to the battlefield. The men in the Spartan phalanx had known and worked with each other from their childhoods. Food was tough but nourishing--heavy bread with a thick, dark bean soup-like thing. The food adolescents were given was just below sustenance level, with the intent that these trainees would learn to forage, steal, and scrounge their survival. Interestingly, the assumption was that they would steal, but punishment for stealing was harsh. For that fact, all punishments were harsh in ancient Sparta--so much so that during Roman times Sparta became a bit of a tourist magnet, with rich Roman citizens coming to the city to see flailings and other such cruelties.

Homosexuality developed out of the "mentorship" institution--where Spartan late adolescents/young adults graduated from their childhood boarding houses and prepared to enter Spartan society. They found themselves a respectable Spartan citizen and developed deep, paternal relationships with them; learning all aspects of life in general and Spartan life in particular. Homosexuality wasn't the rule, but neither was it exceptional. In fact, it was officially deemed honorable to have a homosexual relationship with your mentor. It was after their mentorships that they were voted into the clans--usually their mentor's clan.

A final interesting note is that the Spartan society was built on slave labor. The original inhabitants of the area were enslaved when the Spartans moved in and built their city; these original inhabitants became a slave majority called the "helots." The helots were the workforce which provided the food supply for the citizen Spartans--who spent their time training for war, as described above. This was partly out of necessity, because the helots were always ready to revolt. In fact, part of Spartan training involved letting the trainees run wild and terrorize/kill/maim/rape the helot population.

3) Although the Spartans were excessively cruel to others (e.g. the helots) it has been noted that this cruelty was applied even to their own population. I guess it could be said that they were... intense people. I'd hardly say that your "mass murdering marine" is an accurate portrayal of either the ancient Spartans or the Master Chief. I haven't got TFoR but I believe that the SPARTANS are being trained for war, not genocide. There is a marked difference between training someone to be the ultimate soldier and training someone to be a psychotic killer. And as far as the ancient Spartans...one must remember the times in which they lived. Alot of what we now view as barbaric was then within honorable conduct, especially during war.

4) On a similar note, I believe Bungie is trying to communicate the rigorous training regime and social values of the ancient Spartans in their choice of names. These SPARTANS have been severed from normal social ties and in place given a total institution, run by the government(?). Just like their ancient namesakes, the SPARTANS probably place the State above their Lives.

There's the famous story of the second Persian invasion by the Persian emperor Xerxes. Xerxes sent ambassadors to all the Greek city-states with demands of earth and water--the symbolic representation of submission on land and sea. Athens treated their envoy with tirades and speeches and sent them back. The ambassadors who were sent to Sparta were not so lucky. They were thrown down a well with the remark that at the bottom they would find plenty of both earth and water. The resulting invasion led to Thermopolye (sp?).


I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh.
I have been called a hundred names and will be called a
thousand more before the world goes dim and cold.
I am hero.

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Pre-2004 Posts


History of the SpartansInverted Sock Puppet 11/1/01 11:59 p.m.
     Re: History of the SpartansHarry 11/2/01 11:13 a.m.
           Re: History of the SpartansTynskel 11/2/01 12:21 p.m.
                 Re: History of the SpartansInverted Sock Puppet 11/2/01 10:57 p.m.
     Re: History of the Spartanshero 11/5/01 2:38 a.m.
           Re: History of the SpartansInverted Sock Puppet 11/5/01 7:41 p.m.
           Re: History of the SpartansCypriana22 9/12/03 6:18 p.m.
                 It won't stop! What the hell is this? *NM*Boomer 9/12/03 7:37 p.m.
           Re: History of the SpartansAnnie 11/23/03 8:32 p.m.
                 Re: History of the SpartansSpeaker-To-Animals 11/23/03 9:07 p.m.
                 Re: History of the Spartanselliott 11/24/03 6:54 a.m.
                 Re: History of the SpartansScifiteki 11/24/03 11:13 a.m.
                       L.O.L. *NM*D-M.A. 11/25/03 7:33 a.m.
                 Re: History of the SpartansScifiteki 11/24/03 11:42 a.m.
     Re: History of the SpartansTony Hawk 10/10/03 8:54 a.m.
           Re: History of the SpartansScifiteki 10/10/03 4:57 p.m.
                 Cheers for calling this one sci ;) *NM*zudo 10/11/03 3:02 a.m.
           Re: History of the SpartansSpeaker-To-Animals 10/10/03 6:53 p.m.
     Re: History of the SpartansRenos 12/6/03 2:41 a.m.
           ouch!elliott 12/6/03 6:24 a.m.
           Re: History of the SpartansSpeaker-To-Animals 12/6/03 5:35 p.m.

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