Spartan Society and the Agoge

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Last updated: May 29, 2019

What are the main features of the Spartan agoge and what did the agoge contribute to Spartan society? Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which completely focused on military training and excellence.

From the age of seven a Spartan boy would compete in a series of stages which help constructs the identity for which these Spartan warriors are known to be.With knowledge passed through such an education Sparta was able to produce a military force like no other. This education system was known as the agoge.

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With this education system it is a build up for physical, social, intellectual and moral education for these soldiers which overall construct an identity creating a sense of eunomia within the society and the fellow Greek states. The agoge was a system of features which correlate to the state of “eunomia” A balance of good order.The Agoge was designed in order to emphasize on eunomia within the city by encouraging discipline from the age of 7 which contributes to the state of eunomia.

This is emphasized by the amount of training due to the fact that for the next five years these Spartan boys were conditioned physically and mentally which overall defines what an ideal Spartan warrior were to be within that time period . Xenophon Constitution of the Lacedaimonians 2. 1 “[2. ] Lycurgus, on the contrary, instead of leaving each father to appoint a slave to act as tutor, gave the duty of controlling the boys to a member of the class from which the highest offices are filled, in fact to the “Warden” as he is called. He gave this person authority to gather the boys together, to take charge of them and to punish them severely in case of misconduct.

He also assigned to him a staff of youths provided with whips to chastise them when necessary; and the result is that modesty and obedience are inseparable companions at Sparta. http://ancienthistory. about.

com/cs/sparta/a/spartamilitstat_2. htm).With the discipline and physical components together they all had contributed fundamental elements which in the end lead to an incredible reputation of triumph and possessing such great dominance that enabled Sparta to be victorious and a very effective society for many centuries. This gave a mental mind map for the society of Sparta with the contribution the military forces had as a unique & distinctive structured city.

One of the ain purposes of the Agoge was to enhance Spartans to learn how to accept the responsibility Spartans had over Sparta and its people by showing the bravery and valor each soldier had. For Spartan warriors it was glorious to die in battle which clearly highlights another trait of loyalty and honour. Spartan boys also engaged in a strict, physical regimen that not all of them survived.

The accommodation for these boys was only made for the basic necessities for life on which these warriors would depend on.The boys were deliberately starved and just as deliberately encouraged to steal what they needed from the food stores of their schools. They were only punished if caught, but then the punishment was severe. “A man who intends to steal must stay awake at night, and deceive and lie in ambush during the day, and if he is to succeed he must have spies out. ” [Xenophon- Politeia of the Spartans.

11 5-6] It is clear that certain period in their training had physical & emotional effects that led to them learning survival techniques such as scouting, tracking, spying, ambushing and stealing food where they could.Having these responsibilities which not only a soldier carries but as an army, this education coming from the agoge generate a perspective on a soldier ability to be brave, valor and loyal intervene with the contribution to what these traits relate to within society which in the end create a sense of security and protection over Sparta. The whole education of the Spartan was designed to produce an efficient soldier consisting of physical and emotional morals which both are factors attaching itself to the state of eunomia along with various other traits.The aim of the agoge was to constantly keep in view of this as these qualities all together has its place in society. The sense of the physical & emotional state is emphasized by the agoge as it offered very little to these boys when training. “”They learned reading and writing for basic needs, but all the rest of their education was to make them well-disciplined and steadfast in hardship and victorious in battle. For this reason, as boys grew older, the Spartans intensified their training, cutting their hair short and making them used to walking barefoot and for the most part playing naked.

When the boys reached the age of twelve, they no longer had tunics to wear, but got one cloak a year. Their bodies were tough and unused to baths and lotions. They enjoyed such luxury only a few special days a year. They slept, in packs, on beds which they got together on their own, made from the tops of the rushes to be found by the river Eurotas. These they broke off with their bare hands, not using knives. ” http://hsc. csu. edu.

u/ancient_history/societies/greece/spartan_society/sparta_unbringing/ancient_sparta_upbringing. htm#Upbringing . This quote states how military emphasis is explained by Plutarch and how many of these soldiers considered this more of a trial by ordeal than an education which simply proved the test on physical and emotional morals to what the education system and spartas society saw as a hero. The Spartan agoge was designed to construct disciplined, brave, loyal, physically and emotionally strong warriors.With these features mixed together they create a sense of various views on Sparta and its society. Therefore the contribution the agoge has had on Sparta relates to what eunomia stands for the “balance of good order”. Good order is shown through Spartan characteristics which originate at the agoge itself.

Bibliography http://www. larkin. net. au/ah_hsc/Sparta/006_sparta_agoge. html Agoge – Spartan Military Training: Sparta took twenty years to create the perfect Hoplite Warrior http://www.

suite101. om/content/agoge-spartan-military-training-a15311#ixzz1664MnHYC http://www. associatedcontent.

com/article/470767/making_warriors_out_of_boys_the_spartan_pg2. html? cat=52 http://ezinearticles. com/? The-Education-Of-Sparta&id=844264 . ” http://ancienthistory. about.

com/cs/sparta/a/spartamilitstat_2. htm http://www. military-quotes.

com/forum/spartan-quotes-t31517. html Spartan Society Part 2: Aspects of social and economic life Spartan Society Part 1: Developing the framework of Spartan society.


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