in case you thought sparta had no flair for the dramatic, keep in mind they were banned from the olympics in 420 for political reasons… but some guy entered his four horse chariot anyway under an assumed name and then made a big show of throwing off his disguise when he won and claimed his prize as a spartan
then the judges disqualified him and also had him whipped which is one exception to the rule that corporal punishment is for slaves only
Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, threatened Sparta with: “…if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.” The Spartans simply replied with a single word: “If.” Neither Philip nor Alexander attempted to capture the city.
This cool image shows the snow-capped peaks of Taygetos Mountains in Sparta, Greece, seemingly engulfed in flames.
What looks like flames are actually clouds- cumulus clouds to be exact. The clouds are being illuminated by the setting Sun. The effect is magnified by the fact that the west facing flank of the Taygetos is already in darkness creating this lovely visual effect.
had a dual kingship: Sparta
was ruled by two kings at the same time, one from the family of the Agiads and
one from the Eurypontids. Both believed to be directly descended from Heracles.
For example, the king who ruled with the famous Leonidas (an Agiad) was
had long hair: As soon as they
had grown up, Spartans wore their hair long. According to Xenophon in his Lakedaimonion Politeia (Constitution of
the Spartans) they did so to appear taller and more intimidating. They also had
the custom of grooming their hair before battle.
3) Religion: The Spartans were said to be exceptionally pious. One
of their main gods were Castor and Polydeukes, the twin sons of Zeus. They held
them in such great honor that the phrase “by the two gods” (=Castor and
Polydeukes) was a typical Spartan saying. And since they spoke a different dialect than the
Athenians, they pronounced the names of the gods differently too. For example,
Athena was called Atana and Zeus Zan.
4) Surrender: Despite their reputation that they would never
surrender, they did just that at the battle of Sphacteria in 425 BCE. According
to Thucydides in his Peloponnesian War,
one of the Spartans who surrendered said they did so because they were fought
by men with arrows and stones and that it was just by luck that a man would
live or die, i.e. they had been worn out psychologically.
during Roman times: At
the time of the Roman era Sparta had long lost its former glory. During the
second century CE, when Pausanias visited Sparta, the city had been turned into
a kind of memorial of their glorious past. Roman tourists would come to Sparta to
witness a ritual where Spartans youths would be whipped at the altar of Artemis
Orthia. In Roman times this ritual had turned into a brutal spectacle.
Laconian marble grave relief depicting two enthroned heroes receiving offerings from (far smaller) worshipers. Artist unknown; ca. 550-530 BCE. Found at Chrysapha, near Sparta; now in the Altes Museum, Berlin.