Spartan Quotes

January 12th, 2007  
Duty Honor Country

Topic: Spartan Quotes

"The walls of Sparta were its young men, and its borders the points of their spears." King Agesilaos

"Either with it or upon it." Spartan mothers to their sons in regards to their shields.

"Because we fight close to the enemy." King Agesilaos when asked why their swords were so short.

"Add a step forward to it." A Spartan mother to her son when he complained his sword was too short.

"Because the latter they put on for thier own protection, but the shield for the common good of the whole line." King Demaratos in explaining why losing a shield was a dishonor while losing other equipment was not so.

"Son, remember your courage with each step." A Spartan mother to her son.

"Why is it you Spartan women are the only ones who rule over your men?" An Athenian Woman. "Because we are the only women too who give birth to real men." a Spartan woman.

"The Gods will take care of the Kings Army. King Demaratus at Thermopylae

"By Heracles! A man's valor is dead." Archidamus when he saw a catapult fire for the first time.

"Because fear makes each man do his best to shelter his unarmed right side with the shield of the man next to him, thinking that the closer the shields are locked together the better will he be protected." Thucydides on why hoplite armies edge to the right as the battle begins.

"In War." The inscription along with the name of the Spartan who died in combat. Spartans only got gravestones if they died in combat. Women got them if they died during child birth.

“States which are trained for nothing but war that, after they have acquired supreme power over those around them, they are ruined; for during peace, like a sword, they lose their brightness. This fault lies with the legestlator who never taught them how to be at rest.” Aristotle on why warrior societies will always fail.
January 12th, 2007  
Those are good ones, nice.
January 15th, 2007  
Very interesting quotes. Got any more?
January 16th, 2007  
Duty Honor Country
I had some really good ones directly translated from Greek but I returned the book to the library. They greatly described how Spartan youths would be wipped every year in a contest to see who could go the longest without making a sound or falling over. Many would die from the experience. It was said that Spartan mothers would not shed a tear if thier sons died in this manner.

"A standing institution in their Army, that has nothing to do with religion. Rather, it is intended to make them advance evenly, and in time, without breaking thier order, as large armies customarily do at the moment of battle." Thucydides explaining why Spartans marched slowly and to the tune of flutes in battle.

"Marry a good man, and bear good children." King Leonidas to his wife as he left for Thermopylae. She had asked him what she should do with herself.

"The event that caused more surprise amoung Hellenes (greeks) than anything esle that happened in the war." Thucydides on the surrender of a Spartan force at Spharcteria.

"In Lacedaimon [Sparta] are to be found those who are most enslaved and those who are the most free." Critias of Athens

"My Lord, you know that amoung living creatures it is the mighty ones that god strikes down with his thunderbolt, in envy of their excessive pride. It is always the large buildings and the tallest trees that are blasted by lightning. It's god's way to bring the lofty low...For god tolerates pride in none but himself." Artavanus to Xerxes

"The Spartans are the equal of any men when they fight as individuals; fighting together as a collective, they surpass all other men." Damaratus to Xerxes.

"My men have become women, my women men" King Xerxes reaction to a Greek female commander fighting for the Persians who esacpted capture at the naval battle of Salamis by ramming and sinking one of her own ships.

"When Leonides was killed at Thermopylae, Mardonius and Xerxes had him decapitated and his head stuck on a pole. If you now pay them back in kind, you will win the applause of not only Spartans but the whole of Greece. Impale Mardonius's body, and then Leonidas, your father's brother, will be avenged." Aeginetan to Lampon after the victory at Platea 479 BC.
November 10th, 2007  

Topic: Here's a quote from Thucydides

King Archidamus II of Sparta speaking:

"It is true that the ones who come out on top are the ones who have been trained in the hardest school." (Translated by Rex Warner)

This stuff never gets old. Last year, in my great books class, we were reading History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, and a Marines recruiter was on campus. I got some literature from him, and behold, on the inside of one of the booklets, there is this quote. It's really funny, because I tried out the Army ROTC, and the first class I went to on the Army code featured doctrines almost verbatim from Aristotle.
February 23rd, 2010  
There is a huge collection of Spartan Quotes on the ancient greek site. I think you can even get a widget to post on websites. Also I found a coin that has famous Spartan quotes on it at
May 18th, 2010  
This story is somewhat poorly remembered, but here it goes:

When Alexander the Greats father, Philip, was conquering in Greece, he was weary of the Spartans, even though their military might was much weaker than earlier in history. So, Philip decided to send the Spartans a letter, instead of attacking, hoping to reason with them and avoiding the possibility of being defeated by a much smaller spartan force. The letter sent read something like this: "If I enter Laconia, I will burn Sparta to the ground."

The reply from the spartans read as this: "If."

July 28th, 2010  
I would think there would be something regarding watching one's rear...
May 2nd, 2016  
The inscription along with the name of the Spartan who died in combat. Spartans only got gravestones if they died in combat. Women got them if they died during child birth.????


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