preview

“To face the blood and the slaughter” Spartan Society and Values according to Tyrtaeus and Xenophon

Good Essays
“To face the blood and the slaughter” Spartan Society and Values according to Tyrtaeus and Xenophon

“No man ever proves himself a good man in war unless he can endure to face the blood and the slaughter, go against the enemy and fight with his hands.” The preceding was quoted from “The Spartan creed” by the poet Tyrtaeus. There are two authors in this primary resource reading which include Tyrtaeus as well as Xenophon, whom authored “The laws and customs of the Spartans”. These two works give great detail to the Spartan society. As history has presented it, Sparta was a smaller polis and yet was one of the most, if not most, influential societies in history. What we know of this culture comes to us from excavation of its
…show more content…
According to “Western Civilizations” volume I, chapter 3 “The Greek Experiment”, men over the age of 60 were elected to the gerousia; a counsel of 28 elders, which was the main policy making body of Sparta. These men were revered and yet even they paid homage to the elite warriors; even giving up their seats whenever courtesy was allowed. Tyrtaeus’ motives are clear here that to be brave and win in war was above all else in society. The same is still true in our culture’s today.

When women and men enter the army and make their way up the ranks by all the necessary works, they are given different statuses and markings. People are called general, commander and issued different insignia to be seen by all. Soldiers are respected and admired and just as in Spartan times when people would point to fallen hero’s tombs with pride, there is still that revelry today. A national cemetery is offered to those of the bravest and truest hero’s. Although, some views today could argue that just as the US is imposing on others and causing unjust wars for its own views; the Spartans valued and went to war just to obtain that highly- glorified status.

It was not enough in this reading to become the fastest, strongest, most handsome, powerful, or richest person. It was the acts perceived in war that were most important. In order to achieve
    Get Access