No This is Sparta.
The Spartans were brave but it doesn’t take a tactical genius to stand in one place and die to the last man. I hate to say this but I always
finding it amusing when people all are Gung ho on the Spartans and using the quote "Molon labe” meaning "Come and take them" when referring to
second amendment rights. People seem to picture the Spartans as some kind of ancient chest thumping icon of manhood and freedom. If a movie was made
about the real Sparta it would look like a Gay North Korean Nazi police state.
Sparta was a military Oligarchy, almost bordering on a military dictatorship.
Sparta was the result of a social experiment lead by one man Lycurgus the Law Giver. He pretty much lead a bloodless coup and took over Spartan
Society. From there he set up a whole new social structure, took over all land in the name of the state, redistributed wealth, and printed up money
made out of cheap metal that was worthless outside of Sparta. He created a eugenics program to only breed healthy children and instituted wife
swapping to further that goal.
All for one and one for all literally. Children were the property of the State.
If your child was healthy it was taken from you to be raised by another family. If your child was not healthy or weak into the pit of Apothetae it
“In a word, he trained his fellow-citizens to have neither the wish nor the ability to live for themselves; but like bees they were to make
themselves always integral parts of the whole community, clustering together about their leader, almost beside themselves with enthusiasm and noble
ambition, and to belong wholly to their country.” 2
The Ruling class of males were the original 1 percenters with the majority of power being held by a few ruling families.
Lycurgus created the Gerousia.
The Gerousia was council of rich older men, over 60 years old who were voted in for life.
(Sounds a lot like the U.S. Senate)
"Theoretically, any Spartan citizen of the appropriate age could stand, but in practice members were selected from the most important aristocratic
families. While elections to the Gerousia were technically democratic, contemporary writers (such as the Stagirite philosopher Aristotle) considered
the fairness of the elections to be dubious at best" 1
The Spartan men spent their days training and hunting. All the farm work was done by the lower class of slaves, the Helots, who had no property and
few rights. The Helots outnumbered the Spartans by almost 20 to 1. Any revolt by the helots was put down quite easily by the Spartans who had the
military hardware and training to do it. Remember a spear, helmet and armor and a shield was an expensive undertaking at the time, only the upper
wealthy class could afford it.
And Spartan Soldiers were expected to provide their own.
Image being asked to join the army and bring your own Tank.
Thus the lower class Helots may have had access to farm tools but anything serious like spears and armor was out of their reach.
No Assault spears for you peons. The Spartans practiced strict arms control.
For the Helots the couldn't say “Molon labe”. They can't take it if you don't have it in the first place.
Oddly enough the Spartans didn't walk around in full armor and swords on their hips.
That was considered downright rude and uncivilized.
The didn't need weapons in the city, they had their own Secret Police, the Krupteia.
The Krupteia went around killing Helots inn the dark at random just to keep them in line.
That helped keep things calm in town.
The other thing people forget about the Spartans and Greek society at the time was concept of what modern society terms as “Homosexuality”.
I put the terms in quotes because in ancient Greek the idea of homosexuality really didn't exist.
In Sparta men had male lovers and women were for making babies. It was Ok for women to have lovers of the same sex also. But It was expected of men
and women to cast aside their lovers and eventually marry to create children for the state. If they failed to do so and kept literally screwing
around with their battle buddy they were shirking their duty to the state to produce healthy children. The Spartans only frowned upon the idea of
lovers serving together next to each other in battle.
Once you got older it was ok if you had a “Younger” pupil that you were helping “tutor”
Younger meaning 12 or so.
So every time I see a redneck with a Molon Labe t-shirt I just have to grin and wonder if they really know who they are quoting.
1. Cartledge, Paul. The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece. 2003. Vintage Books.
2. The Life of Lycurgus