10 Fun Facts You Need to Know About Sparta
Ready for lightning-fast laser-gun-like blasts of historical trivia right to your thinking organ? You are?
Then buckle your seatbelt, put your baseball cap on backwards, and pump up the stereo, as we drive you headlong into 10 Fun Facts You Need to Know About Sparta.
1) Sparta was supposed founded in 900 BC ish. It was a city-state and also the ancient capital of a region of Greece called Laconia.
2) Sparta had not one, but two kings. The thing is, Sparta itself was really ruled by five Eiphors and a Senate of thirty men, so the Kings spent most of their time leading their armies to war instead.
3) A Spartan woman had more freedom and could do way more exciting stuff than any other Greek woman. They could do all sorts of complicated business things, like inheriting land. They could also demand that their husbands came back from war either carrying their shields or being carried upon them (i.e. dead). Which is pretty hardcore.
4) The first female Olympic Champion hailed from Sparta. Normally women weren’t allowed to compete in the Ancient Olympics but Cynisca managed it by being the owner and manager of the winning team in the chariot race.
5) The Spartans fought in one of the most famous battles ever, the Battle of Thermopylae.
6) When Spartan babies were born they would be checked for any frailties and weaknesses. If any were found then the poor baby would be lobbed off the top of Mount Taygetos.
7) From the age of 7, Spartan boys were trained to be warriors in the Agoge. It was a bit like school for soldiers. They finished their training by having to steal some cheese whilst being whipped. Both fun and educational.
8) Spartan soldiers were called Hoplites. These formidable warriors were only allowed to marry from the age of 30, before that time they would have to live in barracks with the rest of the boys. There's no historical evidence for this but I bet those barracks smelt of body odour, Lynx deodorant, and despair.
8a) Fun bonus fact: Hoplites could only retire from active duty at the ancient age of 60. Chances are they would die a glorious death in battle long before then.
9) The Spartans had lots of slaves, they were called Helots. The Helots did pretty much everything, leaving the Spartans loads of free time to practise marching, killing, and ab crunches.
10) Weirdly, despite loving violence, Spartans were also super into their music. They had famous musicians who would tour the land playing their latest hits. The Spartans even marched into battle accompanied by music, it’s like they had their own theme song!