Life in Sparta was almost a daily exercise in survival.
Sparta, a prominent city-state in ancient Greece from around 650BC, was largely a militarist state with strict fitness and strength regimes beginning virtually at birth. Newborn babies would be bathed it in wine to see whether the child was strong. If the baby survived it was brought before the Gerousia by the child’s father. If it was considered “puny and deformed”, the baby was thrown into a chasm on Mount Taygetos.
Effectively, this was a primitive form of eugenics – a practice which advocates methods of improving the genetic composition of a population.
At the age of seven, boys entered the Agoge system, which was designed to encourage discipline and physical toughness. They lived in communal messes and were underfed to encourage them to master the skill of stealing food. As well as physical and weapons training, the boys … Read more