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The Spartan Agoge “ an endless series of official measures illustrating another general feature of Spartan organization, namely the concerted effort to.

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Presentation on theme: "The Spartan Agoge “ an endless series of official measures illustrating another general feature of Spartan organization, namely the concerted effort to."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Spartan Agoge “ an endless series of official measures illustrating another general feature of Spartan organization, namely the concerted effort to minimize the importance of family life….and to emphasize rather the cardinal and overriding significance of communal ties.” Paul Cartledge

2 Pericles’ Funeral Speech ‘There is a great difference between us and our opponents…in our education system. The Spartans from their earliest boyhood are submitted to the most laborious training in courage; we pass our lives without all these restrictions, and yet are just as ready to face the same dangers as they are…There are certain advantages, I think, in our way of meeting danger voluntarily, with an easy mind, instead of with laborious training, with natural rather than with state-induced courage….” Assess the usefulness and reliability of this source?

3 The aim of the Agoge was the development of physical strength, Military prowess communal bonds, Discipline and obedience


5 Stage 1 The first 6 years of a Spartan males life was spent under the supervision of his mother. This could be a valuable time for a mother to pass on the values of courage expected from sons of Sparta

6 Stage 2; 7-12 years This stage placed emphasis on developing strength and obedience The boys were enrolled in a barrack and split into companies and further divided into platoons A Paidonomos “ boy herdsman” ( trainer in chief) was put in charge and with the help of the Eirens( prefects over the age of 18) boys were drilled A t 10 the boys took part in competitive exercises, music dancing and athletics

7 Stage 3; 12-18 years This stage became even more harsh and disciplined At 12 the boys entered full training Reading and writing were taught 'no more than was necessary', but music and dancing were regarded as essential. Their hair was cut short and they were only permitted one garment for the year. They went barefoot and exercised naked They slept on a bed of rushes and were given very little food. It was believed that a simple diet produced taller and healthier people Stealing food taught them self reliance and they were only punished if careless enough to be caught. It was this harsh treatment that prompted Plato to speak of Sparta as a type of armed camp

8 Tests of Endurance One rite of passage undertaken by this age group was at the festival of Artemis Orthia, where boys were whipped while attempting to steal cheese from the altar

9 Edgar Degas

10 The Gymnopaediae During this religious 5 day festival, gymnastic competitions were linked to the boys training. The festival held in honour of those slain at the Battle of Thyrea included a battle of champions and young and old men alike sang of heroic deeds

11 Stage 4 18-20 years At this stage the emphasis on developing military skills, obedience and loyalty At 19 each boy was enrolled in the eiren class and one of their jobs was to train younger boys. If they did not to this properly, older men would rebuke them It is believed that an elite few of the 18 year old were selected to join the corp known as the Krypteia. They lived away from Sparta, living as isolated individuals, armed only with a knife and were forced to forage for themsleves. After dark however Plutarch says that they were allowed to kill any of the enslaved Helots that they come upon, although Plutarch questions the Lycurgan authorship of this reform


13 Stage 5 20-24 At this stage the young Spartan became a combatant but not a first line soldier. The young man could marry if he chose to but was restricted to barrack life. He was forced to meet his wife in secrecy.

14 Stage 6; 24-30 At 24 the Spartan graduated from class and became a full time, front line soldier

15 Secular Values perpetuated by the Agoge “It is a fine thing for a brave man to die when he has fallen among the front ranks while fighting for his homeland. Let us fight with spirit for this land and let us die for our children, no longer sparing our lives. Make the spirit in your heart strong and valiant, and do not be in love with life when you are a fighting man.” Tyrtaeus

16 Role of the Syssition “ Boys also used to come to these public messes, as if they were attending schools of sobriety; there they would listen to political discussions and see instructive models of free behaviour. There they themselves also become accustomed to sport and jest without displeasure The dining groups were undoubtedly meant to consolidate society and preserve its traditions The citizens were called homoioi( equals), and the mixed age groups within the groups served to homogenise ( Powell ) the group. Potential dissension would be restrained by the transmission of the older men’s wisdom

17 Stage 7 30-60 years For the next 30 years the Spartan was eligible for full time military service He no longer lived in the barracks and could live openly with his wife and family If he was not married at this stage he was forced to. He was allowed to grow his hair He entered full citizenship and took his place in the Assembly ( Apella) All meals were taken in the syssition with his comrades At age 60 he became officially retired and was eligible for election to the Gerousia

18 Historians on the significance of the Agoge. “ …their whole education was aimed at developing smart obedience, perseverance under stress and victory in battle.” Plutarch “ Sparta had a common way of life based on a common education and training, a shared way of life and an equal standard of living.” D H Kelly “ For its principal aim and function, admirably served by the helot culling, was to initiate the boys and youths into Spartan manhood in such a way that they internalised the values of the adult citizen warriorhood.” Cartledge

19 Kendall; The Gymnasium of Virtue Kendall rejects past assessments of the Agoge and suggests that the Lycurgan reform was merely the institutionilized religious festivals where whipping ordeals and competitions were designed to inspire warrior traits. He claims that no archaeological evidence exists outside the religious association. He attributes the more traditional Agoge features to the reign of Cleomenes 111. The suggestion is that it is the Roman Agoge which adhered more to the Plutarch style of education

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