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In its heyday, what was Sparta known for?

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Spartan warriors were some of the most feared men around in ancient Greece. Although they did actually practice philosophy and were engaged in arts and culture, they were primarily known for their rigid military system.

True or False: Spartan women were considered vastly inferior, and were not given the same freedoms as Spartan men.

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Women were incredibly important to Spartan society, not the least because they would be birthing and rearing a new generation of Spartan warriors. Women were educated and given immense freedoms for the time.

Who was the legendary lawgiver who helped organize the Spartan state?

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Before Lycurgus arrived on the scene, the Spartans were disorganized and nothing like the military power they would become. Lycurgus helped structure Spartan culture, birthing the classical Spartan period.

What city-state led the Delian League against Sparta in the Peloponnesian war?

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Athens was Sparta’s main rival for a long period in ancient Greece, and their military was almost a match for the Spartan warriors. In the Peloponnesian War, however, Sparta finally subdued Athens and its allies, kicking off an era of Spartan supremacy.

At what age were Spartan children removed from their homes to begin training?

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The Spartans started their warriors young: at the age of seven, children were taken from their homes to begin their training as fighters.
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What was the name of the school system that all Spartan boys had to attend?

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After being taken from their homes, young Spartan boys were placed in the agoge schooling system to learn fighting techniques, as well as subjects of arts and culture.

True or False: Spartans went into battle with bare chests.

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Despite their portrayal in Hollywood films, Spartans did not go bare-chested into battle. Instead, they actually wore full hoplite body armor.

How were Spartan kings treated?

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Spartans measured worth on the battlefield, not in gilded halls and crown jewels. Likewise, Spartan kings were seen as civilians, and were judged by the same laws as everybody else. No tyrant kings here!

What did Spartans make their coins out of?

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Since Spartans didn’t value material worth, they made their coins from iron instead of a precious metal. This also meant the coins were very heavy and difficult to steal—a double whammy!

What was NOT a way that Sparta punished cowards?

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As much of a punishment as government work might be, the Spartans didn’t punish cowards this way. However, they did sometimes force them to shave half their beards, kept them from marrying, and publically shamed them. Way harsh, Spartans.
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What formation did Spartans prefer to fight in?

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Spartan soldiers preferred fighting in a phalanx, a rectangular formation. They didn’t invent it, but they did pretty much perfect it.

True or False: The Spartan Cavalry also excelled on the battlefield.

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Although the Spartans made excellent foot soldiers, they spent most of their time perfecting this kind of warfare, and very little time on other formations or units.

What was long hair a symbol of in ancient Sparta?

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Long hair became such a Spartan trademark that the ancient Greeks started to see it as a sign of pro-Sparta sympathies. To the Spartans, though, it was just the symbol of a free man.

What was the Spartans’ main weapon?

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The Spartan weapon of choice was a Dory spear, which could be up to nine feet long and had an iron spearhead, along with a bronze butt-spike to balance out the weight of the deadly implement.

What was the Battle of Pylos famous for in Spartan history?

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Just the name “Sparta” would send shivers down the spines of the ancient Greeks, but the Battle of Pylos shook the Greek world, because it was here that the Spartans surrendered. It was previously believed that the elite warriors would never surrender.
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True or False: Spartans often swapped wives.

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Many historians consider Spartan culture polyamorous, as it wasn’t uncommon for the government to force a married but childless woman to bear another man’s child, since her husband clearly wasn’t fit to impregnate her. Additionally, some Spartans would “borrow” the wives of other men to bear their children if the woman had previously mothered strong children.

What is a helot?

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Spartan slaves were called “helots,” and they generally helped farm and perform the domestic labor needed to keep Sparta afloat while the warriors were off, well, making war.

What was the Spartan secret police called?

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The Krypteia would generally work to subdue the helots, or the Spartan slaves. If a helot started looking too physically fit, they would kill him so as to prevent a potential slave uprising.

True or False: Sparta was ruled by two kings from separate dynasties.

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The two Spartan royal houses were named Agiad and Eurypontid.

Spartans only gave grave headstones to which citizens?

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The Spartans were all about raising fearsome warriors, so they only honored those soldiers who died in battle, or women who died in childbirth (because they always needed more soldiers). Women who died after performing a divine duty were also given headstones.
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What was NOT a ritual Spartan boys went through?

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Being a Spartan was hard work. Not only were young children taken from their homes and put into military training, Spartan boys would often lash each other with whips to see who could endure pain the most. And they needed to be tough: by age 12, they were expected to survive in the wilderness alone. There was no time for fancy feasts!

What was another word for “Spartans”?

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Spartans have also been called Lacedaemonians, which is taken from the area where they settled. The word “laconic” was created to describe the terse Spartan wit.

What was the name of the elected body of Spartan government who balanced out the kings’ powers?

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If the Spartan kings were the presidents of Sparta, the ephors acted like The Senate, The House, and The Supreme Court of America all rolled into one, keeping the kings in check.

What was the name of King Leonidas’ legendary queen?

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Gorgo took full advantage of the freedoms offered to Spartan women, and was known even in her time to be an intelligent and worthy advisor to the men around her.

What battle is depicted in the Hollywood film 300?

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This legendary battle showcased the strength and bravery of the Spartan and Greek armies against the Persian Empire. Although it wasn’t an actual victory for Sparta, the 300 men who gave a last stand against Persia live on in legend.
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Who was the leader of the Persian Empire during the Battle of Thermopylae?

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Xerxes, the King of Kings of the Persian Empire, led forces against the Greek city-states in the Battle of Thermopylae in a bid to control the ancient world.

True or False: Spartan brides shaved their heads and dressed like men on their wedding night.

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Some historians suggest that Spartan warriors were so unused to the female form that they needed to be eased into the idea of intimate relations with a woman, leading the brides to shave their heads and wear men’s clothes on their wedding night. Anything for love, right?

In Spartan society, what was the role of the Perioikoi?

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The Perioikoi were of a separate class than the helot slaves, but they weren’t full Spartan citizens either. While a Spartan citizen was forbidden from performing any menial labor, the Perioikoi worked in trade and manufacturing.

What deity did Spartans believe they were descended from?

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The two royal houses of Sparta claimed lineage from Hercules, who, legend says, once sired the twin sons who would found the Spartan monarchy.

What was NOT another Greek city-state during the height of Sparta’s power?

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Persia was part of its own empire, but it was continually fighting for control of parts of ancient Greece, include the city-states.
About This Quiz
The ancient Greek city-state of Sparta was fiercely independent—and just plain fierce. They trained their boys from a young age into ruthless soldiers, developed warfare techniques that helped them dominate the battlefield, and even developed their politics out of what was in the best interests of their military. Tragically—though perhaps not for their enemies—their culture was in a decline by the Middle Ages, and they are now all but a memory outside of Hollywood blockbusters like 300. Peer into the past and show us what you know about the mighty Spartans.


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