TRAINING THE ARMY
Ancient Sparta had the best trained army of its time. It was feared all across Greece as a military power. The soldiers went through the hardest tests in order to become brave and powerful warriors of the mighty and powerful Spartan army.
Before training even started, as son as a boy in Sparta was born it was judged by a committee of elders to see if it was good enough to become a Spartan warrior. If it was declared unfit or too weak to become a Spartan it was thrown off a cliff: ending his short life. However, even if the baby survived that, the tests did not stop there. Mothers did not use water to bathe their little children, but wine. They used wine to test the babies’ strength, for it is believed that sick and weak babies went into convulsions from this and died. This was also believed to have toughened the babies and made them stronger. Then care of the babies was giving to the nurses. Spartan nurses were very skilled and took great care of the children. The nurses molded the babies not to be picky about their food and to have no fears. These nurses were so good that many foreigners wanted them to raise their children.
When the children reached the age of seven they were immediately put under direct control of the city. They remained under control of the city until their death. From this age they were raised in packs of children. They went through severe training to make them well-disciplined, steadfast through hardships and battle, and obedient. If they broke rules or laws they would be punished by whipping. They were deliberately deprived of enough food so they would be forced to steal more, but if they were caught stealing they were whipped severely. Also, the separate packs of boys were matched against each other in violent games and in fights. This training prepared the boys to take part in the powerful Spartan army, and become some of the fiercest fighters around.
When they reached the age of twenty, which they considered manhood, their training became geared more towards military. It also became extremely intense and hard. One test, which occurred on the festival of the goddess Artemis Ortheia, was where they had to try to grab as many cheeses as possible from the steps of the altar to the goddess while guards whipped them as hard as possible. Unfortunately not all of the boys survived this test. Another test was the Krypteia, period of hiding, during which the boy had to live alone and under cover in the countryside. These hard, grueling tests made them tough and fierce. And allowed the Spartan army to become feared and the toughest army around.