The Spartan Agoge

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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 minimize the importance of family
  life….and to emphasize rather the cardinal and overriding
                 significance of communal ties.”
                          Paul Cartledge
The aim of the Agoge was the
       development of
      physical strength,
     Military prowess
     communal bonds,
  Discipline and obedience
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
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
• At 10 the boys took part in competitive exercises,
  music dancing and athletics
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
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
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 do this properly, older men
  would punish 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
  slaves they come upon
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.
Stage 6; 24-30
• At 24 the Spartan
  graduated from class
  and became a full time
  , front line soldier
     Values perpetuated of 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
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
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

				
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posted:11/4/2012
language:English
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