Different priorities

| Comments (1) | Misc
When a young man dies in battle, we all agree that it's a bad thing, but it's generally considered particularly tragic if he leaves a family behind, especially if he has a young child. Apparently, things were somewhat different in Sparta:
In 480 the ephors sent Leonidas with the 300 men of an all-sire unit (soldiers who had sons to carry on their bloodline) and 6700 allies to hold the pass of Thermopylae against the hundreds of thousands of Persian soldiers who had invaded from the north of Greece under Xerxes.

What's interesting here is that it's not that the Spartans thought children were unimportant—quite the contrary—it's obvious they were incredibly important in some impersonal sense. It's just that the attitude seems to have been rather more instrumental.


i believe in Sparta that the young men (at least,
of the non-serf/slave-ish class) were raised
communally in a military-school-ish arrangement from
fairly early on, so a father didn't need to be
around to support his son materially. (don't know
where that'd leave his wife and any daughters. my
vague recollections, b/t/w, coming from Kagan's
Pelopponesian War book. wikipedia is probably a
better bet than my memory, however)

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