Sparta History Day

Sparta History Day - T he Spartan 300 I n 480 B.C., 300...

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The Spartan 300 In 480 B.C., 300 Spartans led about 1,000 allies against a Persian army of 250,000 at Thermopylae, a narrow mountain pass on the main coastal road into Greece. The Spartans held out for three days, killing 20,000 before their defeat. Their bravery against all odds raised Greek morale and led to Greece’s ultimate victory in the Persian War. If the Asian invaders had conquered Greece, many historians agree that democracy and the seeds of Western civilization would not have flowered later in Athens’ Golden Age (ca. 448-404 B.C.). The
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Spartans’ stand thus had a lasting, profound effect far beyond Greek shores. Military Mindset The society of Sparta, then Greece’s strongest city-state, was organized as a standing army. Long ago Spartans had
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invaded the Peloponnese peninsula and enslaved the native Greeks. These Helots (captives) often rebelled, so the Spartans had to remain war- ready. Slave labor freed the master class (Spartiate) from all work except warfare. They trained all their lives and considered self-sacrifice a heroic act. An Emerging Identity Hellas (Greece) was not unified. Many Greeks “medized,” or sided with the Persians. But Spartans abhorred rule by “barbarians” (non-Greeks). At a war council
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other city-states to form the Hellenic League. Sparta led the land forces but sent few men because others had to attend the Olympic Games in honor of Zeus. The Women Behind the Warriors Spartan women did not go to war, but their role was vital. Girls wore short skirts to exercise freely, grow strong, and bear healthy babies who would become good soldiers. Women told husbands and sons:
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Sparta History Day - T he Spartan 300 I n 480 B.C., 300...

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