Women get into the act

“Return with your shield or on it.” – supposed statement of Spartan mothers to their sons as they left for battle.

For when some woman, evidently a foreigner, said to [Gorgo, Leonidas' wife]: "You Laconian women are the only ones who can rule men," she replied: "That is because we are the only ones who give birth to men."   -- Plutarch, "Lycurgus"

After hearing that her son was a coward and unworthy of her, Damatria killed him when he made his appearance.."  -- Plutarch, "Sayings of Spartans"

When some woman heard that her son had been saved and had escaped from the enemy, she wrote to him: "You've been tainted by a bad reputation.  Either wipe this out now or cease to exist."    -- Plutarch, "Sayings of Spartans"

Asked once how far Sparta’s boundaries stretched, he brandished his spear and said: “As far as this can reach.” – Plutarch, “Sayings” quoting king Agesilaus, ca. 380BCE

When asked what form of training was most practiced at Sparta, he said: “understanding of how to take order and to give them.” – Plutarch, “Sayings” quoting Agis, king ca. 410BCE

It is said that on the eve of battle, [Dienekes] was told by a native of Trachis that the Persian archers were so numerous that their arrows would block out the sun. Dienekes, however, undaunted by this prospect, remarked with a laugh, 'Good. Then we will fight in the shade.'" – Herodotus, “History” bk. 7

The story is told of one [Spartan] at the Olympic Games who, when offered an immense sum of money refused it and with a great struggle beat his opponent in wrestling.  When he was asked: "What have you gained by your victory, Spartan?", he replied with a smile: "In battle against the enemy my place will be in front of the king."  -- Plutarch, "Lycurgus"

When someone was asking [Cleomenes son of Anaxandridas] why the Spartiates do not dedicate the spoils from their enemies to the gods, he said: "Because they come from cowards." ."  -- Plutarch, "Sayings of Spartans"

Last modified 15 Mar 14; original content © 2014 John P. Nordin