Did Sparta Achieve Her Goal Essay, Research Paper
Did Sparta Achieve Her Goal?
Sparta is the most formidable city known in history. Famous for her impressive military power, she proved that strength didn t lie in numbers, it lay in Spartan discipline. Sparta started out as a small city fighting only to survive against enemy invaders. Her goal was to avoid defeat from other city-states and she very nearly succeeded in achieving it. Using self-denial, strong discipline and harsh training, Sparta focused almost all her attention on achieving her goal. Known as the tamer of men , her strength made all but Spartan men shrink in fear. However, Sparta did not wage war any more lightly then any other army, she simply waged it better. Despite the cold, military driven surface, Sparta often engaged in merriment. Festivals were celebrated with vigor, men were good to their families and their women were renowned for their beauty. Nevertheless, they always refused to become distracted from their purpose. Civil wars and ancient rivalries made it painfully clear that Sparta had no intention of allowing Athens or any other rival take over. However, she was still quite willing to join arms with the same rivals to fight off foreign invaders. When Greece was threatened by Persia, Sparta halted her competition with Athens and relentlessly fought back the enemy forces. After her triumph over the Persians, Sparta s temporary peace with Athens was short-lived. The Greeks soon returned to their petty affairs. For 75 years Sparta and Athens fought for supremacy. Eventually, Sparta won, but in doing so she finally allowed all of Greece to witness her tragic flaw. Militarily, Sparta was more than impressive. However, in many of the city-states she now had in her power, she set up harsh discipline and dictatorships. This proved that Sparta s weakness lay in organizing peace among her new found successes. When the disaster of Sparta s catastrophic defeat from little Thebes reached her people, they continued to celebrate their Youth Festival refusing to show any emotion-this was still Sparta. It would be long before Sparta would fade away, but nevertheless she quietly withered away; ironically still displaying the quiet, stubborn Spartan discipline. Her goal of surviving against all other forces was so close to being attained but she made a small but dire mistake. Foolishly underestimating the power of Thebes, Sparta failed to see that Thebes was incredibly similar to her younger self. Sparta began as a small city merely waging war in order to survive; Thebes had the same motivation for war, except that their key to survival was to knock out Sparta. In the end, Sparta died away with no fanfare or glory, only to be reborn in 1850 as a gentler, tamer Sparta. Unlike other great cities, Sparta left behind no extraordinary architectural achievements. Her quiet but stubborn discipline still echoes around the ruins of ancient Sparta- little more than crumbling stones. “Sparta s legacy is to be found in an ideal, and if we try to sum up what made her immortal, it would be character .” If we try to answer whether or not Sparta achieved her goal, the answer is no.