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THE BATTLE OF THE 300 CHAMPIONS

The Battle of the 300 Champions was fought around 546 BC, between Argos and Sparta after Sparta had surrounded and captured the plain of Thyreae. Herodotus said of the battle.
" The Argives marched to recover their stolen property, and agreed in conference with the Spartans that three hundred picked men a side should fight it out, and that Thyreae should belong to the victors; the rest of the two armies were to go home without staying to watch the fight, lest either side, seeing its champions getting the worst of it, might be tempted to intervene. On these terms they parted, leaving behind the men chosen to represent them, and the battle began. So closely was it contested that of the six hundred men only three were left alive - two Argives, Alcenor and Chromios, and one Spartan, Othryades - and even these would have been killed had not darkness put an end to the fighting. The two Argives claimed the victory and hurried back to Argos; but the Spartan Othryades remained under arms, and having stripped the bodies of the Argive dead, carried their equipment to his own camp.
Both parties met again on the following day, when they had heard the result of the battle. For a while both Argives and Spartans maintained that they had won, the former because they had the greater number of survivors, the latter because the two Argives had run away, whereas their own man had remained on the battlefield and stripped the bodies of the dead. The argument ended in blows, and a fresh battle began, in which after severe losses on both sides the Spartans were victorious. From that day the Argives, who were previously compelled by custom to wear their hair long, began to cut it short, and made it an offence against religion for any man to grow his hair, and for any woman to wear gold, until Thyreae was recovered. The Spartans also adopted a new custom, but in precisely the opposite sense; they used not to grow their hair long, but from that time they began to do so. It is said that Othryades, the sole survivor of the three hundred, was ashamed to return to Sparta after the death of his companions, and killed himself at Thyreae "
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" THIS IS SPARTA "
Ancient Sparta was governed be the laws of Lycurgus ( the law giver) although it is uncertain if Lycurgus ever existed, the fact is Spartans were bound by oath to the laws attributed to him. Compared to other Greek city states Spartan society was very unique, a militaristic state geared for war, far removed from Athenian democracy. At its height Sparta was the elite fighting force of ancient Greece and will forever be immortalised for the heroic last stand of the three hundred at the battle of Thermopylae ( 480 BC.) At the age of seven boys would be inducted into the Agoge ( a state sponsored military education system) in preparation for a life in the military. Spartan women enjoyed much more freedom than women from other city states. Manual labour was the responsibility of helots ( state owned slaves). After defeating Athens in the Peloponneseian war ( 431 BC - 404 BC.) Sparta was the dominant force in all Greece but it was not to last. In 371 BC Sparta was defeated by Thebes at the Battle of Leuctra and from then on Sparta went into steady decline.
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Based on modern measures of development such as literacy, infant mortality, and longevity, Sparta was a far more "developed" society than Athens -- because Athens systematically and intentionally ensured that the female half the population was illiterate, poorly fed, did not get exercise, and was subjected to childbirth in puberty dramatically reducing the longevity of females. Furthermore, even in the Ancient world Sparta's more enlightened attitude to women was significant because it contributed to Sparta's economic power. Read more at:

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THIS IS SPARTA

Anyone here read any of Helen Schraeder's books about Leonidas of Sparta? A boy of the agoge; The peerless peer; A Heroic King. These books are inspired to be honest...she portrays the simple life of a soldier living in a system of government that inspired awe, jealousy, and skepticism. She even shoots down many widely held theories about Archaic Sparta (its Golden Age) wherein pedastry was nonexistent (and had no evidence to the contrary), where a citizen meant not only a public servant but an upholder of democracy, and also a city where it taught its citizens a disdain for luxury and had an ethos of austerity and self sacrifice never before seen in the world's stage.

Now this is my kind of community, about a fascinating and truly inspiring culture, I do love Ancient Greece, and the Spartans were truly some of the best warriors in History.

Just a question to the members here 
How factual are Valerio Massimo Manfredi's books such as The Last Legion, The Lost Army, Tyrant and Talisman of Troy?

I've read all of them and loved them all, especially Tyrant. I did see they all have the words "A Novel" mentioned on the cover. 
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