The Agoge - Educational System of Sparta

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Educational System: Agoge

Yr12 Ancient History Mr. Zeller

The agoge was Sparta's training system which all citizens (Kings excepted) must follow to become highly trained warriors, and teach them to be obedient and loyal. It is believed to have been triggered by Sparta's defeat against the Argives in 669BC. The literal translation of 'Agoge' is 'raising.'

The aim of the system was to produce morally and physically fit men who would act as the 'walls of Sparta,' which were supposedly taken down at the orders of semi-mythical law-giver Lykourgos. They were trained in athletics, acrobatics, battle formations and tactics, singing, dancing and independent survival methods.

There were seven stages to the Agoge, each ranging between 3-7 years to complete. They included passing the physical test at birth, separation from family, placed into groups, and then taught how to fight, hunt, dance, and survive. One thing that stands out with Sparta from other societies is that they trained not only their male, but also their female citizens how to read write.

The first step of the Agoge was applied to all boys at birth, where they were examined by officials for any weaknesses or physical deforms. Any boy who failed to pass the test was left on or dropped off the Apothetae on Mt Taygetus.

Until the age of 7, the child would be raised with his mother at home, but after that age, the boys had to leave to live in agelai, or 'herd of boys.'

They were trained in gymnastics, running, jumping, throwing spears and discusses. To further teach them into the army they were taught to endure pain and hardship, hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue and lack of sleep. They could only bathe in the cold waters of the Eurotas River.

" …as boys reached...