Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield.

Essay by zhuzuiCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2007

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I. In Greece the polis of Sparta was the number one military authority for the people and for the time period. There was nothing that the Spartans could not do when it came to war. From the time that Spartan men were born, they were evaluated for their future services to the Spartan society. Each baby was sent to have the ten, ten, one test done on them as explained in the novel, “The Gates of Fire” by Steven Pressfield. This test was to check and make sure that there were no deformities. If there were the children were killed because they could not help the military, therefore had no purpose in their society as a whole. Sparta was a militarist state. The other helots and Athenians and so on, looked to the Spartans for guidance and often for overall protection during the times of war. Their society as a whole was very separated from the rest of Greece though.

For example in the novel when Xeones talks about his dreams to be a Spartan he knows that he would never be recognized, while his cousin Diomache wants to be an Athenian she knows that is it possible. One could only call himself a Spartan if he was born of a Spartan in Sparta.

The polis also held itself high in importance. In the book, “The Gates of Fire” Rooster whose mother was a Messenian did not see a need to be honorable to Sparta and protect it either. Rooster would curse it and speak of the gods as if they were nothing. So in the novel Polynikes was going to kill Rooster because there is no need for someone who has no trust and honor for Sparta.

The Spartan society was one of a kind. There was no other...