Plutarch, The Ancient Customs of the Spartans 2 [Moralia 236F]:

"A thing that met with especial approval among them was their so-called black broth [zomos], so much that the older men did not require a bit of meat, but gave up all of it to the young men. It is said that Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, for the sake of this bought a slave who had been a Spartan cook, and ordered him to prepare the broth for him, sparing no expense. But when the king tasted it, he spat it out in disgust, whereupon the cook said, 'O King, it is necessary to have exercised in teh Spartan manner, and to have bathed in the Eurotas, in order to relish this broth."

Plutarch, The Ancient Customs of the Spartans 4 [237A]:

"They learned to read and write for purely practical reasons; but all other forms of education they banned from the country, books and treatises being included in this quite as much as men. All their education was directed toward prompt obedience to authority, stout endurance of hardship, and victory or death in battle."

Plutarch, The Ancient Customs of the Spartans 6 [237B]:

"The young men slept together, according to division [ile] and company [angele], upon pallets which they themselves brought together by breaking off by hand, without any implement, the tops of the reeds which grew on the banks of the Eurotas. In the winter they put beneath their pallets, and intermingled with them, the plant called lykophron, since the material is reputed to possess some warming qualities."

Plutarch, The Ancient Customs of the Spartans 12 [237E]:

"The boys steal whatever they can of their food, learning to make their raids adroitly upon people who are asleep or are careless in watching. The penalty for getting caught is a beating and no food. For the dinner allowed them is meager, so that, through coping with want by their own initiative, they may be compelled to be daring and unscrupulous."

Plutarch, The Ancient Customs of the Spartans 13 [237E-F]:

"This was the object of the starvation diet. It was meager both for the reasons given and purposely that the youth should never become accustomed to being sated, but to being able to go without food; for in this way, the Spartans thought, the youth would be more serviceable in war if they were able to carry on without food, and they would be more self-controlled and more frugal if they lived a very considerable time at small expense. And to put up with the plainest diet, so as to be able to consume anything that came to hand, they thought made the youths' bodies more healthy owing to the scanty food, and they believed that this practice caused the bodies, repressed in any impulse towards thickness and breadth, to grow tall, and also to make them handsome; for a spare and lean condition they felt served to produce suppleness, while an overfed condition, because of too much weight, was against it."

Plutarch, The Ancient Customs of the Spartans 30 [239A]:

"They used to make the Helots drunk and exhibit them to the young as a deterrent from excessive drinking."

Plutarch, The Ancient Customs of the Spartans 33 [239B]:

"They did not attend either comedy or tragedy, so that they might not hear anyone speak either in earnest or in jest against the laws."

Plutarch, The Ancient Customs of the Spartans 41 [239D-E]:

" ... it was not permitted them to take up any menial trade at all; and there was no need whatever of making money, which involves a toilsome accumulation, nor of busy activity, because of [Lycurgus'] having made wealth wholly unenvied and unhonored. The Helots tilled the soil for them, paying a return which was regularly settled in advance. There was a ban against letting for a higher price, so that the Helots might make some profit, and thus be glad to do the work for their masters, and so that the masters might not look for any larger return."

Plutarch, Sayings of Kings and Commanders [Moralia191F]:

"When Paedaretus was not chosen to be one of the Three Hundred, an honor which ranked highest in the State, he departed cheerful and smiling, with the remark that the was glad if the State possessed three hundred citizens who were better than himself."


January 22, 2010 9:46 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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