• Daniel Kephart

Why We Love Sparta

5 More Inspirational Quotes

Here at Chapter of the Day, we're beginning somewhat of a series on life-changing wisdom from the ancient world. And that mean's we're headed back to Sparta for more wisdom from the world's most terrifying warriors.

That's right, you wanted it, we delivered.

  1. When Androcleidus, a cripple with a bad leg, enrolled in the army he was mocked by his fellow men. He told them, "I don't need to run when the enemy comes, just to stand in one place and fight them." Wow. We don't get too many positive portrayals of the disabled from the ancient world, but this one is definitely among the most inspirational. Not only did Androcleidus demonstrate his commitment to serving his country, but he absolutely roasted his haters. Well played, sir, well played.

  2. An Athenian told Antalcidas that he and his Spartans were unlearned. He replied, "Maybe so, but at least we've learned no evil from you." In today's cosmopolitan world, it can be easy to forget that being educated is not the same thing as being good. Antalcidas understood that there was a difference, and that a large vocabulary is no substitute for a dutiful conscience.

  3. The Spartan general, Bias, was caught with his soldiers in an ambush. When his men asked him what was to be done, he replied, "What else? You must save your lives. I must die fighting." Spartan warriors fought alongside each other from birth, and the camaraderie that they developed was extremely intense. Perhaps this is why Bias was so willing to sacrifice his life in order to save the lives of his subordinates. Regardless, taking responsibility for one's mistake (and paying the price for them) is a lost art in today's society. Want to be a leader? Take the penalty for your mistakes, don't foist it onto others.

  4. Damonidas was assigned the least prestigious place in a chorus of singers. He told the director, "I'm glad you've discovered how this place, which is without honor, could be made honorable." So much of what I adore about the Spartans is their dauntlessness. This is a good line to remember when you find yourself assigned the least desirable place in any sort of team--you have a chance to make it the most honorable place of them all.

  5. When an invading general proclaimed Sparta must hail his king as god or be destroyed, Dercylidas replied, "Why? If he is a god, we have nothing to fear, for we have done nothing wrong. But if he is a man, well, then he is surely not a better man than we are." It's undeniable that the Spartans could be arrogant. Yet their supreme confidence is often what made them so intimidating. Dercylidas truly believed that there were no more valiant men alive than his fellow Spartans, and it made him fearless when negotiating with those who claimed to be spiritually superior.

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