Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Spartan Education | Ep. 3 | Ubisoft [NA]

Welcome, visitor, to where Spartan boys became Spartan men. LEONIDAS
My name is Leonidas. I am a king of Sparta, but do not think me
some idle aristocrat softened by luxury. LEONIDAS
When Spartans go to war, I stand alongside them shield to shield, and my spear tastes
the same blood as those of my men. LEONIDAS
I can’t help but be reminded of the boy I used to be. LEONIDAS
I wonder what that boy would think if he saw me today. LEONIDAS
Would he be proud? Intimidated? LEONIDAS
Or would he pity the tired old man standing in front of him? LEONIDAS
But such thoughts are meaningless. Let us move on. LEONIDAS
The agoge was Sparta’s strict education system. LEONIDAS
The strenuous regimen took in the young boys, and then reshaped them until nothing was left
but the strength, intelligence, and resolve of a perfect Spartan citizen. LEONIDAS
I will find you once your visit has ended, and we will talk further. Until then, visitor. NARRATOR
Sparta was a Greek city located in the Peloponnese. NARRATOR
It differed from other cities of the time in that it had no walls. NARRATOR
Sparta originated as four neighboring villages: Pitane, Limnes, Mesoa, and Cynosoura – all
of which shared the same political, military, and religious life. NARRATOR
After two wars with the Messenians, the city’s territory expanded even further. NARRATOR
By the 5th century BCE, they allegedly controlled almost half of the Peloponnese. NARRATOR
The agoge was the military training and education program undergone by Sparta’s male youth. NARRATOR
Grooming men for war was one of the city’s main priorities. NARRATOR
Boys began their training at the young age of seven, and completed it when they were
thirty. NARRATOR
It has been said that Spartan infants were inspected for weakness shortly after birth. NARRATOR
If they were deemed too sickly, they were thrown into chasms. However, this information remains unproven. NARRATOR
The healthy boys were considered suitable for training. NARRATOR
When they came of age, they were removed from their families and were placed into service
of the state. NARRATOR
Their education included subjects like reading, writing, and even music, but was mostly focused
on tough military exercises meant to turn the boys into efficient soldiers. NARRATOR
The agoge was divided into three cycles: NARRATOR
One for boys aged seven to twelve, one for adolescents aged twelve to twenty, and one
for men aged twenty to thirty. NARRATOR
Each cycle included different exercises for refining the body and mind. NARRATOR
Sparta played a large role in defeating the Persians during the Greco-Persian Wars in
the 5th century BCE. NARRATOR
They held their king Leonidas’s glorious death at the Battle of Thermopylae in particularly
high esteem. NARRATOR
Because Leonidas was killed in battle, Sparta believed he died a good death and showed incredible
bravery – qualities to be held as a model for all Spartans. NARRATOR
This idealized bravery was embedded in the city’s collective memory, and was the main
quality people strove for in the agoge. NARRATOR
The first cycle of the agoge focused on boys aged seven to twelve. NARRATOR
Each of the boys had shaved heads and wore light clothing. NARRATOR
They walked everywhere barefoot, swam in the Eurotas river all year long, slept on reeds,
and participated in cult rituals for Artemis Orthia. NARRATOR
The boys were grouped into “herds”, or agelai, and were supervised by older adolescents. NARRATOR
Once they reached the age of twelve, they entered the second cycle of the agoge, which
aimed to integrate them into the society of citizen-soldiers. NARRATOR
The agoge’s second cycle included boys aged twelve to twenty. NARRATOR
When they reached the age of twenty, the young men were dubbed eirenes and could officially
serve as hoplites in the Spartan army. NARRATOR
Until the age of thirty, Spartan men lived in communal mess halls called syskenia. NARRATOR
From the age of twenty-two onward, they were permitted to start a family, but thirty was
viewed as a more appropriate age to get married. NARRATOR
Spartan men served in the military until they turned sixty, when they were designated as
elders, or gerontes. NARRATOR
However, many were known to continue serving anyway, such as king Archimados III, who fought
in the army until he was killed in battle at the age of sixty-two. NARRATOR
All adult male Spartans participated in communal meals called syssitia. NARRATOR
The attending Spartans contributed different kinds of food on a monthly basis, in addition
to a small sum of money to pay for meat. NARRATOR
Each man was entitled to one portion of a meal, with the exception of the kings, who
received two portions. NARRATOR
Syssitia attendance was mandatory for every Spartan fortunate enough to be part of the
The meals had great political significance. NARRATOR
According to Xenophon and Plutarch, the syssitia was designed to foster a sense of equality
between citizens. NARRATOR
It also demonstrated the self-restraint and moderation of Spartan society. NARRATOR
But in reality, the syssitia only increased the differentiation between the rich and the
Those who could not afford to contribute to the communal food not only missed their meals,
but also lost their right of citizenship. LEONIDAS
Your tour has ended. LEONIDAS
As you have seen, the agoge was not for the weak or faint of heart, but it did its job
in producing skilled warriors and shrewd citizens. LEONIDAS
What else would you like to do? LEONIDAS
So you think you are ready for a test? Very well. Let us see how you fare. LEONIDAS
First, a simple question. LEONIDAS
The agoge was made up of how many cycles? LEONIDAS
No, but I am sure it felt like one very long cycle to some of the boys. Try again. LEONIDAS
I’m afraid that is not correct. Keep trying. LEONIDAS
No. That would be too much time spent teaching,
and not enough spent living. Try another answer. LEONIDAS
Correct. The agoge was divided into three cycles: one
for boys aged seven to twelve, one for adolescents aged twelve to twenty, and one for men aged
twenty to thirty. LEONIDAS
Next question. LEONIDAS
How many meal portions were kings entitled to at syssitia? LEONIDAS
No, although that was the allotted food for most Spartan citizens. Try again. LEONIDAS
Don’t be ridiculous. How can a Spartan king go to war if they cannot
even lift themselves from their throne? LEONIDAS
Try another answer. LEONIDAS
No. It wasn’t wise to deny a Spartan his meal. Keep trying. LEONIDAS
Yes. Spartan kings had the right to double portions. LEONIDAS
One final question. LEONIDAS
When were Spartans allowed to grow mustaches? LEONIDAS
I’m afraid not. We Spartans are impressive, but not even we
can force facial hair at such a young age. LEONIDAS
Try another answer. LEONIDAS
No, though men were allowed to grow their hair long at this age. Try again. LEONIDAS
True, Spartan elders had freedom to grow facial hair, but they were allowed do so long before
reaching sixty. LEONIDAS
Keep trying. LEONIDAS
Yes! Once a Spartan man was over thirty, he was
allowed to adorn his face with a glorious display of manhood. LEONIDAS
Impressive, visitor. You should be proud. LEONIDAS
Safe travels, visitor.

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