What was life like in Sparta? We will read the following passage as a class to get an idea…
The day had dawned with wonderful anticipation for Commander Alexandros, a leader of one thousand of his land’s best soldiers. His young son of seven was to enter the Youth Military Academy, and his wife was expecting another child very soon, perhaps this very day.
Alexandros beamed with pride as his son was met by Academy officials at the gate. Even though his son would never leave the Academy until the age of 20, the commander knew that to be a tough, disciplined soldier (perhaps an officer someday), academy life was required. It was the only life Alexandros himself had known. Academy had developed his skills as a leader of men in a land of bravery. Everyone who was truly worthy aspired to become such a brave, loyal warrior. Real men weren’t interested in the arts, or words of other men; real men ruled other men.
However, his send-off for his son was interrupted by a messenger’s panting announcement that his wife’s time had come. Upon Commander Alexandros’ return home, the midwife passed him with eyes gazing downward. A wailing in the next room alerted him to sharp emotional, not physical, pain. His wife was sobbing uncontrollably. He entered to find an apparently healthy baby boy comfortably cradled next to his mother.
Unfortunately, all was not as it seemed. His wife removed the blanket to reveal the infant’s clubfoot. The right foot was positioned slightly askew, pointing outwardly somewhat perpendicular to his leg. This boy would never be able to march among the legions of soldiers. Commander Alexandros now fully realized the source of his wife’s sadness.
Upon notification of the birth of his son, the council elders would visit and inspect the child for physical fitness. This one would never pass inspection, and it would be killed. Inferior physical specimens could not contribute to the society, so they had to be done away with.
Commander Alexandros quietly walked out of the room. His joyous day soured. Like any good soldier, he followed orders well.
In your table group, discuss the following questions and then post your individual responses to your blog. Make sure your responses are in complete sentences and refer to the question asked.
- Name any positive characteristics you can detect in Commander Alexandros. (Take turns listing characteristics.)
- Name any negative characteristics of Commander Alexandros. (Take turns listing characteristics.)
- From the story, can you infer, or figure out, any information about the land in which Commander Alexandros lives?
- What is your overall impression or feeling about the land in which he lives? Would you want to live in such a place?