The Spartan army was the toughest in the world. Every Spartan man was enlisted, and they were feared around the world. Sparta did away with city walls, believing its men strong enough to make walls useless. It was the only country that Alexander the Great saw and left unconquered—and he never even had the courage to march his men into their land.
Spartan men were warriors because Spartan boys suffered through some absolutely incredible experiences. A child raised in Sparta wasn’t raised by his mother. He was raised by the state, and he was put through an education unlike any other in history.
10. Half Of All Spartan Babies Were Left To Die
When a baby was born, the father would carry the newborn to the town’s elders. The elders would examine the child, looking for weaknesses and deformities. If any were found, the father was ordered to leave the child defenseless and alone in a pit called the Apothetae, where it would starve to death.
Even if a child passed inspection, though, there was no guarantee it would live. When the father returned home, the mother would wash the baby in wine as an early epilepsy test. If the child was epileptic, the wine would make it break into a fit . . . and tell the mother that it wasn’t worth raising.
If a baby could survive all this, it was promised a free plot of land, but the odds were pretty low. It’s estimated that about half of all babies born in Sparta died from either neglect or murder.