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Quotes About This Is Sparta

Quotes tagged as "this-is-sparta" (showing 1-2 of 2)
“There was no politics in Persia because the great king was the master of slaves, not rulers of citizens. The point is beautifully made by Herodotus, the father of history and our own starting point. The exiled Spartan king, Demaratus, had taken refuge at the court of the great king of Persia, Darius I, in 491 BCE. Darius made him the ruler of Pergamum and some other cities. In 480 Darius's son and successor, Xerxes, took him to see the enormous army he had assembled to avenge his father's humiliation by the Athenians in an earlier attempt to conquer Greece. 'Surely,' he said to Demaratus, "the Greeks will not fight against such odds.' He was displeased when Demaratus assured him that they certainly would. 'How is it possible that a thousand men-- or ten thousand, or fifty thousand should stand up to an army as big as mine, especially if they were not under a single master but all perfectly free to do as they pleased?' He could understand that they might feign courage if they were whipped into battle as his Persian troops would be, but it was absurd to suppose that they would fight against such odds. Not a bit of it, said Demaratus. THey would fight and die to preserve their freedom. He added, 'They are free--yes--but they are not wholly free; for they have a master, and that master is Law, which they fear much more than your subjects fear you. Whatever this master commands they do; and his command never varies: it is never to retreat in battle, however great the odds, but always to remain in formation and to conquer or die.' They were Citizens, not subjects, and free men, not slaves; they were disciplined but self-disciplined. Free men were not whipped into battle.”
Alan Ryan, On Politics: A History of Political Thought From Herodotus to the Present

“There were two views of how a polis was formed. The first was military: a scattered group of people came to live in one city behind a set of protective walls. The other was political: a group of people agreed to live under one authority, with or whithout the protection of a walled city. Synoikismos, or 'Living together', embraces both. Any political entity implies a population that recognizes a common authority, but the first 'city-states' were not always based on a city. Sparta makes the point. We think of Sparta as a city, but the Spartans were proud of the fact that they lived in villages without protective walls: their army was their wall and 'every man a brick.”
Alan Ryan, On Politics: A History of Political Thought From Herodotus to the Present

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