Sparta – XVII

Translated from EVROPA SOBERANA

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Should anyone ask me whether I think that the laws of Lycurgus still remain unchanged at this day, I certainly could not say that with any confidence whatever.

For I know that formerly the Lacedaemonians preferred to live together at home with moderate fortunes rather than expose themselves to the corrupting influences of flattery as governors of dependent states.

And I know too that in former days they were afraid to be found in possession of gold; whereas nowadays there are some who even boast of their possessions.

There were expulsions of aliens in the former days, and to live abroad was illegal; and I have no doubt that the purpose of these regulations was to keep the citizens from being demoralized by contact with foreigners; and now I have no doubt that the fixed ambition of those who are thought to be first among them is to live to their dying day as governors in a foreign land.

There was a time when they would fain be worthy of leadership; but now they strive far more earnestly to exercise rule than to be worthy of it.

Therefore in times past the Greeks would come to Lacedaemon and beg her to lead them against reputed wrongdoers; but now many are calling on one another to prevent a revival of Lacedaemonian supremacy.

—Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaemonians



The Twilight of Sparta

The rivalry between Sparta and Athens eventually culminated in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE). This war had a certain spiritual-ideological character: the Athenians saw Sparta as a state of brutality, oppression of the individual and uncompromising stiffness; while, for the Spartans, Athens was a hotbed of decadence and effeminacy that threatened to contaminate all Hellas. In 415 BCE, Spartan emissaries came to the sanctuary of Delphi. The oracle gave them a grim omen: soon the Spartans would see the walls of their worst enemy reduced to rubble, but they themselves would soon succumb to a bitter defeat. This was perhaps the first warning about the coming decline of Sparta.

Lysander, head of the Spartan fleet, effectively defeated the Athenian Alcibiades in 404 BCE, and awarded the victory to his homeland. After long and painful years of siege, hardships, and battles against Athens, when finally Sparta triumphed Lysander simply wrote in his memoirs, in another sign of brevity: “Athens has fallen.” Lysander was a mothax (bastard or mestizo), for his father was a Spartan and his mother a helot. However, during his childhood, he was accepted for some reason in the brutal training system of the Agoge. Lysander was, however, a soldier turned politician and conspirator, and stroked ideas about a new revolution in Spartan laws. The mere fact that an individual like Lysander had reached such a high position implied that something was starting to smell rotten in Sparta.

The war resulted in the ruin of Athens, consolidating the Spartan hegemony. That same year 404 BCE the walls of Athens were demolished to the sound of Spartan fifes, as predicted in Delphi, and the government of Athens was taken by “the thirty tyrants.” But Spartan supremacy would be short because it had been achieved at the sacrifice of the best Spartan blood and, as has been said, dark forebodings hovered over the city. Their numbers dwindled. The hardness of the Spartans increasingly produced hatred by the subjected people, which multiplied devilishly. Sparta was aging.

On the other hand, Sparta was usually very jealous about its citizenship laws (to be the son of a Spartan father and mother, and going through eugenics, instruction and admission to the Army Syssitias), so that with the advent of crossbreeding and bloody wars, in which the best Spartans fell, the number of real Spartiates was reduced from 10,000 during its apogee to just over a thousand, although at least those few Spartans remained just like their ancestors. They’d chosen to be, at all costs, a select few at the top, dominating an inferior majority and remaining loyal to the laws of Lycurgus until the end of their national agony. As a select group, they were obstinate in resisting and refused to make concessions or share privileges, remaining increasingly proud as their numbers were declining more and more. All this demographic policy contrasted, then, with the Athenian: which artificially swelled the numbers of its population (Athens had about five times the population of Sparta) by non-white immigration, uncontrolled reproduction and lack of eugenics.

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This resulted in, dirty and dingy slums and narrow winding streets, where dark slaves accumulated and infections, rats and pests spread. The defeat of Athens also motivated the circulating of riches as trophies to Sparta. Plutarch wrote, “gold and silver money first flowed into Sparta, and with money, greed and a desire for wealth prevailed through the agency of Lysander, who, though incorruptible himself, filled his country with the love of riches and with luxury, by bringing home gold and silver from the war, and thus subverting the laws of Lycurgus.”

In 398 BCE, King Agesilaus ascended to the twin throne of Sparta. A year later, another evil omen happened. While a priest carried out a sacrifice, horrified, he glimpsed a nefarious, archetypal sign during the ritual and announced with great alarm that Sparta was on the lookout for its enemies. At that moment, according to the old man, Sparta was seriously threatened. In view of the prostration of external enemies, the omen was probably not taken with the seriousness it deserved. Few would suspect that the omen was referring to the internal enemies of Sparta.

Agesilaus discovered a year later, in 397 BCE, a conspiracy hatched by Lysander against the laws of Lycurgus. In this conspiracy an individual named Cinadon played an important role. He was part of the hypomeiones or “inferior” Spartan citizens degraded for cowardice in battle; for failing to provide the stipulated rations of the Syssitia, or for not having being admitted to any Syssitia due to any dishonorable reasons. The point of this conspiracy is that it seemed to involve all those who were not authentic Spartans, i.e., helots, perioeci, and the degraded Spartans—all of which, according to the same Cinadon, wanted to “eat raw” the elite of the real Spartans. Having made their confessions, Cinadon and his clique of conspirators were driven through the city of Sparta to spearhead and under the harassment of the whips. After being carried to Kaiada they were executed and thrown into the pit.

Agesilaus was accused of breaking an old Lycurgus law prohibiting to make war for a long time to the same enemy so that he could not learn how to defend himself, as Agesilaus’ incursions into Boeotia practically taught the Thebans to fight. In 382 BCE Sparta took Thebes, but this victory was cursed as Sparta had decayed and the Thebans were being strengthened. Four years later, the Thebans succeeded in expelling the Spartans in the first political sign that Sparta was decaying. Years later, 7,000 highly motivated Thebans under the charismatic leader Epaminondas rose against Sparta and defeated them at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BCE. In that battle only 1,200 Spartans fought: all that remained of them. Four hundred of them died. It was said that when the Theban soldiers entered in Sparta during the street fighting that followed, and they were asking, “Where are the Spartans?” and an old man answered, “There are not anymore, otherwise you wouldn’t be here.”

After the invasion, the intelligent Thebans stroke another huge blow to the power of Sparta: they freed the helots. The city of Messenia, in a record time of only seventy-four days, was surrounded by a wall and the Ithome Fortress rebuilt and converted in an acropolis, symbolizing its emancipation from the Spartan yoke: an emancipation they sought to preserve at all costs.

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The Spartans had fallen, but the Thebans had kept their blood and vitality pure. They had an elite unit called the sacred gang. Throughout Greece, Theban women (described by Dicaearchus as blondes) were already considered, above the Spartan, the most beautiful of Hellas. The Thebans descended from Thessalian invaders: magnificent horsemen that arrived to Greece at the time of the great invasions. After being expelled from the Peloponnese by the Dorians, they established their capital, Thebes, in Boeotia. The Battle of Leuctra finally consummated the Thessalians’ revenge against the Dorians.

Since 640 BCE no army had ever managed to subdue Sparta. The Spartan power was over. Its laws of iron and stone—wisely enacted and recorded in blood and fire—could not eternally restrain racial miscegenation while in disastrous wars died the best biological specimens and the spiritual elite. There was betrayal, disloyalty, memory loss, and a fall. From here, the history of Sparta is shameful, desperate, sad and tragic. One almost feels embarrassed before her in contrast to her previous heroism. It could be said it was humiliating for their heirs, but we must add that many of them were no longer heirs of Dorian Sparta since it no longer ran in their veins the most important heritage: pure Dorian blood.

The racial miscegenation and the fratricidal war with Athens had greatly weakened many Greek city-states, so that they fell prey to the Indo-European new star: the Macedonians of Philip II (382-336 BCE), a Greek village that had remained on the periphery of Greece living in semi-barbarian state, retaining the hardness of its origins and purity of blood. Using the Thessaly League, the Macedonians began to penetrate gradually in Greece. In 367 BCE the Aetolian League was formed. In 339 BCE the Macedonians had already mastered Hellas, including Sparta. The son of Philip II, the famous Alexander the Great, conquered the greatest empire ever known, from Greece to India, and from the Caucasus to Egypt.

In 330 BCE, King Agis III of Sparta attacked Antipater, Alexander’s lieutenant, but was defeated and killed at the battle of Megalopolis. During the Lamian War, after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, Sparta was too weak even to participate.

During the fourth century BCE there was a reform by an Epitadeus, an ambitious ephor that, for disagreements with his own son, drafted a law that all citizens could give their inheritance to whom they pleased. This had huge influence on the distribution of land plots. However, the subsequent ruin of Sparta was not the result of this law; the wording of it was the result of a silent decline of mind and body, materially manifested in blood contamination, the disintegration of the noble families and the evils resulting from this.

During this decadent time of miscegenation and corruption, women’s freedom turned against Sparta. Traditionally being owners and managers of the farm and home, they became greedy and selfish. The materialism that invaded Sparta from Athens took root in women with ease. They forgot their athletic naturalness; the physical exertion, and their role as severe mothers; they also forgot the gravity of the sacred wife and to inspire hope and contemplation. Instead they embraced luxury, comfort and embellishments. Foolishly, during the decay Spartan women came to hoard most of the wealth of Sparta.

By the end of the fourth century BCE Sparta was surrounded by defensive walls, breaking her tradition and revealing the world that had lost confidence in herself.

Agis of Sparta (reigned between 244-241 BCE) attempted to reinstate the laws of Lycurgus. He had been educated in patriotism and dreamed of restoring the greatness of his country. By then, lots of land was unevenly distributed and badly exploited, and he wanted to make it more equitable. Agis postponed land redistribution to join the Achaean League Aratus of Sicyon, challenging the growing power of the Macedonians. In 243 BCE, the Achaean League defeated the Macedonian garrison in Corinth, resulting in a brief expansion of the league. But during the king’s absence, resistance to his reforms was implemented by his co-ruler, King Leonidas II. This traitor king, unworthy of his name, was the perfect example of Spartan decline: he married a Persian woman and liked to keep in his court an oriental-style luxury which would have caused his death when Sparta was in its prime. As Agis returned he was arrested by the ephors who, now completely corrupted, condemned him to death. Agis was thus the first king of Sparta to be executed by the government.

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In 230 BCE only 700 Spartans were left: divided, confused and aimless. The differentiation of castes and racial barriers had collapsed. The plots of land were in the hands of women who managed them greedily, and of helots who owned their own land. Plutarch wrote:

Thus there were left of the old Spartan families not more than seven hundred, and of these there were perhaps a hundred who possessed land and allotment; while the ordinary throng, without resources and without civic rights, lived in enforced idleness, showing no zeal or energy in warding off foreign wars, but ever watching for some opportunity to subvert and change affairs at home.

Cleomenes III of Sparta (reigned 235-219 BCE) attempted to make another return to the laws of Lycurgus. His goal was to create a group of Spartans that restituted the ancient power of the city. After a series of encouraging alliances with Tegea and the recovery of Manatee from the Arcadians, Sparta seemed to be reborn as opposed to the Achaean League. Spartan austerity was reestablished as well as the team meals, and defeated the Achaean League in 228 BCE, on the banks of the river Lyceum. And in 227 BCE Sparta defeated it again near Leuctra. The victorious Cleomenes returned to Sparta covered with prestige. He executed the corrupt ephors and abolished the institution of the Ephorate. Sparta continued to conquer and triumph: it annexed Manatee and in 226 BCE defeated the Achaean League again in the Battle of Hecatombaeon. This time, supported by Egypt, Sparta was literally re-conquering the Peloponnese.

The leaders of the Achaean League, frightened by the revival of the legendary Spartan power, decided to end its anti-Macedonian policy and cynically requested the Macedonians’ help to deter the new Spartans. So Aratus of Sicyon sought help from his supposed enemy, the king Antigonus III of Macedonia, offering control of Corinth. The Aetolian League and the Macedonian League, united, gathered an army of 30,000 men who beat the 10,000 Spartans and their allies in the Battle of Sellasia of 222 BCE. There definitely Spartan power was extinguished; the new Spartans fell, their walls demolished, and Cleomenes exiled to Alexandria. After trying from there a coup with the help of Egypt, he died in 220 BCE. With him the royal Heraclid lineage disappeared.

Both Agis IV and Cleomenes III are tragic figures: men of quality who were born too late, representing the dying voice of the Spartiate archetype during the sinister sunset. However, these kings failed to understand the real cause of Sparta’s collapse: the luxuries of civilization and dissolution of the originating elements of Dorian blood that built Sparta.

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In 208 BCE, Nabis, later known as “Tyrant of Sparta,” ascended the throne. Since the double lineage of the Heraclites had disappeared with the king Cleomenes III, he made himself the sole king of Sparta, building again the defensive walls that surrounded Sparta and trying to revitalize the reforms attempted by Agis IV and Cleomenes III. Nabis introduced, with the help of the Aetolian League, a kind of democracy in Sparta. This was his biggest mistake: it gave freedom to many helots, who would soon mix their blood with the Spartans. The mothakes (mestizos) began to influence the very Spartan national body, and neodamodeis or “new citizens” emerged.

In 205 BCE Sparta allied with Rome in the hope of removing the Macedonians. But in 197 BCE Rome turned against Sparta, establishing an alliance with other Greek states. The Achaean League of 192 BCE forced Sparta to join her to monitor its movements, but when Nabis felt that the League had overreached its affairs he seceded. Philopoemen led the Achaean army that burst in Sparta and executed the anti-Achaean leaders, including Nabis, knocking again Sparta’s walls; freeing the slaves, and abolishing the Agoge. Everything that in this period the Achaeans did against Sparta was an expression of the unconscious terror they felt about the possible resurrection of Sparta’s power and it was then, when Sparta was weak, that they wanted to finish it off to prevent any future outbreaks.

In 146 BCE Sparta was conquered by the Roman legions. Under Roman rule, some Spartan customs survived, but stripped from their essence. The festival of Artemis became a grotesque ceremony of simply whipping children in public, sometimes to the death. In the tranquility of the Pax Romana Sparta was devoted to these abhorrent practices, which attracted large numbers of morbid tourists around the Mediterranean.

In 267 CE Sparta was sacked by the Heruli Germanic people—the same people who would depose the last Roman emperor of the West two centuries later. The Germans were the new star of Europe, and they would be for many centuries. Their uncontaminated will to power together with their barbaric mentality drove them to conquer and dominate. During this time they were rushing into a Roman Empire already decadent and beyond recognition, in which Christianity was inevitably undermining the sacred pillars of the pagan, militarist and patriarchal society that the Romans once had.

After the Roman disaster against the Goths at the Battle of Adrianople (378 CE), the Spartan phalanx defeated a band of marauding Germans in a flash of strength. But in 396 CE Sparta was destroyed by the Visigoths of King Alaric I, who ended up being in charge of administering the coup de grace to an already unrecognizable Roman Empire.

Near the ruins of Sparta it was built the town of Mistras. The Romans, after conquering Southeast Europe, built on Mistras a new city they called Lacedaemonia, as Sparta was called before. According to Byzantine sources, in the 10th century large areas of the territory of Laconia were still pagan.

Today Sparta is a set of simple, rough and not showy ruins. In the words of Thucydides:

Suppose the city of Sparta to be deserted, and nothing left but the temples and the ground-plan. Distant ages would be very unwilling to believe that the power of the Lacedaemonians was at all equal to their fame… Whereas, if the same fate befell the Athenians, the ruins of Athens would strike the eye, and we should infer their power to have been twice as great as it really is.

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Sparta – XVI

Translated from EVROPA SOBERANA

A society in which corruption takes a hold is blamed for effeminacy: for the appreciation of war, and the delight in war, perceptibly diminish in such a society, and the conveniences of life are now just as eagerly sought after as were military and gymnastic honours formerly.

—Nietzsche, La Gaya Scienza


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Subsequent history of Sparta


All Spartan education was considered admirable by the peoples around Sparta, who greatly respected its courageous neighbor though sometimes as a foe. Plato himself, when he wrote his Republic refers to State measures which seem directly taken from the Spartan laws, because those laws inspired him and were also admired by Aristotle—with some reservation as to the supposedly totalitarian and tyrannical Ephorate. (However, at the time of Aristotle Sparta was no longer the same.) In a time when the Greek city-states were already in decline, voices were raised calling for the adoption of the Spartan model. They were the fascist of the age. Anyway, Spartan laws provided a stability that the other Hellene States never knew.

In the sixth century BCE, Sparta launched new conquests over the neighboring villages. About the attack on Tegea, Herodotus said that one of the reasons was that the Spartans sought the mythological bones of Orestes (son of the legendary King Agamemnon, leader of all Greeks in the Trojan War), considered one of the distant ancestors of the Spartan village. The Pythia of Delphi promised victory to the Spartans if they found the bones. And sure enough, they found them and won. They found no normal bones, but a skeleton of immense size, like the giant heroes alluded to by Homer.

In the aforementioned case of Tegea, the Spartans were bold to not annex it but establish a treaty, by which Tegea was to provide soldiers, weapons and other equipment, and teamed with Sparta to follow it in all its foreign policy strategies. In return, Tegea could remain independent. By similar policies, Sparta won the states around the Peloponnese, eventually including Argos, Arcadia and Corinth to the point that, after the invasion of the Persians in 490 BCE, Sparta was the greatest Hellenic power, well above Athens.

According to Herodotus, at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE 5,000 Spartans fought 5,000 perioeci and 35,000 helots. Only the Spartans were consummate warriors, while others were forced to take up arms, and the huge number of helots (completely lacking in military training) were reduced to cannon fodder. In the period of greatest population, Sparta had 200,000 helots and 9,000 Spartan families. In 480 BCE there were a total of just fewer than 8,000 mobilized Spartan hoplites.

The Greek poet Aeschylus (525-456 BCE) put into the mouth of the mother of Xerxes: “I seem to see two virgins superbly dressed. One richly dressed in the fashion of the Persians; the other, after the manner of the Dorians. The majesty of both surpass the other women. Both a flawless beauty and of the same race” (The Persians). With this we see that even at that time there were individuals who were aware of the absurdity of these enmities in people of the same origin.

In 464 BCE a major earthquake hit Sparta that destroyed the gymnasium while the ephebes, the cream of the Spartan youth, were exercising, killing many of them. Diodorus Siculus exaggerated that about 20,000 Spartans died, as Plutarch did when saying that only five houses were left standing. However, the damage had to be large, and this tragedy helped the helots who, taking advantage of the disorder that the void created, initiated another revolt, confident in their overwhelming numerical superiority over the Spartans. After the Messenian helots rebelled, the Laconian helots joined and even two perioeci communities: Thouria (in Messenia) and Ethea (in Laconia). Thus began the Third Messenian War, also known as the Mount Ithome rebellion.

The open rebellion was crushed by the Spartans effectively and without the slightest mercy. The spoils of the revolt were removed to Mount Ithome from which, under the Spartan siege, the Messenians were engaged for five years in a guerrilla war against the Spartans: also resorting to guerrilla tactics by using their fanatic “puppies” in selective hunting activities, repression and punishment. The Athenians sent to Sparta a military contingent of four thousand men led by the patriot and pro-Spartan Cimon to help them, but the Spartans ended up rejecting the help, and the contingent returned aggravated to Athens, in what is known as “the Ithome insult.”

After these five years, the Spartans, moved by a Delphic oracle, which advised to let go “the supplicants of Zeus Itometa,” let them escape the Peloponnese. The Spartan government further strengthened afterwards its severity toward those helots, while Athens endorsed a military pact with the fugitives, recognizing them not as helots but as representatives of a legitimate Messenian State under military occupation.

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A priestess of Delphi

Sparta – XV

Translated from EVROPA SOBERANA

“A desperate fight remains for all time a shining example. Let us remember Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans!”

—The Testament of Adolf Hitler (1945)


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The Battle of Thermopylae as an example of heroism


This is one of the most famous battles in history. It decided the future of Europe and in it the Spartans showed the world their immense quality. The Battle of Thermopylae came framed within the context of Greco-Persian Wars, which catalyst was the expansion of the Greek presence in Asia Minor with the extension of the Greek colonies to the east. During the Greco-Persian Wars emperor Darius of Persia had been defeated in the famous battle of Marathon (490 BCE), after which Sparta and Athens signed a military pact aimed at the defense of Greece against the Persians in the near future. Darius was succeeded on his death in 485 BCE by the very ambitious Xerxes, who craved to take over large parts of Europe.

Persia was a vast reign ruled by an Iranian aristocracy, the descendants of the Medes, who along with the Persians before them and after the Parthians, monopolized, during their existence, the domain of the empire—the largest in the world—, stretching from Turkey to Afghanistan.

Persia was a united and centralized state, with vast crowds, massive and specialized armies and endless tracts of land. Its existence was already a feat worthy of those who made it possible. Although the background of this empire was clearly Indo-European, it had become an abyss of miscegenation, as it held sway over a wide variety of non-Indo-European peoples, including Jews and the descendants of the ancient Mesopotamian civilizations. The Punics of Carthage (in what today is Tunisia) in alliance with Persia were ready to strike the Greek dominions in Italy and Sicily. Europe faced foreign hordes, a geopolitical meddling and a flood of eastern blood of magnitude not seen since the Neolithic.

Greece, on the other hand, besides being infinitely smaller, was not even a state but covered a balkanized collection of city-states or poleis that often warred with each other. There was no empire: that would come with the Macedonians. The ethnic heritage was, on the whole, more Indo-European in Greece than in Persia, and the strong political personality of the Hellenic polis made of Greece the only major obstacle of the Persian conquest of the Balkans and the Danube.

In the year 481 BCE, before invading Greece, Persia sent two ambassadors to Sparta to offer the possibility of surrender. King Leonidas made them to be directly thrown into a well. This impulsive act, little “diplomatic” and highly condemnable, has an explanation. Leonidas had not been raised exactly as a Spartan prince because in first place the throne did not correspond to him. There was a king, but had poor health and did not survive so his succession fell on the following fellow in line, which had been brought up as a prince in anticipation to the health problems of the previous king. This one, however, fell in battle and suddenly Leonidas found himself in the throne of Sparta, having been raised as a common Spartan boy without the diplomatic finesse imparted in princely education. Leonidas was a soldier: blunt, simple and to the point.

It is clear, in any case, that the Ephorate did not consider just the murder of the ambassadors, as it sent two Spartan volunteers to go to Persia, submitted to Xerxes and offered as sacrifice to “atone” for the injustice that Leonidas committed against the ambassadors. Xerxes rejected the offer and let them go. He did not make a similar mistake, or get his hands dirty with blood or being found guilty of dishonor. The Athenians were more sensible: when the Persian ambassadors made their bids, they simply declined.

That same year, Xerxes sent emissaries to all the Greek cities except Sparta and Athens, to get their submission. Many, terrified of his power, subjected while others, prudently, remained neutral although their sympathies lie with Greece. Sparta and Athens, seeing that an anti-Hellenic alliance was emerging, called for the other cities to form an alliance against Persia. Few responded. Persia was the new superpower, the new star. Its sweeping advance was a fact and its ultimate triumph, almost a given.

Persia began shipping its army, the largest in the world, and moved to Europe to conquer Greece. According to Herodotus, the Persian army consisted of 2 million men. Today, some have reduced this figure to 250,000 or even 175,000 men (including 80,000 cavalry), but it is still a massive army: a crushing and brutal numerical entity, especially compared with the tiny Greek force. As the Persian tide moved, all the villages it passed submitted without a fight.

Hellenic allies then met in Corinth. Envoys from Sparta, Athens, Corinth, Thebes, Plataea, Thespiae, Phocis, Thessaly, Aegina and others, parleyed on the strategy. They formed the Peloponnesian League, confirming the Hellenic alliance to boldly resist Persia. All Peloponnese poleis (excluding Argos, a traditional and stubborn enemy of Sparta) joined the alliance. The league was put in command by Sparta; Leonidas was made commander in chief of the troops of the league.

The leagues were common occurrences in Greece, and they expressed the more “federalist” trends that somehow sought unification and a proper Pan-Hellenic nation. Some leagues were created only to face a common enemy, dissolving themselves afterwards and other leagues lingered; always pursuing political goals and long-term business. The Peloponnesian League was one of these ephemeral “emergency leagues.”

An army of 10,000 was formed of Peloponnesian Greeks under the command of Sparta. Since they had agreed to defend the passage of Tempe, they were stationed on the slopes of Mount Olympus, in northeastern Greece. However, the King Alexander I of Macedon, who had good relations with Persia but felt sympathy for the Greeks and especially for Sparta, warned the Spartan commanders that the position was vulnerable by the presence of several pathways, and they decided to abandon it in favor of another more defensible position. At that time the Thessalians, considering themselves lost, submitted to Persia.

The definitive site for the defense of Greece was established in the pass of Thermopylae, the “Hot Gates.” According to legend, Heracles had rushed into the water to appease the inner fire that tormented him, turning it instead in thermal waters. The area was basically a narrow passage between the steep mountain and the sea. At its narrowest the gorge was 15 meters wide. This meant that although the Greeks were numerically lower, at least the fighters would face a funnel that balanced the scale, as only a certain number of warriors from each side could fight at once. And yet it was a desperate move, as the Greeks would soon tire while the Persians always counted with waves of fresh troops.

According to Herodotus, after coming to the sanctuary of Delphi, the Spartans received from the oracle the following prophecy:

For you, inhabitants of wide-wayed Sparta,
Either your great and glorious city must be wasted by Persian men,
Or if not that, then the bound of Lacedaemon
must mourn a dead king, from Heracles’ line.
The might of bulls or lions
will not restrain him with opposing strength;
for he has the might of Zeus.
I declare that he will not be restrained
until he utterly tears apart one of these.

Or a king of Sparta died, or Sparta fell. Consider how this prophecy could have influenced Leonidas. Suddenly, a heavy burden of responsibility on his shoulders had been downloaded. This monstrous doom, that would kill of shock most and make them sweat and shake, was received by the king with dignity and sense of royal duty. The mission of any Spartan was sacrificing his life for his country if needed. It was natural and joyful for them.

In the summer of 480 BCE, the Peloponnesian troops reached Thermopylae and camped up there. There were about eighty men of Mycenae, 200 of Phlius, 400 of Corinth, 400 of Thebes, 500 of Mantinea, 500 of Tegea, 700 of Thespiae, 1,000 of Phocis, 1,120 of Arcadia and all the men of Locris. The Athenians were absent because they had put their hoplites and commitment to the naval fleet, which also was ridiculous compared to the Persian navy. But the gang that should have received cheers and applause, the formation whose mere presence instilled courage and confidence to all military buildup, was the group that showed only 300 Spartans for battle. No more Spartans came because their city was celebrating a religious holiday, which prohibited Army mobilization. And for the Spartans, the first and most important was to make peace with the gods and not violate the ritual order of existence.

So the Greeks were together about 7,000—seven thousand Greeks against 250,000 Persians (175,000 according to other modern historians). Imagine the variety of the colorful congregation: the brightness of the bronze, the solemn atmosphere, the commentaries on foreign gangs, the emblems on the shields, the typical rivalry gossip in the military, the feeling of togetherness, respect and a common destiny. The entire camp had to be surrounded by an aura of manliness and heroism. These Greeks, mostly hoplites, were well instructed. Since their younger days they were used to handling weapons and exercise the body. However, the only “professional” army was the Spartan, because in other places the hoplites lived with their families, trained on their own and were only called in case of war; while in Sparta they were permanently militarized since childhood under the terrible discipline that characterized them, and never stopped the training.

Among the Persians, however, the situation was very different. Although undoubtedly they had the numerical advantage and equipment, most were young men who had been conscripted and had little military training. However, they had highly specialized units. Unlike the Greeks, who, conditioned by their land, had stubbornly perfected the infantry level, the Persians had a formidable cavalry, chariots and excellent archers. In the vast plains, plateaus and steppes of Asia, to dominate this type of highly mobile forms of warfare was essential. The Persian Empire also had “the immortals,” a famous elite unit composed of ten thousand chosen among the Persian and Median aristocracy that, under General Hydarnes, formed the royal guard of Xerxes. The officers also consisted of Persian members of the aristocracy.

Xerxes camped his troops at the entrance, in Trachis. Leonidas, as soon he reached Thermopylae, rebuilt the ancient wall of two meters in the narrowest part of the pass, quartering the troops behind him. Having been informed that there was a path around the pass that led to the other side, he sent a thousand Phocaeans to defend it.

Xerxes, who could not conceive that the Greeks be obstinate in fighting, sent an emissary to parley with Leonidas, encouraging him to put his arms aside. The soldier’s laconic reply was “Come and catch them.” That night, when a Locris hoplite of defeatist tone commented that the cloud of Persian archers’ arrows would darken the sky and turn the day into night, Leonidas answered: “Then we’ll fight in the shade.”

The next morning, the troops appeared in ranks of formation. The Persians had gathered thousands of Medes and Kysios (Iranian peoples) and stationed at the entrance of the pass. At first, their orders were to capture alive the Greeks, as the Emperor thought he could place chains on them and display them in Persia as trophies, the style of the later Roman triumphs. Leonidas, meanwhile, made the Greeks form in the narrow gorge, and took his royal position at the right end of the phalanx. He decided not to mix the different peoples of his contingent. In his experience the soldiers preferred that well-known comrades died beside them, and it was more difficult that they fled in combat if those who they abandoned were lifetime family and friends. Leonidas put his Spartans to the front of the formation, as a spearhead. They would be the first to engage.

300SpartanWarriors

Ominously the Persians advanced and entered the gorge. The Spartans sang the paean with religious solemnity. When the Persians began raiding with terrifying shouting, the relentless meat grinder of the Spartan phalanx began to operate silently. The Persians crashed into the wall of shields with a deafening roar, waving their arms and finally skewering into the Spartan spears. Imagine the sight of that.

The blood that had run, the orders at the top of lungs, the cries of war and of pain, he cuts and stabbings, the reddened spears in and out rhythmically as sinister spikes from the shield of breastplates splashed with blood, attacking accurately the weaknesses of poorly protected enemy bodies; the shocks and bumps, the terrible wounds, the bodies of the fallen and the Spartans maintaining calm and silence in the midst of the confusion and the terrible din of battle; the Persians, brave but ineffective, immolating themselves in a glorious feat. The Spartans seemed to be everywhere, and there they were, inspiring the other Greeks to imitate them, pointing out that victory was possible and stirring the moral. By their conduct they were proving that their socialism of union and sacrifice was clearly superior to any other political system, and that they were better prepared to face the Iron Age.

Unlike Leonidas, Xerxes did not fight. Sitting on his throne of gold, located in a suitable place, he watched with horror what was happening: his troops were being slaughtered catastrophically. The Persians had much lighter and ineffective armor than the heavy Greek cuirass, as the type of Persian fight was based on mobility, speed, fluidity and flexibility of large crowds, while the Greek was organized resistance, accuracy, coordination, diamond hardness and willingness to stand together as one compact rock before the onslaught of the ocean waves. Furthermore, the Persian spears were shorter and less stout, and could not reach the Spartans with ease. They fell by the hundreds, while the Spartans were barely injured. The best Persian officers fell when, going by the head of their troops, tried to inspire them and were wounded by Hellenic weapons. When Leonidas ordered to relieve the Spartans, passing other units into combat, the situation continued: the Persians fell massacred. It is said that three times Xerxes jumped from his throne to see what was going on, perhaps as a football coach sees his team thrashed. Leonidas would only say, “the Persians have many men, but no warrior.”

General Hidarnes removed the contingent of Kysios and Medes, discovering a floor mangled with corpses. Then he made enter his immortals in combat, convinced that they would change the course of battle. Leonidas ordered his Spartans to be on the forefront again. The immortals advanced impassively on the bodies of their fallen compatriots and furiously rammed the phalanx. The Spartans suffered some casualties, but their formation did not break. For their part, the immortals were pierced by long spears and fell by the dozens, wounded and dead. Many fell into the waters of the Gulf of Malis, where many, for not knowing how to swim, or sunk by the weight of their weapons and armor, were carried by ocean currents and drowned.

The Spartans implemented their more tested and complicated tactics, demonstrating the perfect instruction they alone possessed. They opened gaps where unsuspecting enemies penetrated, only to be shut down and massacred by rapid spears poking from all sites. Other times they simulated panic and retreated in disarray, after which the Persians emboldened, pursued in disarray. But the Spartans, displaying their mastery in close order, turned quickly returning to phalanx form, each taking place at the last moment and terribly reaping the Persian ranks, sowing the ground with corpses and watering it with their blood. So passed a whole day. When evening came, the fighters retreated and had their rest. It was considered bad luck fighting at night (it was more difficult that the dead found their way to the afterlife). The Greeks were exhausted but in high spirits. The Persians, on the other hand, were fresher but their morale hit rock bottom. They must have wondered if they were as bad or if it was the Greeks who were so good.

The next morning the fight resumed. Xerxes commanded fresh Persians, hoping that maybe they made a dent in the exhausted Greek defenders. Nothing was further from reality: wave after wave, the Greeks massacred the enemy again. The terror began to spread among the Persians. Many times they tried to escape the Spartans, and the officers lashed them with whips to force them to combat.

At that point, Xerxes had to be amazed and desperate at the same time. Its fleet had failed to defeat the Greek fleet at Cape Artemision, and he could not outflank Thermopylae by sea. Then came the betrayal, the heroes’ curse. A local shepherd named Ephialtes asked to speak to Xerxes and, in exchange for a hefty sum of money, he revealed the existence of the road that skirted the ravine, in a process archetypally similar to what happened many centuries later in the fortress of Montségur of the Cathars. General Hidarnes, in command of the immortals, crossed the road guided by Ephialtes. When he saw at the distance a few Greeks ready for the fight, he hesitated and asked Ephialtes if they were Spartan. He told him they were Phocis, and Hidarnes continued. Since then, the die was cast: the Greeks were doomed. They were going to lose the battle to death.

Leonidas, meanwhile, received messengers (probably repentant Thessalians fighting under the Persians) who informed him how they would be surrounded by the enemy. The Greeks took counsel immediately. Leonidas knew already that he would lose the battle. He ordered all the Greeks to retire except his Spartans and the Thebans. The Thespians, led by Demophilus, decided to remain on their own will, and so they did, covering their small town with glory. When only Spartans, Thebans and Thespians remained (1,400 men at first, less than the casualties suffered during the fighting), the troops breakfasted. Leonidas told his men: “This is our last meal among the living. Prepare well friends, because tonight we will dine in Hades!”

The Greeks formed, this time together, the phalanx. Before them, the vast army; and the immortals to their rear. Instead of attacking the immortals to perhaps defeat them and fight their way to the withdrawal (which would be useless because it would open the Greek doors to the Persians), Leonidas ordered to attack the bulk of the Persian army, in a magnificent display of heroism and courage, with the goal of maintaining the fight for as long as possible and give time to Greece to prepare. They knew they were going to die in any case, so they chose to die heroically, showing an immense greatness. The Greeks were aware that this was no longer a resistance with hope, but a struggle of sacrifice in which the goal was a passionate and furious rush into the arms of glory; inflicting the enemy the greater damage in the process and delaying the invasion.

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In the middle of combat, and having killed countless Persians, Leonidas fell. Around his body, a hellish turmoil was formed while Greeks and Persians fought for its possession. Several times he fell into enemy hands and several times he was recovered by the Greeks. Eventually the body was secured by the Spartans that, constantly fighting, retreated to the Phocaean wall.

At one point, the Thebans separated from the bulk of the Greek phalanx. For long instants they fought valiantly, but in the end, exhausted, crazed and looking lost, threw their weapons and spread their hands in supplication to surrender to the Persians who, in the adrenaline rush, even killed a few more. The rest of Thebes was captured. After the battle, the Persians would mark them on the forehead with hot irons and sell them as slaves. What helped them to surrender? What did they get? Life? A life of slavery and humiliation? Would it not have been better and more dignified to die in battle, fighting to the end?

The Spartans and Thespians, meanwhile, continued to struggle beside the Phocaean wall. Under pressure and shock loads the wall collapsed, crushing warriors of the two armies. Fighting continued, deaf and ruthless. Many fell exhausted and could not raise again. Others died pierced by the enemy metal. When finally Hidarnes appeared in front of the immortals, the few Greeks who remained, almost all Spartans, climbed a small hill to defend themselves more easily. They put their backs against a wall to avoid being completely unprotected. There were less than a hundred Greeks against at least 100,000 Persians (some say 150,000 and others speak of figures far higher). There, every Greek was facing more than a thousand Persians.

The time of final resistance witnessed the most flaming heroism of history. The last fight on the hill of Thermopylae has been the inspiration for countless works of art over centuries. Probably only Spartans were left. Almost all of them were wounded and bleeding from several wounds. Their spears were broken and their shields shattered, so they resorted to the sword. Those who were unarmed after breaking or losing the sword used rocks to hit the enemy, or fanatically rushed upon him to kill him with their hands or teeth, fist, choking, breaking, hitting, crunching, tearing and biting with superhuman ferocity, in a vicious and bloody melee. Were not these men possessed by the legendary holy wrath, that of the berserkers and the inspired warriors? They well could have asked: “Why do you fight, if you will lose? You are shattered, on the brink of death and closer to the other world than to Earth. Why do ye keep fighting?” But those were improper thoughts for heroes. Their behavior far exceeded anything in this world. Reason had been trampled under the feet of the Hellenic will, which squeezed at the maximum the forces from those heroes. It was a rage that came from the above. It was blind fanaticism; an invincible, visceral, red and instinctive feeling. It was a fight to the end.

The Persians failed to reduce those brave and, totally demoralized, retreated. Then their archers advanced, and loosed successive rains of arrows that finished off the resistant. A massive, imperial army of hundreds of thousands fighting dozens (probably around a hundred) of crazed Greeks, and still they had to beat them from afar because in melee they could never win!

When the last Spartan—exhausted, delirious and bleeding, with his mind set on his wife, his children, his country and the sky—fell riddled with arrows shot from a distance, the battle of Thermopylae ended. The Greeks had lost and the Persians won. The fallen had furiously slain themselves to the last man, gentlemanly consummating their oath of honor and eternal fidelity and ascended the steps of immortal glory. In a single battle those fallen men achieved a higher luminance than what a thousand priests and philosophers have achieved in lifetimes of dedication.

To imagine the fear that this slaughter of Persians injected into the heart of Xerxes, suffice it to say that he ordered the corpse of Leonidas to be beheaded and crucified. (Similarly, William the Conqueror viciously ordered to mutilate the body of King Harold after the Battle of Hastings against the Anglo-Saxons, who also defended themselves at a high point). This is much more revealing than it seems, since the Persians had the tradition to honor a brave, dead enemy. But Leonidas had shown him something too far above his respect, something terrifying that turned upside down all he took for granted and knew about the Great West. Other Greek corpses were thrown into a mass grave. Xerxes asked, beside himself in his trauma, if in Greece there were more men like those 300 Spartans. We can well imagine what he felt when he was informed that there were 8,000 Spartiates in Sparta, brave and trained as the 300 fallen.

Let us now do a little count of the battle of Thermopylae: 7,000 Greeks against (say) 250,000 Persians. The Greek side had 4,000 dead, including Leonidas, his 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians. But the Persian side had no more and no less than 20,000 people dead, including two brothers of Xerxes: Abrocomes and Hyperanthes. That is, an army thirty times smaller than the enemy inflicts losses five times greater than what themselves suffered. Proportionally this means a triumph of 150 to 1. Comment is superfluous, although we know that, after all, the cold numerical figures understand nothing of heroism and will.

What happened after the battle? Was the sacrifice in vain? What did the fallen get? Buying time for the naval fleet and the Greek counter-offensive. The Persians continued their march to Athens, finding it empty because its inhabitants had been evacuated during the fighting at Thermopylae. The Persians sacked and burned what they could. In the battle of Salamis in the same year of 480 BCE, the Greek fleet defeated the Persian in glorious combat. Xerxes had to retire with an important part of his army, for without the fleet, logistics and supply were precarious. He, therefore, left 80,000 Persians (some say 300,000) under the command of his brother, General Mardonius, to continue with the campaign.

A few months later, at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE, 5,000 Spartans along with their allies, under the leadership of King Pausanias of Sparta, decisively defeated the Persians, and General Mardonius fell in combat. Persia was defeated. Greece won the Second Greco-Persian War. The sacrifice of Thermopylae, therefore, was not in vain.

The poet Simonides wrote a poem in honor of the fallen Spartans at Plataea (below, an elegiac couplet):

O Stranger, send the news home
to the people of Sparta that here we are laid to rest:
the commands they gave us have been obeyed.

What was the catastrophic possibility that Leonidas prevented? Had he withdrawn from the fight, the Persian cavalry would have attacked in mass and in the open, closing from behind and from the sides and slaughtering his troops. Persia would have conquered all of Greece and probably a significant portion of Eastern Europe; perhaps even beyond the Balkans and the Danube. (At that time there was no Vienna that would stop it.) This would have been a disaster for all posterity of ethnic Europeans.

Before parting for the fight, Queen Gorgo, wife of Leonidas, asked: “What should I do if you don’t come back?” The short answer was: “Marry one worth of me and have strong sons to serve Sparta.” In the perpetuation of the race there is no acceptable pause. The road is inexorable and the mystery of the blood is transmitted to the new heirs.

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The Battle of Thermopylae was archetypal. Leonidas (a Heraclid descendant of Heracles, ancestor of the Spartan kings) fell on the spot where, according to tradition, Heracles had rushed to the waters to calm his inner fire. There a statue was placed of a lion (an animal whose skin Heracles put on and contained in it the same name of Leonidas), and a simple inscription on a plate, “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.”

Die Götzen-Dämmerung, 2

Gotzen-Dammerung-cover

Plato goes further. He says with an innocence possible only for a Greek, not a “Christian,” that there would be no Platonic philosophy at all if there were not such beautiful youths in Athens: it is only their sight that transposes the philosopher’s soul into an erotic trance, leaving it no peace until it lowers the seed of all exalted things into such beautiful soil.

Another queer saint! One does not trust one’s ears, even if one should trust Plato. At least one guesses that they philosophized differently in Athens, especially in public. Nothing is less Greek than the conceptual web-spinning of a hermit—amor intellectualis dei [intellectual love of God] after the fashion of Spinoza. Philosophy after the fashion of Plato might rather be defined as an erotic contest, as a further development and turning inward of the ancient agonistic gymnastics and of its presuppositions... What ultimately grew out of this philosophic eroticism of Plato?

A new art form of the Greek agon: dialectics. Finally, I recall—against Schopenhauer and in honor of Plato—that the whole higher culture and literature of classical France too grew on the soil of sexual interest. Everywhere in it one may look for the amatory, the senses, the sexual contest, “the woman”—one will never look in vain…

Sparta – XIV

Translated from EVROPA SOBERANA


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My brethren in war! I love you from the very heart. I am, and was ever, your counterpart. And I am also your best enemy. So let me tell you the truth!

I know the hatred and envy of your hearts. Ye are not great enough not to know of hatred and envy. Then be great enough not to be ashamed of them!

“What is good?” ye ask. To be brave is good. Let the little girls say: “To be good is what is pretty, and at the same time touching.”

They call you heartless: but your heart is true, and I love the bashfulness of your goodwill. Ye are ashamed of your flow, and others are ashamed of their ebb.

Your highest thought, however, ye shall have it commanded unto you by me—and it is this: man is something that is to be surpassed.

So live your life of obedience and of war! What matter about long life! What warrior wisheth to be spared!

I spare you not, I love you from my very heart, my brethren in war!—

—Nietzsche


War

The war for the Spartans was a real party as, during wars, they relaxed the cruder aspects of the controls and solid discipline. They permitted that the soldiers beautified their weapons, armor, clothes and hair. They softened the harshness of the exercises and allowed a less severe disciplinary regime in general, plus larger and complete meals. Consequently, for them “the war was a break from the preparing for war,” as Plutarch wrote, and this made them subconsciously prefer war to peace.

Each Spartan was a hoplite (a word that comes from hoplon, shield), a formidable war machine, a weapon of mass destruction, an elite soldier infantry: well trained, and armed and equipped with the best of his time—a weight of approximately seventy pounds.

The Spartan soldier wore:

• A two-meter spear (which also had a tip at its lower end in order to finish off the fallen).

• A shield (hoplon or aspis) of ninety centimeters in diameter, weighing nine kilos and lined with bronze. In the center of the shield a bee of natural size was painted (remember that the bee was an attribute of the goddess Artemis). They were always told that the optimum distance for the attack was that where the bee could be clearly distinguished.

• A dagger.

• An armor made of metal plates that allowed some mobility.

• A helmet designed to cover the entire head and the face with holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. It probably evolved from a more primitive model, as used by the Germans, which usually consisted of a cap that protected the face and skull; a bump down the brow to protect the nose, and two bumps on the sides covering the ears or cheeks, whose purpose was to protect the winged attacks to the head.

• Greaves that protected the shins and knees.

• A sword called xyphos which hung on the left thigh, and was particularly short to be controlled from compact rows where the hindrance of a long sword was not welcome. The Athenians made fun of the short length of the Spartan swords and the Spartans answered, “He who is not afraid to approach the enemy does not require long swords.”

The Spartan Hoplite also wore a coat. It was red to disguise the color of blood. The visible colors were, then: the red coat, the golden bronze, and the white and black crest, in some places of checkerboard design, like a dualistic sign. (The custom of wearing red textile with the specific goal of disguising the blood also occurred with the Roman legionaries and the imperial British military, the “Redcoats.”)


hoplite

This illustration of a Spartan hoplite is accurate. The arms show that the Spartan is terribly muscularly and roasted by the sun and air, since he has been permanently exposed throughout his life. The illustration has some flaws, however. The sword, which should be holstered on the left side of the hip, is absent or not visible. The bronze helmet, shield and greaves on the legs should be shiny as gold, not worn off as the Spartans beautified and polished their weapons and armor, which were clean at the time of combat. There are also extra sandals in the illustration, as the Spartans were always barefoot. And the hair color is too dark.


The Spartan hoplites were barefoot during battle because their feet were so tanned that their skin was tougher than any footwear. With them they could climb rocks and stomp on rough snow or spines without even noticing. Their shield—a most important tool and a symbol of camaraderie whose loss was a disgrace (as for the Germans, according to Tacitus)—showed off the Greek letter lambda (Λ / λ), the equivalent to the Rune Laf, representing the sound “L” as initial of Laconia, Lacedaemonia and Lycurgus; although the rune Ur (sometimes represented exactly like the lambda and symbolizing virility) may be a more appropriate “translation.” The phrase associated with this rune was: “Know yourself and know everything.” At the oracle of Delphi it was written, “Know thyself” on a temple, so that the rune Ur again fits perfectly in the Spartan context.

Let us now turn our attention to the Spartan warriors. How were the clashes? The captains harangued their men with a traditional formula, “Go ahead, armed sons of Sparta, come into the dance of Ares.” In battle they marched in tightly-closed ranks; with calm, discipline and gravity, relying on the immeasurable strength of all their instruction, to the sound of a flute and singing the solemn song of marches known as the Paean, a hymn to Apollo. It was a type of flute traversière which sound is closely associated with the infantry, especially in the eighteenth century. The sound conveyed trust, safety, lightness and a serene joy.

This close formation was called the phalanx, of which the Spartans were the greatest teachers of leading tactics that other Greek strategists considered extremely complicated. Shields formed an impenetrable wall from which soldiers, in serried ranks, side by side, shoulder to shoulder and shield to shield, stabbed and cut with spears and swords. The Macedonians and Romans (even, in their way, the Spanish troops and the armies of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries) inherited this form of combat that put emphasis on the close order. John Keegan, in his History of Warfare,” explains it well:

falangeCrossing a no man’s land perhaps 150 yards wide at a clumsy run, under a weight of armor and weapons of seventy pounds, the ranks drove straight into each other. Each individual would have chosen another as his target at the moment of contact, thrusting his spear point at some gap between shield and shield, and seeking to hit a patch of flesh not covered by armor—throat, armpit or groin. The chance was fleeting. As the second and subsequent ranks were brought up short by the stop in front, the phalanx concertinaed, throwing the weight of seven men on to the back of the warriors engaged with the enemy. Under this impact some men inevitably went down at once, dead, wounded, or overborne from the rear.

polished spartansThat might create a breach in the shield wall. Those in the second or third ranks strove to open it wider with their spears, thrusting and jabbing from their relatively protected position at whoever they could reach. If it widened, there followed the othismos, ‘push with shield’, to widen it further and to win room in which swords, the hoplite’s secondary weapon, might be drawn and used to slash at an enemy’s legs. The othismos was the most certain method, however: it could lead to the pararrexis or ‘breaking’, when the most heavily beset by the enemy’s pressure began to feel the impulse to flight, and either broke from the rear ranks or, more shamefully, struggled backward from the point of killing to infect their comrades with panic also.

As we see, it was a kind of war requiring very good preparation; a methodical fighting type that contrasted with the previous “barbarian” combat: more open, freer, individualistic and furious. The evolution of war marked the evolution of the people. They had discovered that they were stronger together and well coordinated, as if they were a single entity, a god.

All the changes of direction or attack were communicated by the music of the fifes. Today, in the military close order, orders can be given with a bugle, each melody is a determined order. The closed order of modern armies is simply a legacy of the spirit of the Spartan phalanx: socialist institutions to the core. In spite of the fact that close order is no longer the key to success in combat, it is undeniable that it reinforces collective coordination, camaraderie, pride, the esprit de corps and ceremonial rituals that so matter in our day, and the difference that converting a set of men into a unit can make.

The battles were bloody and cruel. Obviously, the fighting was hand to hand and the attacks made by cutting or piercing through the body with sharp edges or tips of extremely sharp metal blades, which caused terrible injuries and mutilations. As a result, many suffered war wounds or were maimed. What did these crippled do in a state like Sparta? They just turned up in the battle with the greatest fanaticism to accelerate their own destruction and the arrival of glory. It was normal to see mutilated veterans (remember Miguel de Cervantes), blind, lame or maimed in the ranks of Spartan combatants. A stranger asked a blind hoplite why he would fight in such a state. The blind man said that “at least I’ll chip the sword of the enemy.”

The Spartans marching into battle always received the shield from their mothers, who delivered them with the severe words, “With it or on it”: back with the shield or on the shield, victory or death; because if someone fell in battle the comrades carried the body, and then his ashes, on the shield. (The Spartans, like all Indo-Europeans from Scandinavia to India, practiced cremation burial ritual.) The shield was thus a lunar symbol equivalent to the cup, which collects the solar essence of fallen hero and, as a cup, related to the archetype of the woman. In fact, a woman delivering the shield is a fairly common archetypal motif in European art of all eras. The shield had, as a talisman, the power to protect not only ourselves but the comrades in arms, so it should be considered almost magical.

The doctrine of loyalty, war, and resurrection of the hero allowed the Spartans to march to the fiercest fighting with a calm serenity and joy that nowadays few would understand and many repudiate. Knowing that they would be unable to do such a thing what is left is vilifying the one who, for self-worth and inner will, was capable of doing it. Before the fighting, tranquility was obvious among them: some combed, cleaned or carefully tended their hair. Others brightened their breastplates and helmets; cleaned and sharpened their weapons, made athletic exercises or measured each other in boxing or wrestling. Even before the legendary battle of Thermopylae, the Persians observers reported an astonished Xerxes that the Spartans were fighting among themselves and combing the hair.

Camaraderie, forged in difficult situations, even in the face of death, was an important part of Spartan society, as it reinforced the union and mutual confidence. The cult of strength, competition and manhood made the comrades in arms to exceed and protect each other. Often an adult men took under his wing a young person or child, although in this case the relationship was like that of the master and pupil, as was the relationship between Achilles (the young, temerarious and vigorous hero) and Patroclus (his prudent and wise mentor, older than him): a relationship that without any justification has been classified simply as homosexual by certain media groups. Something similar to the defaming process of the Achilles-Patroclus relationship has occurred regarding lesbianism. The way that our current society averts healthy people from the Greek ideal, the Indo-European ideal, is to ridicule it and claim that homosexuality was absolutely normal in Greece by means of pulling out from the sleeve sodomite and lesbian relationships from any reference of fellowship, mastership, devotion and friendship. And this is where modern historiography, clearly serving the interests of social engineering, has gotten his big nose.

The pace of life that the Spartan male bore was of an intensity to kill a herd of rhinos, and not even the women of Sparta would have been able to stand it. Thus the world of the Spartan military was a universe in itself—a universe of men. On the other hand, the intense emotional relationship, the cult of virility and the camaraderie that existed between teacher and student, in phalanx combat and throughout society, has served to fuel these days the myth of homosexuality. On this, Xenophon wrote:

The customs instituted by Lycurgus were opposed to all of these [what other Greek states did, nominally Athens and Corinth]. If someone, being himself an honest man, admired a boy’s soul and tried to make of him an ideal friend without reproach and to associate with him, he approved, and believed in the excellence of this kind of training. But if it was clear that the attraction lay in the boy’s outward beauty, he banned the connexion as an abomination; and thus he caused lovers to abstain from boys no less than parents abstain from sexual intercourse with their children and brothers and sisters with each other. (Constitution of the Lacedaemonians, 2).

The relationship between man and teenager in Sparta was that of teacher-student, based on respect and admiration, and was a workout, a way of learning, instruction in their own way. The sacredness of the teacher-student or instructor-aspirant institution has been challenged by our society for a while, just as the mannerbünd. Yet, both types of relationships are the foundation of the unity of the armies. Today, children grow up in the shadow of the feminine influence of the female teachers, even through adolescence. It is difficult to know to what extent the lack of male influence limits their wills and ambitions, making them gentle beings, malleable and controllable: what is good for the globalist system.

Others spoke about the Spartan institution of love between master and disciple, but always made it clear that this love was “chaste.” The Roman Aelian said that if two Spartan men “succumbed to temptation and indulged in carnal relations, they would have to redeem the affront to the honor of Sparta by either going into exile or taking their own lives” (at the time exile was considered worse than death).

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It is noteworthy that if homosexuality was indeed so natural to the original Hellenes as it was for the Greeks of decadent states, Hellenic mythology would be infested with explicit references to such relationships, which is not, as homosexuality was a plague outside the Hellenic spirit that appeared when Greece was already declining. By the time of Plato, for example, homosexuality was beginning to be tolerated in Athens itself. However, ancient and even some modern authors make it clear that Sparta did not fall in this filth.

The fallacy that homosexuality was “traditional” and well regarded in Greece is refuted in detail in the article “El mito derrumbado.”

Sparta – XII

Translated from EVROPA SOBERANA

“And in Lacedaemon and Crete not only men but also women have a pride in their high cultivation. And hereby you may know that I am right in attributing to the Lacedaemonians [Lacedaemonia was the name borne by the city of Sparta from Late Antiquity to the 19th century] this excellence in philosophy and speculation: If a man converses with the most ordinary Lacedaemonian, he will find him seldom good for much in general conversation, but at any point in the discourse he will be darting out some notable saying, terse and full of meaning, with unerring aim; and the person with whom he is talking seems to be like a child in his hands.”

—Plato, Protagoras


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On the pagan mentality, the Spartan religious feeling and the supremacy over Athens

Religion in Sparta played a major role, far above any other Greek state. Spartan supremacy was not only physical, but spiritual. This apparent contradiction is explained by the Hellenic religion, drinking directly from the original Indo-European religion: a religion of the strong—not a religion of self-pity and worship of the sick, the weak, the downtrodden and unhappy. In Sparta, also, that religion had been placed at the service of a shield specifically designed to withstand the rigors of the Iron Age.

Hellenic polytheism was something deeply natural and vital, and is inextricably woven to the memory of the blood, as “divinity consists precisely in that there are gods and not one god.” Our ancestors made of their gods spiritual monuments containing all those qualities peculiar to them that had made them thrive and succeed. They deposited in them higher feelings with which they gave way and perfected together a being who existed before in fuzzy and dormant state. The creation of gods is something capital when valuing a people, for the gods are the personification of the highest ideals and values of that people. One can say that the gods created the race, and the race their gods. Through the gods we can know the people who worshiped them, the same way that through the people—ourselves, our ancestors, our history and our brothers—we meet the gods.

The peoples had their gods and the gods had their villages. Sparta worshiped typical Hellenic deities, although two among them acquired singularly relevant and important roles and became the most worshiped deities, even by the time of the Dorian invasion: Apollo and Artemis. They were twin brothers, reconfirming the cult of “sacred twins.” Their father was Zeus, the heavenly father; and their mother was Leto, daughter of Titans, who to escape the jealousy of Hera (Zeus’ heavenly wife) had to become a she-wolf and run away to the country of the hyperboreans. Note here the presence of an important symbolic constant, the heavenly principle (Zeus, eagle, lightning) together with the earthly principle (Leto, wolf, titan).

Apollo_Artemis_Brygos_Louvre

Apollo and Artemis, ca. 470 BCE.


Apollo was the son of Zeus and brother of Artemis, god of beauty, of poetry (he was called “blond archpoet”), music, bow and arrow, youth, the sun, the day, of manhood, light and pride. He could predict the future and each year returned from Hyperborea in a chariot drawn by swans. (As Lohengrin, the king of the Grail, with his boat, and like other medieval myths about the “Swan Knight” as Helias—obviously a version of the Roman Helios in France.) Apollo presided over the chorus of the nine muses, deities that inspired artists, and lived on Mount Helicon. He was conceived as a young, blond and blue-eyed man, holding a lyre, harp or bow, and possessor of a manly, clean, youthful and pure beauty—“Apollonian” beauty. The mythology explained that in his childhood he killed the serpent Python (in other versions a dragon), setting in its place, with the help of the hyperboreans, the sanctuary of Delphi.

Heracles also killed a snake when he was a newborn. Such legends represent the struggle that initially led the Indo-European invaders against the telluric gods of the pre-Indo-European peoples. Apollo received several titles including Phoebus (“radiant”), Aegletes (“light of the sun”) and Lyceus (“born of wolf,” as in some way were Romulus and Remus). As equivalents gods of Apollo in other peoples we have Apollo Phoebus (Roman), Abellio or Belenus (Celtic ), Baldur (German), Byelobog (Slavs), Lucifer (medieval heretics), Baal (Phoenician), the Beelzebub demonized by the Church and Belial: another demon of Christianity.

Apollo was worshiped in the most important festival of Sparta, the Carnea. There they paid homage to the under-god in the figure of the ram. To carry out the rituals, the priests chose five unmarried men who for four years should continue a vow of chastity.

Artemis was the sister of Apollo, daughter of Zeus, goddess of night, moon, bow and arrow; of forests, hunting and virginity, but also of labor and male fertility. Artemis was usually depicted armed with bow and silver arrows, wearing a short and light tunic or skins of wild animals, carrying her hair up and accompanied by a pack of hunting dogs. Her car was pulled by deer, the animal most associated with her, and in fact she is sometimes depicted with horns of deer, reminiscent of the most primitive paganism. She was chaste and virgin in perpetuity, and virgin were her priestesses, Melissa (“bees,” another symbol of Artemis). She was harsh, stern, proud, sharp, wild, silent and cold: the result of a patriarchal work, the only model of female divinity able to command respect and devotion to such an ascetic and leathery virility as the Spartan.

The Dorian Artemis equaled the Celtic Artio, the Roman Diana, and the Slavic Dievana; but she had nothing to do with the Artemis worshiped by eunuch priests in the temple of Ephesus (Asia Minor, now modern Turkey): a goddess of “fertility” often depicted with black skin, multiple breasts, whimsical hairstyles, a body adornment and other oriental distortions. (Dievana was conceived by the ancient Slavs as a virgin goddess associated with hunting and the moon. For the Poles, she was a young virgin who hunted in the forests. South Slavs imagined her running through the forests of the Carpathians, and other Slavic peoples imagined her accompanied by bears or a pack of dogs. All these configurations correspond clearly to the Greek Artemis or Roman Diana.) In Greek mythology Artemis was a mentor to the young Atalanta, who became the best runner of Hellas, and no one, not even a god, was closer to conquer her than the mortal hero Orion. Apollo and Artemis were, finally, the sacred twin couple; day and night, sun and moon, gold and silver. They were the juvenile archetypes of Spartan masculinity and femininity, respectively.

On the other hand, Sparta venerated the heroes of the Iliad, especially Achilles, but also Menelaus and Helen, kings of Sparta in Homer’s mythology. Heracles was practically a Spartan national hero (remember that, according to tradition, he was the patriarch that founded the royal lineages of Sparta), and his figure was hugely popular among young men.

The city of Sparta had forty-three temples dedicated to various gods and twenty-two temples dedicated to the heroes (including those of the Iliad), whose deeds inspired the flourishing generations; more than fifteen statues of gods, four altars and numerous funerary tombs. There was also a temple dedicated to Lycurgus, worshiped as a god. In a city the size of Sparta, the number of religious buildings was very noticeable.

In religious ceremonies, men and women—particularly those in age of dating—attended, entirely naked as they did during the processions, the tournaments, the beauty contests and the dances. This already implies that the Spartans were not ashamed of their bodies, but that proudly displayed them whenever they could because they were robust, well-formed and harmonious. These events were festivals of beauty, Dionysian ceremonies in which the body was worshiped and beautified by effort and sacrifice. According to Plato, a beautiful body promises a beautiful soul and “beauty is the splendor of truth.”

The athletic custom of shaving the body hair and smear oneself with oil before a competition was of Spartan origin, although the Celts were given to body shave before battles. They sought thereby to extol the body; give relief, volume, detail, brightness and “life” to the muscles, therefore proudly displaying the result of years and years of grueling physical training and strenuous efforts, probably with the aim of finding the best partner and/or gaining prestige.

The guilt and sense of sin that Christianity tried to impose in the field of body pride made man feel ashamed of the very things he was proudest. Judeo-Christian morality, by condemning hygiene, care, training and the preparation of the body as “sinful”, “sensual” and “pagan” gradually achieved that the European population—converted into an amorphous herd whose attitude to any hint of divine perfection was met with resentment and mistrust—forgot that their bodies also were a creation and a gift from God.

For young people of both sexes such festivals served to became familiar with each other, because we think that Sparta was a city with few inhabitants, where thanks to public ceremonies everyone knew everybody by sight and was integrated into the popular. It was at these events where you watched and chose your future spouse. The competition also served to establish hierarchies in beauty, courage, strength, agility, hardness, endurance, courage, skill, speed, etc., and the best men would join the best women, as might be the case for the coronation of a king and a queen in a contest, or a champion and a championess in a competition. In his Republic Plato said that it is necessary that the best men join the best women most of the time, and that the worst men join the worst women; and that you have to raise the children of the first, not those of the second. Thanks to this, and to the facilities and even obligations of marriage, the young Spartans married men and women between twenty and twenty-five years.

Le us imagine all those pagan cults of sacrifice, struggle, union and that glorification of the collective existence of a great people. That’s pride and socialist joy or nationalism, a cult for effort and struggle through which the Spartans themselves nourished themselves, as the warriors’ deeds made that the youngest would want to match them and beat them; they longed for their opportunity to demonstrate their flowering qualities. Moreover, knowledge of the deeds of the society helped Spartans to know themselves; to be proud of their homeland, and to become aware of its grandeur and superiority. Everything was wisely designed for the burning of Spartan pride to last.

What would ritualism in such a “socialist” country be? It was simple and austere, and the Spartans took it with fanatical solemnity, for all rituals were perfect and the result flawless. The rites had to be carried out at whatever cost. It is known that before the battles the Spartans celebrated a sacrifice, usually a male goat: a fertility sign, and under no circumstances they fought before the ritual was consummated. There is the story of how this was practiced to an extreme once the enemy appeared during the ritual. The Spartans did not move from their positions until the ending of the ceremonial, even when the first enemy arrows started the killing and wounding others. When the ritual ended they fought and won the battle. Such kind of feelings, orbiting around rites in which they reproduced symbolic events, kept them in contact with the beyond: where the force of the fallen and the ancient fathers dwelt.

All these elements contributed to form a highly spiritual feeling: the Spartan felt himself as the summit of creation, the favorite of the gods, a privileged, magnificent, splendid, arrogant and godlike creature; a member of a holy seed, a holy race and lucky “link in the eternal racial chain,” a protagonist of an unparalleled feat of an extremely profound mystical experience that he was convinced would end up leading him directly to the immortality of Olympus, as the semi-divine heroes he worshiped. He was proud of being a Spartiate because precisely the fact that to become one of them it was necessary to overcome the hardest ordeals made him feel a holder of a privilege.

Nietzsche said, “For a tree to reach Heaven with its branches, it must first touch Hell with its roots,” and it is said that Odin went down to the huts before ascending to the palaces. This implies that only after passing the most terrible tests the warrior has earned the right to access to higher states, on pain of suffering the degradation to which it leads the drunken arrogance of the one who has not hardened in suffering and is not able to take the pleasure, power and luxury with respect, care, gentleness, veneration, humility and an almost apprehensive appreciation. The Spartans had reached the bottom, sinking into the whole tragedy of their atrocious instruction, and also had passed through all the manly sensations of fullness, health, vigor, strength, power, force, dominion, glory, victory, joy, camaraderie, reward and triumph. Having covered the whole emotional range that goes from pain to pleasure made them to possess a wisdom only for the heroes and the fallen, and surely no one could appreciate more the significance and importance of pleasures than the Spartans.

It existed in Sparta, as in other places, an initiating circle of priests and priestesses. Little is known about them except that they were selected men and women, initiated at specific sites in secret ceremonies called “mysteries,” which made them the repositories of ancient wisdom and esoteric mystical orientation. In Greece, the mysteries represented what could not be explained rationally with words, but that was necessary to see and live it. The mysteries (of Delphi, Eleusis, Delos, Samothrace, Orpheus, etc.) became prestigious initiation schools, with important people attending from all Hellas with intent of awakening the spirit. Much of what we know of them is related to a decadent age which had betrayed the secret, so the ritual was monstrously disfigured and the true mysteries gone.

Mount Taygetos, symbol of pride and elitism of Sparta, was also called Mount Dionysius because it was there where the Spartans worshiped this god in a mystery of elaborate ritual ceremonies, the mysteries of Dionysus. Dionysus is a kind of Hellenic Shiva (in Hinduism, Shiva is said to meditate on the top of Mount Meru): a divine, destructive and dancing archetype. Much confusion has arisen around Dionysus, so we will try to clean up the image of this god.

The mythology explained that Dionysus was the son of Zeus (a masculine and heavenly principle) and of some earthly goddess (an earthly, feminine principle) that, according to some versions, is Demeter, Persephone and Semele. Dionysius had been torn (like the Egyptian Osiris and the Vedic Purusha) and eaten by the Titans (chthonic entities), but, as the Titans ended up breeding men, all men have within them a spark of Dionysus. Zeus could save the heart of Dionysus and, planting it in the womb of his mother (in other versions, in Zeus’ thigh), Dionysus was reborn and rose to the rank of “twice born.”

Dionysus was the god of the strong instincts, of the fullness of life, spiritual abundance, the joy of life, transparent pleasure, gratitude; the joyful and furious frenzy of happiness that, wanting earthly eternity, needs the children. It was par excellence the god of the healthy and strong: of that popular pagan joy that overflows and created in its abundant happiness—or destroys in its unbridled rage—; the god of the instincts that make one feel alive and rise the race above its materials limitations or from everyday pettiness.

Exekias_Dionysos_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen

Sixth century BC piece depicting Dionysus among sailors transformed to dolphins.


Over time, however, and as Hellas was losing its purity, the cult of Dionysus was easily perverted (being a god of bodily, material and “dark” impulses) and became a fat god of orgies: a noisy god of amusements, alcohol, promiscuity and insane hysteria. The Romans adopted this deformed god as Bacchus, and his followers (mostly cowardly, decadent, perverted, morbid and boring women of good families) made the cult degenerate into orgiastic “orgies,” including blood sacrifices, promiscuous sex and alcohol poisoning. It was such a scandal that was formed around the Bacchanalia that the senate of Rome in 186 BCE and forbade it and exterminated its followers in a great slaughter.

At this point, we must address the issue that will certainly be around the heads of many readers: the comparison Sparta-Athens. What city was “better”?

Often we are told that Athens represented the artistic and spiritual summit of Greece and Sparta the physical and warrior evolution. It’s not as easy as that. We must start from the basis that it is a great mistake to judge the development of a society for its commercial or material advancement. This would lead us to conclude that the illiterate Charlemagne was lower than anybody else present, or Dubai the home of the world’s most exalted civilization.

It is necessary to better assess the spirituality, health, individual quality and the genetic background of which a society is depository. This could ground us in unusual lands, for instance, that the Cro-Magnon culture was highest that has stepped on the planet. As already mentioned, not without reason it has been said that the whole Spartan state was an order, a union of warrior-monks, as the Spartans zealously cultivated a discipline and ancient wisdom that most Greek states had lost. Many have noticed that the harsh Spartan discipline practices have a distinctively touch of a warrior yoga, meaning that any ascetic yoga practice would help the physical, mental and spiritual improvement. In Sparta everything worked within the mystique and the uttermost devotion of the people of Greece, and it is a huge mistake to believe that the only polished Spartan instruction was the body.

Thus we come to the important subject of art and that it usually happens that it is a common argument to vilify Sparta. The Spartans used to say that they carved monuments in the flesh, which implied that their art was a living one: literally them, and the individuals that composed their homeland. But Sparta also had conventional art as understood in the present. It was famous throughout Greece for its music and dance (of which nothing has survived), as well as its highly-prized poetry that has come to us fragmented. Its architects and sculptors were employed in such prestigious places as Delphi and Olympia, and imposed a stamp of straight simplicity and crystal clarity in their works. The best example of this is the sober Doric style, direct heritage of Sparta that became a model not only for countless temples throughout Greece, as the Parthenon in Athens itself, but also for the classic taste of later Europe that has endeavored to continue the legacy of Greece and Rome.

DoricParthenon

Example of Doric architectural style, considered the paradigm of the classic in the West.


The Greeks, and particularly the Spartans, studied “physiognomy” to interpret the character, personality, and ultimately the soul of an individual based on physical features, especially of the face: to the point that ugliness in certain Greek states was practically a curse. It was also believed that beauty and a willingness of the features should be an expression of noble qualities necessary for a beautiful body bearer, if only dormant. The creators of the Greek statues made them with that knowledge of the human face and of the perfect proportions in mind, and therefore represented not only a beautiful body but also a beautiful body carrying a beautiful soul. The blind rage with which the Christians destroyed most Greek statues indicates that they greatly feared what they represented, because in them the Hellenes fixed and settled, once and for all, as a goal and template and ideal: the human type that Christianity would never be able to produce.

Many other states, on the other hand, suffered from a taste for the exotic and the cosmopolitan in which all empires fall when they neglect their attention, authenticity and identity. Gobineau called Athens the most Phoenician of the Greek cities (Essay on the Inequality of Human Races, Book IV, Chapter IV). Athens, with the plutocracy of Piraeus; with its mob of merchants, charlatans, noisy slaves, acrobats, pseudo-intellectuals, pundits, soothsayers and false Egyptian magicians; with their sumptuous clothes, rich food, spices, incense, colors, flavors, perfumes, obscene riches, deformed mystery cults, orgiastic ceremonies, prostitution, alcoholism, dirt, disease, and finally rampant decay in demagoguery including cosmopolitanism, hedonism, homosexuality, multiculturalism and miscegenation, was farther from the European ideal than Sparta: which ever embraced this filth; only when it was not Sparta anymore. Meanwhile, they remained essentially rustic, rough and authentic.

In Athens there emerged countless philosophical schools (some of them, as the sophists and cynics, reflecting a clearly decadent spirit) which attests to the chaos and contradictions within the Athenian citizens and of the Athenian national body itself. Demagoguery and the sagacity of the slave, the shopkeeper, the merchant, the Phoenician dealer, and the nomad of the desert began to leave a mark. And this is acclaimed by historians of philosophy that teach today (Julius Evola pointed out the pleasure with which modern civilization sees in Athens the origin of democracy). In Sparta people did not ramble or speculated because its inhabitants knew the laws of the land, the sky and the species; and lived in agreement with them with no hustle, speculation, or absurd discussions.

The Athenians despised them because they considered the Spartans brutal and simple. The Spartans despised Athenians because they considered them soft and effeminate even though the Athenians, as Greeks, were also great athletes—though never to the level of the Spartans. It is said that a Spartan who contemplated a painting depicting victorious Athenians was asked “Are those Athenians brave?” He replied “ Yes, in painting.”

There was a latent rivalry between the Ionian people of an Athens influenced by Asia Minor, and the Dorian people of Sparta directly influenced by their own Nordic heritage, who never stopped being governed by anything but their ancestral tradition and their own popular consciousness. With the exception of Athens, which saw herself as the best, all other Hellenic states reserved their admiration for Sparta, seeing it as a shrine of wisdom and justice: the true repository of primitive Hellenic tradition. Sparta was always the most famous and respected city among the Greeks. They always resorted to it to arbitrate interstate disputes, and most of the times they not even had to resort to force: Sparta sent an ambassador to which everyone would voluntarily submit, like a divine envoy.

Sparta – IX

Translated from EVROPA SOBERANA


“To breed, to bleed, to lead.”

—the law of the English aristocracy of old

“Nature has made it the calling of the young, strong, and handsome men to look after the propagation of the human race; so that the species may not degenerate.”

—Schopenhauer


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Adult life

At age twenty, after thirteen years of an atrocious training that tanned their bodies for the rest of their lives, with scarred skin and crossed backs for the whipping, young Spartans reached the critical point in their lives. In case they did not successfully pass the final phase of instruction they became perioeci or perioikoi. The others were destined for a solemn ceremony in which the diverse military communities called Syssitias (which could be defined as communal meals, guilds or Army clubs), formed to recruit members among the recently promoted. The Syssitias had from fifteen to twenty members. Some had more prestige than others, and they tried to keep up their fame by recruiting the new “promotion”. Evaluating a candidate took into account his reputation, his toughness, his skill with weapons, his courage, his audacity, his presence, his fitness and intelligence.

The candidate presented in the table of the Syssitia he aspired to join. Syssitia members then deposited small pieces of bread in an urn. The contents of the urn were inspected, and if only one of the pieces had been deliberately flattened by one of the members, the candidate was rejected. Often it was the case that the best young, the most promising and famous, were disputed by several prestigious Syssitias, while the less remarkable were incorporated into the less demanding. In any case, it was rare that a young Spartan was denied entry to any Syssitia. But in the unlikely event of being rejected by all, the young man in question became hypomeion (inferior). An outcast ate alone because of being rejected even by the most mediocre Syssitias necessarily implied that the candidate was undesirable for his comrades. He had the option to clean his honor through courageous deeds, or to fall in battle.

Joining a Syssitia meant that the member happened to be accepted by their peers as a Spartiate with all obligations, but would not acquire full citizenship rights until age thirty. That is, after thirteen years of training and after entering the Army, there were still ten years of “probation” which coincided with the period of greatest biological flourishing.

Note that the criterion of the age of majority at twenty, as well as some other issues such as purity in matters of sex, was shared by the Germans. Julius Caesar said about them in Gallic Wars:

From childhood they devote themselves to fatigue and hardships. Those who have remained chaste for the longest time receive the greatest commendation among their people: they think that by this growth is promoted… And to have had knowledge [sex] of a woman before the twentieth year they reckon among the most disgraceful acts. However, there is some hypocrisy in them in body issues, since men and women bath naked together in rivers and in their dresses so much of the body remains naked.

What is said here is exactly valid also for the Spartans who, as Indo-Europeans of tradition, drank from the same sources as the Germans. From an early age there was suffering, stimuli, glory and camaraderie to clear the path to manhood when it arrived, following aidos morale (“modesty”, “decency”). And even when maturity had arrived sexual abstinence was maintained until the young man was spiritually able to take control of his instincts. The end of all the preparatory stages was to accumulate energy and testosterone to grow; to complete without interference the biological alchemy that takes place in the male body during this stage.

In each Syssitia the member was required to provide food, in the form of barley, wine, cheese, flour, figs, quinces and other fruits. If the member failed repeatedly to provide rations he was expelled from the Syssitia and degraded to perioeci or hypomeion. It was easy to get rations: they came from the parcel of land (kleros) that each soldier was assigned, a plot of land that he almost never saw, worked by helots and managed by his wife. Throughout all the state Sparta had 10,000 parcels of which about 6,000 were in the territories of conquered Messenia.

At age of twenty, therefore, after having entered these military Syssitias, young soldiers were incorporated in the Spartan phalanx. They would be part of it, if they survived, until their sixty years: gradually ascending the ladder of command, merit and experience. They would spend most of their lives committed to the Army, although their operational period would be ten years, between twenty and thirty. From thirty they were allowed to live at home with their wives and perform public tasks to become citizens and enter the Assembly. Until then, they lived in military barracks and made all their meals with their Syssitia fellows. When they had free time they supervised the instruction of the younger generation and tried to teach them useful things, encourage them for the fights to discover the capabilities of each child, and maybe even learn something from them occasionally. Other times they were given to the company of their elders to learn from them something useful, or to hear their stories and their reflections.

The Syssitias were very important institutions in Sparta, for when the men were not waging war, they were training for warring better. And if not, they socialized with their comrades in these “clubs”. Only as a fourth place were family relationships ranked. The Syssitias were presided over by a statue of the god of laughter, introduced by the same Lycurgus. There the Spartan developed his humor and his sharp and terse conversations. There, men of every age and condition mingled. It was impossible, thus, the emergence of the “generation gap” since all generations shared their experiences and concerns. There were no distinctions of wealth, only of valor itself, and the experience was taken into account when assessing a man. They were united by the fact of having passed the instruction, having had similar hardships, and being male Spartans. They were proud to be joining the phalanx alongside those who had amply demonstrated their toughness, bravery and righteousness. That was what made them brothers.

It was of immense importance that each Spartan contracted marriage and had many children, and in fact they imposed fines and penalties for late marriage and there was even a tax of bachelorhood. As for celibacy, it was a clear crime in Sparta, and it was not even conceived. They were occasions of groups of girls beating up wandering bachelor men of already certain age. Other witnesses recounted how in winter single males and females and even couples without children were stripped naked and forced to march through the city center singing a song about how fair it was their humiliation, because they had failed to fulfill the law.

Being single at a certain age—around twenty-five—was a disgrace comparable to cowardice in battle, since Spartan femininity was completely healthy, pure and trained to provide exemplary wives and proud mothers. These women were perfectly at the height of a Spartan. Under the natural viewpoint prevailed in Sparta, it was a crime that existing perfectly healthy girls a lad deprived the race of offspring. Plutarch tells a revealing anecdote about it. A famous and respected Spartan general called Dercyllidas came at a meeting and one of the young Spartans refused to relinquish his seat, as he should, “because you do not leave a child that would relinquish it [the seat] to me.” The young man was not reprimanded or punished, because he was right.

High rates of birth were favored through incentives and awards to large families, plus the releasing of communal pay of those who had more than four healthy children. This, along with the practical obligation to marry, was aimed at encouraging the multiplication of the race.

The same occurred in the Nazi SS, where we can see how they tried by all means to multiply the progeny. Like the Spartans, the SS favored the high birth rate among its members, punishing those who did not reproduce. Some single officers were even threatened with expulsion, and were given a year to get married. In other cases, when a fighter of the SS had lost all his brothers, he was often allowed a leave period to ensure a large family before returning to the front. The alleged reason was that the State was interested that his blood would not be lost for the future. This policy healed the previous genocide of countless chaste, good men in medieval Europe: particularly the members of military-religious orders such as the Templars. Both the Spartans and the SS were a sippenorden, i.e., a racial order or religious-military order: racial clans who wanted to be eternal on earth; materially eternalized through their children and their descendants.

We gather, in any case, that the Spartan population growth should not be as great as many imagine, because despite its abundant children many died in eugenic selection and childrearing, and others during the instruction or infectious diseases expected by natural selection.

With respect to the superfluous, the Spartan philosophy was: “If it is not essential, it is a hindrance.” Everything that was not necessary for survival was banished with disdain. The jewels, ornaments, extravagant designs, garish colors and other burdens and distractions, were excised from Sparta. The luxury and decor were nonexistent. To the Spartans it was strictly forbidden to trade with gold or silver, and the possession of it was severely punished, as well as the use as ornaments or jewelry.

bars-money

The Spartan state itself refused to make coins of any kind. As tool for exchange of goods (that is, money), iron bars were used (Laconia had important iron mines). They were so big, ugly and heavy that few people wanted to accumulate them, hide them, or possess them (we could add also to count them, pet them and watch over them with curiosity as did the greedy with the beautiful gold coins). Moreover, the bars were not accepted outside of Sparta. Plutarch says, referring to the Spartan “currency” that “no one could buy with it foreign effects, nor it entered the trading ports, nor reached Laconia any wordy sophist, greeter or swindler, or man of bad traffic of women or artificer of gold and silver” (Life of Lycurgus, IX).

In short, it was not easy to fiddle with this money; nor deal, bribe, steal, smuggle or enter into contracts with foreigners; nor could vices appear such as gambling or prostitution. The greedy was exposed, as it needed a barn to store his entire fortune. And if someone happened to cut the handle bars and hide them, the manufacturers of these—when it was red-hot—dipped in vinegar, which made it lose ductility and could not be worked or molded.

I cannot resist noting that the use of iron as money in Sparta is archetypal and symbolic. While other states abandoned themselves in the gold, Sparta adopted the rough metal. While other, softer states often aimed at recreating the golden age in its nostalgic narcosis, Sparta adapted itself to the hard times of the Iron Age. Sparta, really, was a true daughter of the Iron Age: a jewel among ferments of decomposition of the autumn evening light. It was in Sparta where the understanding of a type of superior wisdom was kept: not the golden and regressed and senile wisdom, but the new wisdom of iron.

Thanks to all the measures of sobriety, coarseness and austerity, Sparta escaped the cosmopolitan, false soothsayers, jewelers, merchants, liars, drug dealers and other eastern specimens, who refused to go through a state where there was virtually no money; the little that existed was an unwanted burden to his owner, and its inhabitants were all proud, xenophobic and incorruptible soldiers.

Plutarch said that for the Spartans “money lacked interest or appreciation.” Both the contempt of material and fleeting pleasures like money itself points to an ascetic, anti-materialist and anti-hedonistic society. Nietzsche repeated, like other Eastern teachers: “Whoever has little is in no danger that he will be owned. Praise that simple poverty!” The Spartans were taught that civilization itself, with its luxuries, comforts, riches, its effeminacy, lust and complacency, was a dilutional factor: something countless times certificated by Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, who admired the ascendant and uncontaminated world of the barbarians, of which the Spartans were the ultimate, more refined and perfected, expression. Sparta did not have to be contaminated by this dangerous Eastern influence, first because it had the abundant labor of the helots and because, for racial reasons, it did not allow immigration and the slave trade. Sparta saw itself as the repository of ancient Greek, and especially, Dorian customs and thus they also saw the other people of Hellas—except Athens.

From age twenty-five Spartans were allowed to eat with their wives, occasionally. From age thirty (the age at which the growth hormone decays) Spartan discipline relaxed, especially on the “communal” aspects. The Spartan left, then, the military barracks and went to live in his home with his wife and children (though by now probably some of his sons would be suffering under state supervision and instruction). They joined the Assembly, a popular organism to be discussed later, performing any duty of the state, a responsibility assigned to him: like army commanders, harmost (military governors) among the perioeci, envoys from Sparta abroad, etc. They passed, then, to be citizens with all the rights and all the duties.

At sixty years old, if he came to that age and if he had the honor of being selected, the Spartan became part of the Senate. Being senator was for life. Spartan old age enjoyed immeasurable respect from the countrymen, who unconditionally revered their elders as repositories of wisdom and experience, and as a link connecting the past with the present, just as the youth is the bond that unites the present with the future. The Spartans revered the elders even if they were not Spartans. As an example of the latter we have a story that happened in the theater of Athens while some Spartan ambassadors were inside. An old man entered the theater and no Athenian rose to cede the seat, acting as if they didn’t know. However, upon arrival at their place of honor all the Spartan ambassadors rose in unison to cede the place. And then the Athenian audience applauded the noble gesture. “All Greeks know good manners,” said one of the ambassadors, “but only the Spartans behave in accordance with them” (Life of Lycurgus, IX).

Sparta – III

Translated from EVROPA SOBERANA


sparta


First development of Sparta: the Messenian wars

During the eighth century BCE, Sparta, like other peoples of Hellas, was a small city-state ruled by a monarchy and aristocratic oligarchy of Doric descent. Driven by population growth and a need for resources and power, the Spartans looked to the West and decided that beyond the mountains Taygetus, in Messenia would create a nation of slaves to serve them.

The geopolitics of Laconia did not leave them much choice: they were on a rough terrain and isolated by mountains and a non-navigable river. Laconia was something like the heartland, or cardial region of the Peloponnesus: an area inaccessible to any power that used the sea as a vector to project their power. So it was well protected from abroad, but in return the Laconians could not afford to sea as the coast was steep and there was only one suitable site to establish a port at Gythium, 43 km from the capital (unlike Piraeus, which was very close to Athens). Therefore, they could not follow the example of the Athenians, who jumped from island to island, colonizing the coasts and drawing large amounts of wheat from the north shore of the Black Sea.

On the other hand, the neighboring kingdom of Messenia had the most fertile plains of Hellas (“good for planting, good for plowing” said Tyrtaeus; “a happy grassland” the Spartans called it). By annexing it they would achieve autarkic supply of food and no longer need to rely on remote territories, trade, merchants, strategic islands, and maritime straits easy to control for the enemy or a naval fleet.

Moreover, they would not cosmopolitanize, as usual with all trading nations. Sparta, then, was shaping up as a telurocracy—a geopolitical power of clearly continental type—opposed to the maritime Athenian thalassocracy.

Around 743 BCE, at a time when the Messenians were feasting and offering sacrifices to their gods, Sparta sent three lads dressed as maids. These little soldiers, well trained, carried short swords under their robes, and had no trouble infiltrating the carefree party atmosphere in Messenian territory. From inside they stalked the unarmed Messenia crowd, and at a given signal they began a bloody carnage in the thick of the crowd, before the Messenia mass subdued the boys. After the incident, the Messenians grouped and, enraged, armed themselves and marched into Laconia. In the fight that broke out, one of the kings of Sparta fell, and the First Messenia War began (described by Tyrtaeus and Pausanias, who in turn relied on Myron of Priene).

After four years of war and a great battle, neither side emerged victorious. That was a deaf resistance, guerrilla style, and probably conventional armies had been relatively disrupted after the first battle. Although not adopting yet the tactics of the phalanx or Hoplite equipment, the most decisive actions were hand strikes, raids and sieges. However, the Messenians had suffered so many losses that a Messenian warlord, Aristodemus and his men, retreated to a fortress on Mount Ithome, and visited the oracle for advice in their fight against Sparta. The oracle answered that to resist the Spartans, a maiden of an ancient and respectable Messenian family should be sacrificed to the gods. Aristodemus, who was to be a great patriot, did not hesitate to sacrifice his own daughter. When the Spartans heard this, they rushed to make peace with the Messenians as, superstitious or not, they attached great importance to such ritual matters.

After some years, however, the Spartans decided to attack the Messenians again. There was another great battle, but the victory yet again did not go for any of the two sides. And since the Messenian king had fallen, the leader Aristodemus went to reign over the Messenians. In the fifth year of his reign he was able to expel from his territory the Spartan forces. However, Aristodemus seemed to be under a dark curse. In a Messenian temple a shield fell from the hand of the statue of the goddess Artemis. The sacrificed daughter of Aristodemus appeared as ethereal figure and asked him to take off his armor.

Artemis did it, and she crowned him with a golden crown and dressed in a white robe. According to the mentality of the time, all these omens meant that the death of Aristodemus was coming. Ancient peoples took these things very seriously, it was not superstition but to unravel the archetypal signs repeated on Earth echoing what was happening in the sky. Accordingly, black premonitions gravitated around Aristodemus. A dense depression took over his mind. He began to think that he and his nation were condemned to slavery. Believing he had sacrificed his daughter in vain, he committed suicide over his grave. The Greeks said that “one whom the gods wish to destroy they first make him crazy.”

The war lasted a total of nineteen years, and it was only after this time that the Spartans could exterminate Messenian resistance and raze the fortress of Ithome. Some Messenians fled the Peloponnesian, and those who remained were treated more harshly than the very Helots of Laconia. They were relegated to be peasant vassals of Sparta at the Messenia fertile plain, and also forced them to pay half of the production of their land to their Spartan masters.

But the Messenians, much more numerous than the Spartans, were not satisfied with this situation of second-class and submitted people. Two generations after the First Messenian War, there was a bold leader named Aristomenes that, supported by the states of Argos and Arcadia, preached rebellion against Sparta. Following this, in the seventh century BCE the Second Messenian War began. With a band of loyal followers, Aristomenes starred in numerous raids on Spartan territory, even sweeping two populations.

Three times he celebrated a Hecatomb sacrifice, a ritual only allowed to perform to those who had killed more than a hundred enemies. The Messenians, for the first time, used the Hoplite phalanx tactics characterized by close order formations, barricading behind a shield wall from which the spears stabbed with impunity. The Spartans had not yet adopted this form of combat from the Middle East, and suffered catastrophic casualties in the Battle of Hysiae.

Sparta then consulted the oracle of Delphi. There they were told to go to Athens to procure a leader. This was not supposed to please the Spartans, as their relations with Athens were not good, and neither pleased the Athenians for the same reason, but both States respected the decisions of Delphi and did not object. The Athenians, however, acted in bad faith: they sent a lame teacher called Tyrtaeus (known to posterity as Tyrtaeus of Sparta), thinking that he would not have value as military captain.

However, Tyrtaeus was a great poet. His chants of war inflamed the martial ardor of the Spartans and raised their morale. In the next battle against the Messenians, the Spartans marched already inflamed and in phalanx combat, singing his songs. With such impulse they defeated Aristomenes in the Battle of the Great Pit, forcing the Messenians to retreat to another mountain fortress called Ira, at whose feet the Spartan camp was established. This state of siege, in which guerrillas returned stronger than during the first war, lasted eleven years. Aristomenes often managed to break the Spartan siege in Ira and head toward Laconia, subjected to pillage. Twice he was captured by the Spartans and twice escaped.

The third time was captured along with fifty of his men, and they were paraded victoriously through Sparta as if they were a Roman triumph. Then they were taken to the foot of Mount Taygetos and thrown off a cliff, the famous Kaiada. According to Greek history, only Aristomenes miraculously survived the fall and was able to leave the abyss following a fox. Soon, he was in the fortress of Ira in front of his men.

But the Spartans ended infiltrating a spy into the fortress, and one night, after Aristomenes returned from one of his raids, the fort was betrayed. In the fierce battle that followed it is said Aristomenes was wounded and, clasping his bravest men, broke the Spartan lines and fled to Rome, where he died soon after. It is more than likely that this myth was built to revitalize Messenian pride: even 250 years later it was said that Aristomenes was seen in a battlefield fighting against the Spartans.

The Spartans conquered by spear and sword enough land to support all their people and maintain the other peoples subjected. They subjugated the Messenians, beat hostile crowds far more numerous than themselves and indisputably subjected them to their rule. Messenian coastal populations became a sort of middle-class commercial and navy populations, and the rest of the country, mere Helots (peasant rabble). Encompassing the entire southern half of the Peloponnesus, including the original territory of Laconia and the conquered land of Messenia, Sparta became the largest state in all Hellas by far (three times larger than the Attic state of Athens, which is not an ordinary case).

AgriculturalValleySpartaTransUnlike other Hellenic states, Sparta had chosen to be a continental land power of compact territory instead of engaging in seafaring and colonizing areas outside Greece, as other Hellenic states in Asia Minor, Italy, the Black Sea or Africa. At least in part this was due to its immense agricultural potential: Messenia was the most fertile of the Greek world by far, while Athens suffered chronic lack of grain and continuously had to go to the Black Sea coast to look for it. Sparta had no such problems.

Think for a moment about how these battles, terribly fierce and long, that were about to bury the Sparta itself, could have influenced the Spartan character. The Messenian Wars marked forever their mentality. Ultimately, the teachers of the Spartans were their own enemies and the wars forced upon them. They were the ones who instituted at Sparta military paranoia and preparation for combat that characterized it; who forced Spartan aristocracy enter into crisis and, by necessity, find the best way to prevail over their enemies. Sparta would never have been what it became if in combat it had hit a cowardly people. Holding a long struggle against high-quality elements, bold and fearsome enemies to boast, aroused the Spartan force. Perhaps that is the only “advantage” of the unfortunate fratricidal wars, so typical of Europe.

Lethal mixing of bloods

Most of present-day Greeks are mongrels, not peoples of pure “Indo-European” (whites for short) origin. According to William Pierce, the only way that the ancient Greeks could have survived as pure whites would have been to eliminate the entire indigenous population, either through expulsion or extermination:


MycenaaeansGreece was invaded by Greek-speaking Northerners several times during prehistory. Those who arrived in the period 2,100-1,900 B.C. founded the great Mycenaean civilization, which flourished from the end of the l6th century until about 1,200 B.C.

Homer, whose Iliad and Odyssey describe Mycenaean Greece, refers to the Greeks, or Hellenes, inclusively as “Achaeans.” In fact, however, the Achaeans were only one of the Hellenic tribes which were in Greece in Mycenaean times.

In addition to the Achaeans, who occupied most of the Peloponnesus (the southern peninsula of Greece, in which Mycenae was located), there were the Aeolians and the Ionians, who occupied other portions of the mainland, many of the Aegean islands, and the west coast of Asia Minor. The Ionians, in particular, settled in Attica and were the founders of Athens.

These tribal divisions apparently predate the arrival of the first Hellenes in Greece, and it seems likely that the Achaeans, Aeolians, and Ionians invaded the Aegean region separately, over a period of several centuries.

And there were also the non-Greek Pelasgians, the Mediterranean aborigines, who occupied the lowest stratum of Greek society and substantially outnumbered the Hellenes in Mycenaean times. As pointed out in the last installment, the Mycenaean Greeks were influenced culturally by these Mediterraneans—and, as time passed, racially as well.

In the late 14th and early 13th centuries B.C. more Greek-speaking Indo-Europeans arrived, coming westward across the Aegean in ships. They were Homer’s “divine born” heroes, the fathers and grandfathers of the warriors who sacked Troy about 1,250 B.C.: golden-haired Achilles, the sons of Atreus, and the other princes and kings of the Iliad. They settled in Greece, founded dynasties, and lived in a manner remarkably like that of northern Europe’s feudal lords more than twenty centuries later.

A couple of generations after the fall of Troy—exactly eighty years afterward, according to Greek tradition—a new group of divine-born warriors swept down on Greece, this time from the north. They were the Heraclidae, the supposed descendants of the blond demigod Hercules, and with them came the Dorians, the last of the major Hellenic tribes to reach the Aegean region.

The Dorians, who had settled in central Greece a few years earlier, proceeded to conquer the Achaeans, occupy the Peloponnesus, and extinguish Mycenaean civilization. But, in so doing, they prepared the way for the rise of a new civilization which would greatly surpass the old one. Displaced Achaeans, Aeolians, and Ionians migrated to new areas, sometimes displacing those people already there and sometimes amalgamating with them.

The Dorians were blonder than the Achaeans they conquered, but that is only because the Achaeans had been mixing with the Mediterranean aborigines for several centuries before the Dorians arrived; originally the two tribes had been of the same racial composition.

But the Achaeans were certainly more civilized than the rude, new arrivals from the north, and it was 400 years before Greece recovered from the cultural shock of the Dorian invasion.


Historians’ bias

The four centuries between the Dorian invasion and the flowering of the literate Classical civilization are referred to by most historians as “the Dark Age,” for much the same reasons that the period between the fall of Rome, more than fifteen centuries later, and the flowering of Mediaeval civilization is also called “the Dark Ages.”

In both cases a people of an older civilization, who had begun to succumb to racial mixing and decadence, was overwhelmed by a more vigorous and racially healthier but culturally less advanced people from the north. And in both cases a period of gestation took place over a dozen generations or so, during which a synthesis of old and new elements, racial and cultural, occurred, before a new and different civilization arose from the ruins of the old.

Unfortunately, most historians tacitly assume that the records of political and cultural activity which have come down to us from periods of civilized literacy provide all the data needed to yield an understanding of the historical process. The state of development and degree of organization and complexity of city life are taken as a yardstick by which to evaluate the significance or historical importance of a particular period. And if one’s standards of value are geared to such things as the volume of commerce, the gross national product, or even the intensity of scientific, literary, and artistic activity, such a yardstick may seem, at first glance, to be proper.

But there are other standards of value, such as those of the National Alliance, which differ somewhat from the customary ones. For it is not in the external forms of organization and activity of a people that we see the most important criteria for making a judgment as to the significance of a particular period, but rather in the actual racial constitution of a people and in the dynamic processes which, for better or worse, are influencing that racial constitution.

Although the basic racial constitution of a people is always intimately related to that people’s achievements in commerce, science, industry, art, politics, and warfare, still the two sets of criteria can lead to fundamentally different evaluations of a given historical period. This is a consequence of the fact that race building and decay are usually strongly out of phase with civilization building and decay.

Thus, the long ages between the periods of maximum civil activity—ages which the historian customarily ignores as being of only slight importance—may very well be periods of the greatest interest from a standpoint of racial dynamics.

It is, of course, true that the periods of maximum civil activity are precisely those which yield a maximum of written records, artifacts, and the other raw materials from which the historian builds his tale. But relative abundance of evidence should not be interpreted as equivalent to relative historical significance, regardless of the historian’s value criteria.

The record of the rise and fall of pure races constitutes the primary history of mankind, and the rise and fall of civilizations occupy a place of secondary importance. This statement may seem self-evident to those already accustomed to looking at history from a racial viewpoint, but it is by no means generally accepted by historians today. Until it is, much historical writing will continue to be flawed in a fundamental way.


spartan-king-leonidas-greece

Sparta

The Dorians of Laconia organized the Peloponnesian population in a three-layered hierarchy. At the top were the citizens of Sparta, the Spartiates, all of pure Dorian blood, ruled by their kings.

At the bottom of the social structure were the Helots, or serfs, consisting of the aboriginal Mediterranean elements as well as many of the conquered Achaeans of mixed blood. No Spartiate could engage in trade or practice a craft. The Perioeci handled all their commerce, and the Helots provided all their other needs.

Sparta thus had the only full-time, professional army in the Aegean world, and this fact gave her an influence vastly disproportionate to her numbers. So thoroughly did Sparta dominate all her neighbors, and so thoroughly feared and respected by all other Greeks for their military prowess were the Spartiates, that for more than 800 years the city had no need of walls or an acropolis, in marked contrast to every other Greek city of those times.

For another thing, the Spartiates gave an emphasis to racial fitness which went far beyond the needs of a strong and efficient army. Their eugenics program placed a premium on physical beauty—on aesthetic qualities, not just on raw strength or robustness. Spartan women, for example, were a far cry from the muscle-bound behemoths one sees on Soviet women’s Olympic teams these days; instead, they were judged by other Greeks to be among the most beautiful and graceful, as well as the fairest, of Hellenic women, rivaled in beauty only by the women of Thebes.

Another Spartan practice which suggests that racial rather than imperialistic motives may have been uppermost in the minds of their leaders was the regular thinning out of the Helot population, in what was known as the crypteia. This admirable institution sent teams of young Spartiates out into the countryside with daggers to dispatch Helots by the hundreds—an undertaking hardly consonant with a desire for as many subjects as possible, which is the norm for imperialists.

It is easy to imagine the Spartiates, upon their arrival in Laconia, surveying the moral decadence and the racemixing which had made the Achaeans such an easy conquest for the Dorians, and then instituting a carefully designed program to safeguard themselves from a similar fate. For a time this program succeeded; the moral character and the racial quality of the Spartiates remained famously high. But ultimately it failed in both regards.

As with other ruling classes at other times, the Spartiates did not produce enough children to make up for their losses in war. Even heavy penalties for celibacy and late marriage, and exemption from taxes for those Spartan families with four or more children, did not solve the problem.

At the beginning of the fifth century B.C. the Spartiates were able to field an army of 8,000 men against the Persians, but after the costly Spartan victory over Athens and her allies in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) Spartan numbers declined rapidly. When the Spartiates marched against Thebes in 371 B.C., there were too few of them to prevail. After their decisive defeat by the Thebans at Leuctra, the Spartan army numbered only 2,000 warriors. A century and a half later there were only 700 of them, and they passed from the pages of history.

The Spartiates never succumbed to racemixing, but they did succumb to their own lifestyle. They would have been well advised to eliminate the Helots of the Peloponnesus and the Mediterranean population of Crete altogether and to establish a purely Dorian peasant class in those areas. Then they may well have been able to practice a successful eugenics program, maintain their moral health, and have a stable population too. But, of course, they did not have the advantage which hindsight gives us.

The other Hellenic tribes did succumb to racemixing. Their populations did not suffer the decline in numbers which the Spartiates did, but they suffered a decline in racial quality which resulted in their extermination, perhaps more slowly but just as surely—and less cleanly.


Akropolis_by_Leo_von_Klenze

Athens

Athens was Sparta’s great political rival during much of the Classical Age. Athenian society came to be organized along quite different lines from Spartan society, but at the dawn of Greek history the similarities outweighed the differences.

The earliest Athenians were, like the other Hellenes, predominantly Nordic in blood and culture. Their social structure was aristocratic, and they were ruled originally by hereditary kings, just as in the case of the Spartiates.

In the seventh century there were two principal differences, from a racial viewpoint, between Sparta and Athens. The first difference, in favor of Sparta, was a culturally and racially more homogeneous class of citizens in Sparta than in Athens. The second was that Athens had a free citizen-peasantry—a decided plus for her.

By the beginning of the sixth century, however, the Athenian peasants were in danger of losing their freedom, many of them having already been sold into slavery and others being effectively chained by indebtedness.

The social unrest resulting from this situation led the Athenians to give absolute power to Solon, a nobleman, in the hope that he could improve things. Solon gave Athens a constitution which wrought a number of changes with long-lasting effects, some good and some bad. On the positive side, he outlawed the practice of enslavement for indebtedness. But he also took the decisive step of transferring the power of the Athenian state from the hands of the aristocracy into the hands of a plutocracy.

Although this latter change was only de jure at first, since the aristocrats were also the plutocrats, it shifted the ultimate criterion of fitness to rule from blood to gold. Henceforth, any sufficiently wealthy speculator who had acquired enough land to yield the specified amount of agricultural produce could theoretically qualify for the highest office in the state and for membership in the Council of the Areopagus: the highest judicial body in Athens, made up of nobles who had formerly held the office of archon, or ruler.

Race-Based Citizenry. Even after Solon, however, democracy did not devour the Athenians all at once. Solon and the tyrants who gained power shortly after his administration, the Peisistratids, governed an Athens in which citizenship was still a racial matter, being based on membership in one of the kinship groups, or clans, which made up the Hellenic tribes of Attica.

In 509 B.C., 85 years after the beginning of Solon’s administration, another “reformer,” Cleisthenes, took office, and he undertook a program of gerrymandering which laid the basis for changing citizenship from a racial to a geographic affair. From this point it was downhill all the way for Athens, racially speaking.

Half a century later the last remnants of power were transferred from the Areopagus to a popular council. All the abuses of mass party politics with which Americans are all too familiar were thenceforth the lot of the Athenians.

As the prosperity of Athens grew, more and more foreigners crowded into Attica, with intermarriage inevitably occurring. A temporary halt to the pollution of the Athenian citizenry by the offspring of aliens came in 451 B.C., when the great Pericles pushed through a law restricting citizenship to those born of an Athenian father and an Athenian mother. Only four decades later, however, in order to make up the enormous losses suffered in the Peloponnesian War, Athens bestowed citizenship on tens of thousands of foreigners.

And in the fourth century, although the citizenship law of Pericles remained on the books, every variety of Levantine mongrel was claiming Athenian citizenship. The banking industry of Athens, for example, was entirely in the hands of Semites, who had taken Greek names and were awarded citizenship for “service to the state,” much in the way Jews and Negroes have been elevated to the British “nobility” by the score in recent decades.

Darkening of Hellas. Intermarriage was rife, and the darkening of the Hellenes of Athens was well under way. Racial, moral, and cultural decline went hand in hand. The second-century historian Polybius described his countrymen as “degenerate, pleasure-seeking beggars, without loyalty or belief, and without hope for a better future.”

A century later, in the reign of Augustus, the Roman writer Manilius reckoned the Hellenes among the dark nations (coloratae genies). And so the Athenians, like the Spartiates, passed from the pages of history.


Extermination or expulsion

If it is difficult to believe that as great a state as Athens could pass from Nordic genius and glory to mongrelized squalor in a few centuries, just think for a moment of the racial transformation of America which has taken place in a single century. And imagine what America will be like two or three centuries hence (barring a White revolution), when Whites are a minority, outnumbered by both Blacks and Chicanos. America’s technology and industry may coast along for a century or two on the momentum acquired from earlier generations, as Athens’ culture did, but the American people—the real Americans—will have passed from the pages of history.

The passing of the Hellenes must be regarded as one of the greatest tragedies of our race. A great-hearted and noble people, filled with genius and energy, they seized upon the resources in labor, material, and land which their conquest of the conservative Mediterranean world offered, and they wrought one of the most progressive civilizations this earth has yet seen. Indeed, many of their creations remain unsurpassed to this day.

This catastrophic mixing of bloods has occurred over and over again in the history and prehistory of our race, and each time it has been lethal. The knowledge of this has been with us a long time, but it has always failed us in the end. The Hellenes of Sparta and Athens both strove to keep their blood pure, but both ultimately perished. The only way they could have survived would have been to eliminate the entire indigenous population, either through expulsion or extermination, from the areas of the Mediterranean world in which they settled.

The Hellenes always possessed a certain feeling of racial unity, distinguishing themselves sharply from all those not of their blood, but this racial feeling was, unfortunately, usually overshadowed by intraracial conflicts. The rivalries between Hellenic city-states were so fierce and so pervasive, that the Mediterranean natives were more often looked upon as a resource to be used against other Hellenes than as a biological menace to be eliminated.

White suicide since Ancient Greece

Excerpted from the tenth article of William Pierce’s “Who We Are: a Series of Articles on the History of the White Race”:


At the beginning of the fifth century B.C. the Spartiates were able to field an army of 8,000 men against the Persians, but after the costly Spartan victory over Athens and her allies in the Peloponnesian War (431 -404 B.C.) Spartan numbers declined rapidly. When the Spartiates marched against Thebes in 371 B.C., there were too few of them to prevail. After their decisive defeat by the Thebans at Leuctra, the Spartan army numbered only 2,000 warriors. A century and a half later there were only 700 of them, and they passed from the pages of history.

The Spartiates never succumbed to racemixing, but they did succumb to their own lifestyle. They would have been well advised to eliminate the Helots of the Peloponnesus and the Mediterranean population of Crete altogether and to establish a purely Dorian peasant class in those areas. Then they may well have been able to practice a successful eugenics program, maintain their moral health, and have a stable population too. But, of course, they did not have the advantage which hindsight gives us.

The other Hellenic tribes did succumb to racemixing. Their populations did not suffer the decline in numbers which the Spartiates did, but they suffered a decline in racial quality which resulted in their extermination, perhaps more slowly but just as surely—and less cleanly.

Predominantly Nordic

Still, the earliest Athenians were, like the other Hellenes, predominantly Nordic in blood and culture. Their social structure was aristocratic, and they were ruled originally by hereditary kings, just as in the case of the Spartiates.

Although Athenian tradition credits the legendary King Theseus with the political unification of the various semi-independent townships of Attica into a single “greater Athens” during the Heroic Age, it is certain that this unification actually did not take place until long after the Dorian invasion. In any event, the monarchy did not last long in unified Attica, and at the dawn of history the Athenians were ruled by a coalition of noble families, the Eupatrids (“those who are well sired”).

Race-Based Citizenry

Even after Solon, however, democracy did not devour the Athenians all at once. Solon and the tyrants who gained power shortly after his administration, the Peisistratids, governed an Athens in which citizenship was still a racial matter, being based on membership in one of the kinship groups, or clans, which made up the Hellenic tribes of Attica.

In 509 B.C., 85 years after the beginning of Solon’s administration, another “reformer,” Cleisthenes, took office, and he undertook a program of gerrymandering which laid the basis for changing citizenship from a racial to a geographic affair. From this point it was downhill all the way for Athens, racially speaking.

Half a century later the last remnants of power were transferred from the Areopagus to a popular council. All the abuses of mass party politics with which Americans are all too familiar were thenceforth the lot of the Athenians.

Law of Pericles

As the prosperity of Athens grew, more and more foreigners crowded into Attica, with intermarriage inevitably occurring. A temporary halt to the pollution of the Athenian citizenry by the offspring of aliens came in 451 B.C., when the great Pericles pushed through a law restricting citizenship to those born of an Athenian father and an Athenian mother. Only four decades later, however, in order to make up the enormous losses suffered in the Peloponnesian War, Athens bestowed citizenship on tens of thousands of foreigners.

And in the fourth century, although the citizenship law of Pericles remained on the books, every variety of Levantine mongrel was claiming Athenian citizenship. The banking industry of Athens, for example, was entirely in the hands of Semites, who had taken Greek names and were awarded citizenship for “service to the state,” much in the way Jews and Negroes have been elevated to the British “nobility” by the score in recent decades.

Darkening of Hellas

Intermarriage was rife, and the darkening of the Hellenes of Athens was well under way. Racial, moral, and cultural decline went hand in hand. The second-century historian Polybius described his countrymen as “degenerate, pleasure-seeking beggars, without loyalty or belief, and without hope for a better future.”

A century later, in the reign of Augustus, the Roman writer Manilius reckoned the Hellenes among the dark nations (coloratae genies). And so the Athenians, like the Spartiates, passed from the pages of history.

If it is difficult to believe that as great a state as Athens could pass from Nordic genius and glory to mongrelized squalor in a few centuries, just think for a moment of the racial transformation of America which has taken place in a single century. And imagine what America will be like two or three centuries hence (barring a White revolution), when Whites are a minority, outnumbered by both Blacks and Chicanos. America’s technology and industry may coast along for a century or two on the momentum acquired from earlier generations, as Athens’ culture did, but the American people—the real Americans—will have passed from the pages of history.

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