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22 Greatest Spartan Quotes

Updated: Jan 22

The Best Spartan Quotes of All Time

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Best Spartan Quotes: The Legacy of Sparta in Words


The ancient city-state of Sparta, buried in the heart of the Peloponnese, has long been a symbol of discipline, resilience and warfare.


While its military prowess is legendary, the words and wisdom that emerged from this unique civilization offer profound insights into the Spartan psyche.


Dive into these 22 Spartan quotes, and let the echoes of ancient Sparta resonate with the challenges and aspirations of today.







1. “Come and take them.”



This was King Leonidas's defiant response to the Persian demand to surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. It epitomizes the Spartan spirit of resistance and determination against overwhelming odds.


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2. "He who sweats more in training bleeds less in war."



This quote emphasizes the Spartan philosophy that rigorous training and preparation can reduce casualties in actual battle. It underscores the importance of discipline and readiness.


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3. "Spartans, eat well, for tonight we dine in Hades."



King Leonidas's rallying cry to his soldiers, reminding them of their fearless approach to the possibility of death in battle and the honour in such a sacrifice.


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4. “I prefer to die on my feet, than live on my knees.”



This statement embodies the Spartan spirit of preferring an honourable death over a life of submission or servitude. It's a testament to their pride and valour.


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5. "Come back with your shield - or on it.”



Often spoken by Spartan mothers to their sons before they went to war, this quote emphasizes the importance of either returning victoriously or dying honourably in battle, but never retreating.


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6. “Give them nothing, but take from them everything.”



A call to Spartans to be relentless and uncompromising in battle, giving no quarter to the enemy and taking every advantage.


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7. “This is Sparta.”



A proud declaration of Spartan identity, culture, and defiance. It's a statement that embodies the unique and indomitable spirit of Sparta. And probably the most epic 3 lines of movie history.


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8. "Good, then we shall have our battle in the shade."



Dienekes's witty response upon hearing that the sheer number of Persian arrows would blot out the sun during the Battle of Thermopylae. It showcases Spartan bravery and humour in the face of overwhelming odds.


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9. "SPARTANS NEVER RETREAT! SPARTANS NEVER SURRENDER!"



This encapsulates the legendary bravery and resolve of Spartan warriors. It reflects their renowned military discipline and ethos, emphasizing that Spartans would fight to the last man rather than retreat or surrender in battle.



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10. "Because the latter they put on for their own protection, but the shield for the common good of the whole line."



This quote explains the communal importance of the shield in the phalanx formation, emphasizing the idea that Spartans fought not just for individual glory but for the collective good.



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11. "Being asked where in Greece he saw good men, he replied, 'Good men nowhere, but good boys at Sparta."



This quote highlights the rigorous training and discipline young Spartans underwent, suggesting that their upbringing made them superior to other Greeks.



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12. “Feel no fear before the multitude of men, do not run in panic, but let each man bear his shield straight toward the fore-fighters, regarding his own life as hateful and holding the dark spirits of death as dear as the radiance of the sun.”



A poetic exhortation from the Spartan poet Tyrtaeus, urging bravery, selflessness, and unity in the heat of battle. Because Spartans viewed death in battle as the most honourable death a man could have.



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13. "The daughters of Sparta are never at home! They mingle with the young men in wrestling matches."



This quote from Euripides highlights the unique role and freedoms of Spartan women, who were trained in physical fitness and enjoyed more rights compared to women in other Greek city-states. And because they were badass.



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14. "In answer to the man who sought to know why the Spartans use short daggers in war, Antalcidas said, 'Because we fight close to the enemy.'"



This quote from Antalcidas emphasizes the close-combat nature of Spartan warfare, where short weapons were preferred for their efficiency in hand-to-hand combat. So don't get too close...



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15. "The Spartans are the equal of any men when they fight as individuals; fighting together as a collective, they surpass all other men."



Damaratus's statement on the power of the Spartan phalanx and their collective might, emphasizing the strength of unity. Hence why the Spartans were such a force to be feared.



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16. “Go now, run along and tell your Xerxes that he faces free men here, not slaves”



A defiant declaration to the Persian king, emphasizing the free spirit of the Spartans and their refusal to be subjugated. And history showed that is exactly what they did.



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17. “We are the only women who raise men.”



A proud statement on the strength and character of Spartan women, suggesting that their upbringing of Spartan boys produced the finest warriors.



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18. "The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, even a god-king can bleed."



The quote reflects the valour of the Spartans in "300", emphasizing their brave stand against immense odds and a tyrannical ruler. It signifies that even the most powerful adversaries are not invincible, symbolizing hope and resilience in the face of overwhelming challenges.



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18. "The walls of Sparta were its young men, and its borders the points of their spears.”



King Agesilaus's metaphorical statement on the defence of Sparta being its warriors, not physical walls, emphasizing the human strength of the city-state.



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19. “Hundreds leave, a handful stay. Only one looks back.”



Taught never to retreat, never to surrender. Taught that death on the battlefield in service to Sparta was the greatest glory he could achieve in his life.



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20. “Remember us, Should any free soul come across this place, In all the countless centuries yet to be, May our voices whisper to you from the ageless stones, Go tell the Spartans, passer-by: That here by Spartan law, we lie.”



An epitaph for the fallen Spartans at Thermopylae, asking future generations to remember their sacrifice and honour their memory.



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21. “We are with you. For Sparta, for freedom, to the death!”



A declaration of loyalty and commitment to the Spartan cause, emphasizing their unwavering dedication to their state and values.



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22. “Taught never to retreat, never to surrender. Taught that death on the battlefield in service to Sparta was the greatest glory he could achieve in his life.”



A reflection on the values instilled in Spartans from a young age, emphasizing the honour of dying in battle for Sparta.



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The book offers readers a comprehensive look into every facet of Spartan life, from their legendary battles to their rigorous upbringing.


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Explore More Spartan Art by The Mind Maestro


If you enjoyed the Spartan Art you've seen here then I have good news for you...


You can explore my Spartan Art gallery by clicking the button below!






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My Spartan Acrylic Painting 'Molṑn labé'


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Sparta, a city-state of ancient Greece, has captured the imagination of countless generations with tales of its unwavering bravery, unmatched military discipline, and indomitable spirit.


One of the most iconic phrases attributed to this city-state is "Molon Labe," which translates to "Come and take them."


This phrase is not just a collection of words; it's a testament to the Spartan ethos.


I tried to capture this very essence into this painting. And you can learn more about my process behind this spartan painting here:




 


Frequently Asked Questions about the Spartans



What was the famous Spartan saying?

The Spartans are known for many sayings, but one of the most famous is "Come and take them," attributed to King Leonidas when the Persians demanded the Spartans surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae.


What is the Spartan Creed?

The Spartan Creed, or the Spartan Code, emphasized honor, discipline, and the importance of the collective over the individual. It can be encapsulated in sayings like "Come back with your shield - or on it."


What did the Spartans say to Alexander the Great?

While there are many interactions between the Spartans and Alexander's Macedonian state, one notable response from Sparta to Alexander's demands for submission was, "If Alexander wishes to be a god, let him be a god."


What is the real Spartan symbol?

The Lambda (Λ) symbol, representing the initial of "Lacedaemon," the name of the region of Sparta, was often used as a Spartan shield emblem.


Was there a Spartan code?

Yes, the Spartans lived by a strict code of conduct, emphasizing honor, discipline, and the welfare of the state over the individual. This code was deeply intertwined with their military training and societal structure.


Does the Spartan bloodline still exist?

While there are people in modern Greece who claim descent from ancient Spartans, the pure Spartan bloodline, as it was known in antiquity, has been diluted over millennia.


Who is the last Spartan alive?

The term "last Spartan" can be metaphorical, referring to the end of the Spartan way of life. Historically, the pure Spartan lineage dwindled over time, and no single individual is known as the "last Spartan."


What is Sparta called today?

Today, Sparta is known as Sparti or Spartē in modern Greece and is a town and municipality in Laconia, a region in the southeastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.


Who was the last Spartan king?

The last rulers of Sparta were the Eurypontid king Agesipolis III and the Agiad king Cleomenes III. Cleomenes III is often recognized as the last significant king of Sparta.


Who finally defeated Sparta?

Sparta's dominance began to wane after their defeat by Thebes at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. However, it was ultimately the rise of Macedon under Philip II and later the Roman conquest that ended Sparta's status as a major power.


Who is the strongest Spartan of all time?

Strength can be measured in various ways, from physical prowess to leadership. King Leonidas, who led the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, is often celebrated for his valor and strength.


Who was the greatest Spartan of all time?

This is subjective and can vary based on criteria. However, King Leonidas, for his leadership at Thermopylae, and Lycurgus, the legendary lawgiver of Sparta, are often considered among the greatest Spartans for their lasting impact on Spartan society and history.


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