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courtesy of the spartan boy.
Age Rating 8 plus.
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There were, hundreds of years ago, two very large and grand cities,
which strove to excel each other. The one city was Sparta, the other was
Athens. These cities were not like our cities of today. They had
beautiful, broad streets, but no street cars. They had magnificent
buildings, but no electric lights. They did have schools, but they were
unlike our schools. The boys in both Athens and Sparta were taken away
to school when they were six years of age.
In Athens the boys were taught that they must become very strong and
manly. They had running, jumping, leaping, swimming, and racing
exercises, to give them rigid muscles and strong, healthy bodies.
Occasionally they were allowed to visit at their homes for a day or two.
The boys were also taught to sing and to read.
The Spartan boy was taught that he must become very strong and
self-reliant. His schoolroom was very plain and bare. He was never
allowed to go home to visit. He had to wear, in both summer and winter,
the same plain, loose clothing. He slept out of doors in the
summer-time, under the trees. In the wintertime he slept in a very open
building, on a bed of reeds and rushes, which he had to gather from the
river in the long, heated summer days for his winter bed. He had no
bedclothing except the down which the wild ducks had shed, and which he
had gathered in the forests. He learned to read, write, and to sing. He
learned to run, to leap, to swim, and to throw the javelin.
One time the boys from both Athens and Sparta were to meet in a great
amphitheater to hear a very wise and learned old man speak. The boys had
all gathered, and with them many other people. The amphitheater was
full. Not a vacant seat was left, and the people were patiently waiting
for the old man to appear. At last he came. He came in so quietly that
he was not noticed, except by two boys, one on each side of the aisle.
One was a Spartan boy and one was an Athenian. The Athenian boy and
Spartan boy both rose immediately. The Athenian boy sat down, but the
Spartan boy still stood. He insisted that the old man take his seat, but
the old man gently refused, and passed on up the aisle to the place from
which he was to address the people. Then the Spartan boy sat down. The
old man recognized this act of courtesy, and, while talking to the boys,
said that the Athenian boy knew what to do, but did not do it. The
Spartan boy had the courage to do it.