|Weapons||Short Sword, Spear, Javelin, Shield|
|Origin||Sparta (ancient Greece)|
|Activities||Serving in the Spartan Army|
|Service||7th century BC - 146 BC|
|Battle Status||Won vs. the Ninja|
Won vs. the Samurai
|Experts||Jeremy Dunn (Weapons Specialist)|
Barry Jacobsen (Spartan Historian)
"Spartans weren't potters, they weren't artists - they did nothing but fight by the time a Spartan boy was seven years old, he was trained to do one thing, and that was kill his enemy."- Barry Jacobsen, Spartan expert
The Spartan, the battle-field butcher from ancient Greece;
the Ninja, legendary master of stealth from Japan.
In the Back for Blood, the Spartan went face to face against the Samurai, legendary lightning-fast dealer of death from Japan.
The first evidence of farming in Greece dates back to circa 7000 BC. The Dorians were one of the primary ethnic groups that founded early Greece. The Spartans cite themselves as being Dorian, and even claimed ownership of Sicily due to the island's Dorian ancestry.
Warriors from ancient Sparta. They were known as the greatest warriors ever of ancient Greece. Much of ancient Spartan history is written by non-spartan Greeks and other foreigners, as Spartans themselves outlawed books and record keeping.
Sparta become great by its unique system of laws, made by the famous law-giver Lycurgus. He divided lthe and between the Spartans, creating 10,000 lands lots, meaning at early times when they were all filled Sparta had 10,000 soldiers in its army. His laws made Sparta's glory-time from about 1000 B.C. till about 700 B.C. when his laws, which made Sparta great, were still perfectly followed.
Every aspect of Spartan society was geared towards producing the perfect soldier. Infants were inspected at birth and left in the wilderness to die if deformed, sickly or weak. The Spartans became the greatest warriors of ancient Greece by their merciless and brutal training, the Agoge, which is believed to be the hardest training ever to have been in use. Even Spartan women were expected to train their bodies, both to prepare them for the hardship of childbirth and to serve as Sparta's last line of defense against an invasion.
A boy was taken for the Agoge at the age of 7. At the age of 18, they were to be the teachers of those who entered the Agoge. They entered the Spartan army at the age of 20 and were forced to live in barracks. When he became 30, he was allowed to live at his home. At the age of 60 he retired, becoming a potential reserve force. But the life expectancy at that time was 60 anyway, so most of them died in the army.
It was hard to become a Spartan citizen. Your parents had to be Spartans, although there were some exceptions to this rule. You had to have successfully completed the Agoge. You were allowed into a Syssitia, which were the common messes of the Spartans which numbered 20 men. One veto from any of the 20 members could disallow you to enter one and you would not become an Spartan citizen. You also had to pay a certain amount of your land's products to the Syssitia for the dining, if you could not you would lose your citizenship. Firstborn would often get their parents' land so that later born could never become citizens.
The Spartans were organized into regiments, called Moras, of about 600 men each. Each Mora had its own unique shield emblem. Contrary to popular belief, the Spartans didn't wear the Lambda.
Spartan's ate a thin broth so they could train their bodies to survive on less, which also meant that little resources were needed for the army.
Sparta reached the apex of her power during the Greco-Persian War in which they defied the Persian empire at the battles of Thermopylae and Plataea and the Peleponessian War where they even came as far as challenging Athens which at that time is the most powerful city-state of Ancient Greece.
Sparta, as well as Athens, Thebes and other Greek citystates, would be unified under Alexander the Great and his Macedonian Empire, and then later by the Roman Empire. Yet even in these eras, the Spartans continued to show their elitism through their military traditions. After Macedonia fell, Sparta became part of the Corinth League (337 BC–322 BC) and the Achaean League (280 BC–146 BC) before being the Achaean League was destroyed by the Achaean War. Sparta became part of the Roman Empire as the Provincia Achaia (27 BC - 600 CE) and under the Byzantine Empire as Hellas (600 CE-1100 CE). Between 1661–1686 & 1715–1821; Sparta was part of the Ottoman Empire's Eyālet-i Mōrâ. Between 1686-1715 The Republic of Venice temporarily colonized the region before the Ottomans reclaimed it. The mid 1800s led to the wars of Greek Independence.
|Range||Weapon||Battle vs Ninja||Battle vs Samurai|
The battle starts with the Spartan standing in a forest with his Spartan Shield and Spear in hand. Above him, the Ninja watches him while hidden in the treetops. He quietly jumps down and sneaks up behind the Spartan. As he gets close, he draws his Ninjato. When he gets close enough, he yells and swings the sword. The Spartan quickly throws his shield arm back and block the sword with the Shield. He turns around and thrusts his Spear, but the Ninja rolls away and tries to hide within the thick grass.
The Spartan pulls out his Javelin and thrusts it into the ground. He hears the Ninja and turns to see him spinning the ball and chain from his Kusarigama. He throws the iron ball at the Spartan, who blocks it with his shield. The Ninja starts to swing his Kusurigama again, but the Spartan charges at him and kicks him. The Ninja swings the iron ball at the Spartan again, but like before, the Spartan blocks with the Shield. He swings it around the third time but instead swings at the Spartan's leg. The chain wraps around and trips the Spartan, sending him to the floor. The Spartan sits up and grabs the chain. The Ninja tries to pull the Kusarigama away from the Spartan, but the Spartan keeps a firm grip. In a desperate move, the Ninja breaks the chain with the sickle and rushes at the Spartan with it. The Spartan knocks him away with his Shield and then gets back up with his Spear and Shield. The Spartan tries to stab him with the Spear, but the Ninja kicks the Shield and runs away.
The Spartan chases and eventually catches up to him, trying to thrust his Spear again. The Ninja dodges and breaks the Spear in half with his Kusurigama. He tries to stab the Spartan with the broken spear, but the Spartan once again blocks with the Shield. This time, the Spartan swings the Shield and sends the Ninja flying back. The Spartan pulls out his Short Sword and advances towards the Ninja. The Ninja pulls out a Black Egg and waits for the Spartan to get close. He then jumps in front of the Spartan Shield and throws the egg at the Spartan's face. He kicks the Shield and jumps back. The Spartan blindly swings at the air while the Ninja tries to retreat. When the Spartan regains his senses, he sees the Ninja running away and runs after him.
The Spartan runs to a part of the forest where the trees' branches and roots become thick. He slowly climbs through the trees and makes his way to a darker part of the forest. With his Javelin at hand, he looks for the Ninja while keeping his Shield up. The Ninja pops out from the trees and tries to shoot him with the blowgun. The Spartan blocks the darts with his Shield and throws his Javelin. The javelin goes off target and misses the Ninja, giving him more time to run away. He runs back and pulls out Shuriken. He turns around to throw them, only to find that the Spartan has already caught up. He quickly throws one at the Spartan, but the Shield protects the Spartan as he knocks over the Ninja. The Spartan pulls out his Short Sword again and swings at the Ninja, but the Ninja runs out of the way. The Ninja jumps onto a tree and prepares to lunge at the Spartan with his Ninjato. However, he waits too long, so the Spartan holds out his Sword and impales the Ninja when he jumps. The Spartan smashes him away with his Shield and then stabs him one last time with the Short Sword. The Spartan yells "SPARTA"! in victory, then looks around for someone else to fight.
After the fight, the experts gave their opinions. All of them stated the same basic fact: The Ninja, though skilled in stealth and killing an enemy quickly, was meant to be used against an unaware opponent. The majority of the weapons in the Ninja's arsenal were meant to hinder or blind their opponent, giving them the chance to finish them, and that the blade was the only real killing weapon. Anything else would only hinder, but not kill, the Spartan. In a straight up fight against a Spartan, bred and raised for direct combat, who knew he was there, simply hindering him was not enough. The biggest advantage for the Spartan was his shield, which was used as an offensive weapon just as much as a defensive one.
Back For Blood Special
The battle begins with the Samurai walking through a forest with his Naginata and Yumi Bow in his hands. As he is walking, the Spartan emerges from behind a giant rock and eyes the Samurai. The Samurai, sensing danger, thrusts his Naginata into the ground and watches the Spartan. The Spartan grunts and holds out his Javelin, ready for battle. The Samurai takes an arrow and fires at the Spartan. The Spartan jumps down from the rock and towards the Samurai, knocking the arrow away with his Spartan Shield. He throws the Javelin at the Samurai, but aims too high and misses completely. The Samurai readies another arrow while the Spartan pulls out his Spear and charges at the Samurai. At the last second, the Samurai aims for the Spartan's legs and shoots, but it goes in between them and hits the floor.
The Spartan tries to hit the Samurai with his Spear, but the Samurai dodges and picks up his Naginata. The two begins swinging at each other until the Samurai hits his shield. The Spartan uses the Shield as a wall and shoves the Samurai all the way up to a tree. The Samurai tries to stab the Spartan with the Naginata, but the Spartan parries with his Spear and breaks the Naginata in two with his Shield. The Samurai, undeterred, grabs the Spartan's Spear and flips over the Spartan, causing him to release the Spear. The Samurai throws it away and pulls out his Kanabo club.
He starts to viciously swing at the Spartan, but the Spartan uses his shield to cover his body and block the blows. The Samurai stops briefly to regain his strength, but the Spartan draws his Short Sword and stabs the Samurai's ear. The Samurai shrieks in pain and backs away while the Spartan, now furious, gets back up and starts advancing towards the Samurai.
The two stop in the middle of a field while the Samurai grabs ahold of the handle of his Katana. The Spartant Sword at the Samurai, but the Samurai dodges and swings his Katana. The Spartan, however, blocks it with his Shield and shoves the Samurai away. The two stand off again, and the Spartan once again tries to stab the Samurai. The Samurai avoids it and again tries to hit the Spartan, but the Spartan blocks and hits the Samurai with his Shield. The Samurai gets up and readies himself and his Katana.
The Samurai makes a quick thrust at the Spartan in an attempt to finish him off. The Spartan, however, effortlessly blocks again with the Shield and thrusts his Short Sword. It cuts into the Samurai's stomach and leaves him frozen in place. The Spartan swings the Shield into the Samurai's face and knocks him to the ground. The Spartan walks up to him and thrusts the Short Sword into the Samurai's neck, killing him. He pulls out the sword and watches as blood spurts from the Samurai's neck. The spartan rises his sword and yells in victory.
Expert's Opinion 
While the Samurai possessed a far more diverse arsenal of weaponry, the deciding factor was, once more, the Spartan's shield. The shield was large enough to protect the Spartan from most threats, while still capable of being an offensive weapon. The Samurai's kanabo was the only thing strong enough to damage the shield, but even then could not destroy it. Besides that, the Spartan has experience defeating the Persian Immortal, an enemy just as disciplined and skillful as the Samurai.
- Although the Spartan's victory was attributed with the fact that the ninja fought only using stealth and the Spartan was more direct, in actuality, Spartans were also trained in stealth and sneaking. In his early childhood, the Spartiate (young Spartan) must steal his food, and being caught would get him severely punished. As the Spartiate graduates, he needs to do one final act; to stealthily strangle a helot (slave) without leaving any trace. So this experience may have shown the Spartan what to expect from an enemy like the ninja.
- Due to conflicting ancient sources and the habit of Greek historians exaggerating heroic feats, it is difficult to confirm exactly how outnumbered the Spartans were in the Battle of Thermopylae. Although 300 Spartan hoplites are generally referenced there were also at least 700 Thespians who died with them.
- Spartans attempted to revolt against Alexander the Great while he was conquering the Persian Empire. The revolt failed as the Macedonian Empire grew.
- As referenced in the film 300: most Greeks were not full-time soldiers; most were farmers. Spartans were one of the exceptions; focusing primarily on military.
- Most Greek Hoplites did not pursue a retreating or routed enemy force; maintaining their formation was more important than finishing their foe.
- Since the Aspis shield covered mostly the left side of the Spartan, a phalanx was most vulnerable at its right flank. Hoplites were aware of this and so the elite hoplites were on this right flank.
- During WWII; the Axis Powers conquered Greece yet faced fierce rebel resistance. Winston Churchill famously quoted 'Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks'.
- Since so many Ancient Greek men were in the military; it was common for slaves to be part of the riot-police.
- The South Korean Marines have a special task force they dub the 'Spartan 3000'; specifically designed to invade and sabotage North Korean military and nuclear bases.
- A Strategos is a Greek general. A strategy is technically an order given by the Strategos.
- Before Alexander the Great conquered Greece: Greek soldiers rarely used cavalry of any kind. The exception was the Psiloi; which was an unarmored spearman on horseback. Most of these soldiers were Greek slaves.
- Ancient Greece had at least 700 different city-states; the reason why the Spartan force at Thermopylae had very little support was because this fragmentation made Greece at that time too dis-unified to trust combining their forces into one army. Wars between these city-stateerewas common.
- The reason why Sparta was able to be a functional nation, despite all Spartan men were conscripted into the army, was because of the helot slaves. Sparta would maintain their working population by enslaving the people they conquered. 7 out of 8 Spartans was a helot (in Athens, this ratio was 1 out of 2). Spartans frequently threatened and purged helot neighborhoods to prevent slave revolts. Spartans despised Athenian democratic philosophies due to the possibility that such philosophies would ignite slave revolts.
- In comparison; the Persian Empire didn't own slaves except for their prisoners of war, and did tolerate other cultures they conquered.
- While Athens was a democracy and Sparta was a military monarchy; Athenian women could not vote, hold property or run households while Spartan women could.
- The strategic terrain of Thermopylaye led to similar battles to occur throughout Greek history.
- The first major battle of the Roman-Seleucid War was also fought at Thermopylae in 191 BC. The Romans knew about the past Spartan battle well, and were aware of the goat path the Persians used to outflank the Spartans. The Romans won an overwhelming victory by surprising the Greek Seleucids with this encirclement.
- The Battle of Alamana fought on 22 April 1821 was a major battle of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. The Greeks used Thermopylae as a defensive position. The Greek general Diakos stayed with only 48 men, who bravely held their ground but were killed. This was a Greek military defeat but a political victory; as the sacrifice made by Diakos was compared to Leonidas's death to the similar Persian Empire.
- WWII had its own Battle of Thermopylae on 24–25 April 1941. The Allies (under Australian and New Zealand forces) held their ground against a larger Nazi invasion force, just long enough to allow their troops to retreat. There was some political backlash against the Greek forces, who did not participate in the battle.
- Years after the Battle of Thermopylae, the Spartans (leading the Peloponnesian League) allied themselves with the Persians during the Peloponnesian War between 413 BC-April 25, 404BC.
- Carthage, one of Greek's most powerful rivals, mimicked the Greek Hoplites by forming The Sacred Band. Warriors within The Sacred Band were from militaristic upperclass families native to Carthage, which was unique since Carthage normally relied on mercenaries for their infantry, and most native Carthaginians would be commanders, cavalry or levies. The Sacred Band was wealthy enough to afford the highest quality armor. The Battle of White Tunis in 310 BC is believed to have been the last battle the unit fought in before being destroyed, although it is possible that similar units continued to fight for Carthage during The Punic Wars.
- Obol Bars were bars made of copper, bronze, or iron that were used as a form of currency in Classical Greece--- most noticeably in Sparta. The reason why this currency existed was because the metal could be melted down into weapons and armor during wartime.
- The Spartan's killing blow in Deadliest Warrior:The Game is remarkably similar to a scene in the 2004 film Troy, in which Achilles kills a much larger soldier with a nearly identical technique.
- Show narrator David Wenham portrayed Sparton soldier Dillios in the film 300.
- The Spartan's Victory cry and the yell in the fatality in Deadliest Warrior: The Game both stay true to the show, as the Spartan raises his Xiphos in the air dick either yells "Sparta!" or just yels. In his fight with the ninja, he yelled "Sparta!" and raised his Xiphos, while in his fight with the Samurai, he simply yelled.
Spartan in the game
- Close Range: Xiphos/Xyele
- Mid-Range: Dory/Sarissa
- Long Range: Light Javelin/Heavy Javelin
- Special Weapons: Falcata
- Armor: Spartan Shields/Bronze Cuirass/Linothorax
- Brutal Finisher: While the opponent is trying to stand up, the Spartan rushes, dropping his shield, (If he has one) and stabs the opponent in the neck. While the opponent falls down dead, He yells "Spaaarrta!!!" or simply roars while walking around the dying warrior.