[2.2] Lycurgus, on the contrary, instead of leaving each father to appoint a slave to act as tutor, gave the duty of controlling the boys to a member of the class from which the highest offices are filled, in fact to the "Warden" as he is called. He gave this person authority to gather the boys together, to take charge of them and to punish them severely in case of misconduct. He also assigned to him a staff of youths provided with whips to chastise them when necessary; and the result is that modesty and obedience are inseparable companions at Sparta.
Xenophon Constitution of the Lacedaimonians 2.1
EducationBoys left their parents at age 7 to live in barracks, for the next 13 years, where they were under constant attention:
"In order that the boys might never lack a ruler even when the Warden was away, he gave authority to any citizen who chanced to be present to require them to do anything that he thought right, and to punish them for any misconduct. This had the effect of making the boys more respectful; in fact boys and men alike respect their rulers above everything. [2.11] And that a ruler might not be lacking to the boys even when no grown man happened to be present, he selected the keenest of the prefects, and gave to each the command of a division. And so at Sparta the boys are never without a ruler."The Spartans' state-controlled education (agoge) was designed not to instill literacy, but fitness, obedience, and courage. Boys learned survival skills, to steal what they needed without getting caught and, under certain circumstances, to murder helots. Even as adults, men did not live with their wives, but ate at common messes with the other men of the syssition. They contributed a prescribed share of the provisions. If they failed, they were expelled from the syssiton and lost some of their citizenship rights.
- Xenophon Constitution of the Lacedaimonians 2.1
"After they were twelve years old, they were no longer allowed to wear any undergarments, they had one coat to serve them a year; their bodies were hard and dry, with but little acquaintance of baths and unguents; these human indulgences they were allowed only on some few particular days in the year. They lodged together in little bands upon beds made of the rushes which grew by the banks of the river Eurotas, which they were to break off with their hands with a knife; if it were winter, they mingled some thistle-down with their rushes, which it was thought had the property of giving warmth."