Did the strengths of sparta outweigh the weaknesses?
Sparta was thought of as the peak of military power back during the times of The Delian league. But they had a lot of rules that kept them from becoming the military powerhouse that they truly could have been. I intend to show that their weakness outweighed their strengths.
One of the main reasons they were a large military power is the rigorous military training the Sspartans underwent starting at age eight. Another is the fact that all of their males were in the military. They also had a strong battle formation called Phalanx in which they lined up with their shields interlocking to prevent getting injured. Another societal factors that helped them be powerful was that they educated everyone in reading and writing (Moralia by Plutarch).
However, family dynamics of the Spartan were part of their biggest weaknesses. According to the Cconstitution of Sparta by Xenophon in 5th century BCE this primary source states that marriages were regulated. In addition, during military school the boys would have no contact with their families for the first 13 years. Also, until you become an officer you weren’t allowed to go visit your wife. Because of this many of the men developed close bonds and were homosexuals. If they finally had children then they took them to the elders. If the elderes deemed the child weak then they killed them (Ancient Spartans by J.T. Hooker). The Spartans experienced a decline in population due to all of these rules and familiail regulations.
In conclusion, the Spartan military was strong but after many wars and the problems they had with child bearing and rearing this caused their population to dwindle to about a 1000. The focus on wars and not families was their eventual downfall. The weaknesses definitly outweighed their strengths.