spartan quotes

31 Hardcore Spartan Quotes to Teach You Discipline and Bravery

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If you are a die-hard fan of 300: Rise of an Empire like I am, then you should love these Spartan quotes. I like to go back to them every time I find myself going through challenging times.

I am particularly fond of the classic tongue-in-cheek Spartan one-liners in the last section. They make me think, “If the Spartans could be that badass, then I can definitely power through another long day at the office!”

31 Spartan Quotes to Channel Your Inner Warrior

Spartan Quotes on Brothers in Arms and Team Spirit

#1. “The Spartans are the equal of any men when they fight as individuals; fighting together as a collective, they surpass all other men.” — Spartan king Demaratus to Persian king Xerxes

#2. “Here is what you do, friends. Forget country. Forget king. Forget wife and children and freedom. Forget every concept, however noble, that you imagine you fight for here today. Act for this alone: for the man who stands at your shoulder. He is everything, and everything is contained within him. That is all I know. That is all I can tell you.” — Steven Pressfield, “Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae”

Spartan Quotes on Having the Courage to Face Your Enemies

#3. “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.” — Spartan Poet Tyrtaeus

#4. “If numbers are what matters, all Greece cannot match a small part of that army; but if courage is what counts, this number is sufficient.” — Leonidas, King of Sparta

#5. “Rise up, warriors; take your stand at one another’s sides, your feet set wide and rooted like oaks in the ground. Then bide your time, biting your lip, for you were born from the blood of Heracles, unbeatable by mortal men, and the god of gods has never turned his back on you.” — Tyrtaeus

#6. “So that we may get close to the enemy.” — Spartan King Agesilaus on why Spartans fought with short swords

#7. “Here is courage, mankind’s finest possession; here is the noblest prize that a young man can endeavor to win.” — Tyrtaeus

#8. “A slave’s life is all you understand; you know nothing of freedom. For if you did, you would have encouraged us to fight on, not only with our spear but with everything we have.”

#9. “There is no use for bravery unless justice is present and no need for bravery if all men are just.” — King Agesilaus, when asked whether bravery or justice was more important

Blood-Chilling and Hair-Raising Spartan Quotes on Death

#10. “You should reach the limits of virtue before you cross the border of death.” — Tyrtaeus

#11. “Learn to love death’s ink-black shadow as much as you love the light of dawn.” — Tyrtaeus

Warrior Queens, Mothers, and Lovers: Badass Quotes on Spartan Women

#12. “The daughters of Sparta are never at home! They mingle with the young men in wrestling matches.” — Euripides

#13. “Son, remember your courage with each step.” — Spartan mother to her son

#14. “Come back with your shield — or on it.” — Traditional farewell by Spartan mothers bidding their sons goodbye when they went off to war

#15. “Then his brother can take his place.” — One Spartan mother’s response to the news that her son had died in war

#16. “Add a step forward to it.” — A Spartan mother to her son who complained that his sword was too short

#17. “Marry good men and bear good children.” — King Leonidas to his wife, Queen Gorgo, who asked him if he had any instructions to give her as she sent him off to fight the Persians at Thermopylae

#18. “For we are the only women who bring forth men.” — Gorgo, Queen of Sparta, when asked why Spartan women were the only women in the Greek world allowed to rule men

Classic Spartan One-Liners

#19. “It will be the size of a lion when I bore down on my enemies.” — A Spartan when asked why he had drawn a fly on his shield, instead of something more terrifying

#20. “These are Sparta’s walls.” — King Agesilaus, pointing to his men when asked why Sparta lacked fortifications of any kind

#21. “What splendid women’s quarters.” — King Agesilaus, upon seeing the massive fortifications of another Greek city

#22. “As far as this can reach.” — King Agesilaus, holding up and showing his spear when asked how far Sparta’s boundaries reached

#23. “Then we shall fight in the shade.” — Spartan leader Dieneces, upon being told that the Persian army had so many arrows that they could hide the sun

#24. “Have a good breakfast, men, for we dine in Hades!” — King Leonidas to his soldiers

#25. “Dig it out for yourselves.” — King Leonidas, upon kicking a Persian messenger down a well after he demanded a payment of earth and water, a symbol of surrender, from the Spartans

#26. “Not how many but where.” — A Spartan saying to ask about the enemy forces

#27. “Come and take them.” — King Leonidas, after being asked to lay down his arms by King Xerxes, whose army outnumbered the Spartans by two hundred to one

#28. “Then we also are near to them.” — King Leonidas, upon being told that the Persians were near

#29. “In war.” — Common Spartan gravestone inscription. Spartan men only got a gravestone if they died in combat, and Spartan women if they died in childbirth.

#30. “Neither.” — Spartans’ response to King Philip of Macedon, who asked if they would rather have him enter their lands as a friend or foe

#31. “If.” — Spartan reply to King Philip of Macedon’s message, “If I win this war, you will be slaves forever.”

Wrapping Up

I hope that my collection of Spartan quotes will inspire you to be a little braver each day and face life’s challenges head-on. We may no longer live in the harsh time of Ancient Greece, but we still have our own struggles to overcome and private wars to fight.

That is all the more so for the men and women of the twenty-first century, as we all try hard to balance our work and family commitments. Perhaps we should all strive to be a bit more like badass Queen Gorgo, King Leonidas, and their fellow Spartan warriors!