Skip to comments.Spartans Did Not Throw Deformed Babies Away: Researchers
Posted on 12/12/2007 11:10:15 AM PST by blam
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I was taught that the babies were left on a hillside. Still, it’s all interesting.
And dragged off by animals. It wouldn’t be a surprise that none of the bones were found. I imagine a hungry wolf would pretty much eat everything when it came to a newborn, probably chew up the bones and all.
I thought this was already known? We were taught in college that the Spartans gave the weakly and the deformed to the Helots to raise.
Aren’t baby bones mostly cartillage? IIRC, the Spartans would decide on its fate immediately after the birth of the baby.
Rumor likely started by early Pro-Abortion democrats.
Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem.
"In the good old days, children like you were left to perish on windswept crags."
Just tryin' ta be helpful.
Probably easier to fire up the troops to go to battle against "guys who kill their own babies", cuz then you're not just going to war to defend yourself & your people, but you're also going to crush evil people.
Thanks - I’d really been fretting about this...
And not just in Sparta.
You could call the practice “completed birth abortion”.
"Exposure" was a common form of late term abortion (full-birth abortion) for both the Greeks and Romans.
I would imagine the "bones" have been ingested and passed by animals.
No, you must be thinking of a fetus. The embryo starts out with a skeleton of primarily hyaline cartilage, but by the time of birth most of this hyaline cartilage has been converted to bone with the exception of ephiphyseal plates near the end of long bones such as in the limbs. This allows the bone to grow. During adolescence, this too converts to bone, and the bone stops growing.
Just about all ancient peoples practiced infanticide. The only exception I’m aware of is the Jews. This was regularly mentioned by their neighbors as one of their oddest customs.
What was unique in Sparta was that a state committee decided which children would be raised. Everywhere else it was the head of the family.
Today it’s the “mother.” We’ve advanced so far.
I was told they sold them to the circus.
“Exposure” was common & allowed for the “gods” to will whether or not an infant would live. Pitching the infants off of a cliff or sacrificing them in fire was considered to be barbaric, even by societies that practiced their own form of infanticide.
I have read a fair amount of military history of the ancient Greeks. I would say that was not a consideration for going to war in 5th and 4th century BC Greece. And I doubt that it was a consideration when Plutarch wrote his history in first century AD. He probably disapproved of the practice, but there were no wars against the Spartans at that time.
Plutarch did write an essay "On the Malice of Herodotus" in which he critized the 5th century BC Greek historian. This may be the explanation:
According to Plutarch scholar R. H. Barrow, Herodotus’ real failing in Plutarch’s eyes was to advance any criticism at all of those states that saved Greece from Persia. “Plutarch,” he concluded, “is fanatically biased in favor of the Greek cities; they can do no wrong.”Sparta was one of the states that saved Greece from Persia. If you haven't seen the movie "300", I would recommend renting it.
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