Academic Paper Example

Sample Essay With References and Bibliography

The following academic paper example is a good reference for students who are assigned a writing project for their class in any subject area.

The essay below was the term paper for an undergraduate history class in a UC system.(University of California) The paper received a grade 'B-' and may contain errors.

Word Count: 1373 (about five pages double spaced)

Inside Sparta

Sparta was one of the major city-states in Ancient Greece, capital of Laconia which is located on Peloponnesus peninsula, southwest of Athens with Mediterranean see on the south. Sparta first around 10th century BC and they were disestablished with Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC. Life in Sparta was quite different than any other nations in history. Although Spartans are most known for their capabilities in the battlefields, Spartans were also one of a kind for their life-style from birth to death. Spartans were compelled to a life-long lasting preparation for war under war conditions within their own cities.
     At the times when Athens was the dominant power in Greece, Spartans were able to take the crown from them even outnumbered immensely by the Athenians in Peloponnesian War. The feared Spartans, the unbeatable warriors, how had they become the brave battle masters they were? How did Spartans live? What about women? Spartans had a unique way of living, a war-like living to become what they were.
     Spartan government oppressed as much as they possibly could to ensure their armies remained flawless. In Sparta, the state had more rights over children than their parents. Sparta owned every newborn baby to raise them and make new soldiers, soldiers that will do everything for their state. They ensured strength and self-discipline. When a Spartan baby was born, soldiers showed up at the door to inspect it carefully and determine whether the baby was strong enough to be a “Spartan” or not. They gave it a bath in wine instead of water and see its reaction. When state decided that the baby was too weak and that it would be useless for Sparta, boys and girls were exposed by the government. They would either die or get picked up by Helots to later become slaves. (Rostovtzeff 78) Spartans wanted to make sure that only the strong would survive and fit Sparta physically. They did not want not want to waste food, water and other goods for an unworthy upbringing that will have no or little help for Sparta. City-state had full control over children’s fate in Sparta.
     Since victories on battles depended on physical strength a lot more than they do today, the very first step was to ensure they had the quality roots that would able to fight well. Spartans wouldn’t let go of the infants who survived the first test, not for a long time. They were destined to become warriors before they even knew themselves. “Military training started for the young male Spartan at the age of five when he became a ‘Boy’ (paidion)”. (Sekunda, Hook 10) The boy would be taken from his home to live and to be trained in barracks for six years long. They would teach him songs to be sung on campaigns. After age 12, he would have to go through heavier exercises and tougher living conditions such as walking barefoot or wearing only a thin cloak in winter and summer to prepare him for the hardest battle conditions. (lbid., p 11) There goes a Spartan’s life.(colloquial)
     Men devoted their lives to learning military skills and had no time for other types of education. What about women in Sparta? Spartan life was unique for its women too. Since men in Sparta belonged to the state and didn’t have much time, women had control at home and enjoyed more freedom. Although women spent plenty of time with their mothers and they had time to learn how to read and write, they still were educated in order to “produce the best hoplites and mothers of hoplites.”(Pomeroy 4) The mentality under any Spartan system points the same direction. Maybe girls don’t fight in battles, but they give birth to potential fighters. They believed that strong mothers gave strong warriors so they made women go through some physical training as well. Men and women are strengthened for war. Plutarch said that Aristotle tried to discipline women and gave up because women gained too much power since their husbands were away for military campaigns and that women had full control. Lycurgus helped the girls get stronger physically so that “Their children in embryo would make a strong start in strong bodies and would develop better.” (24)
     Along with all this preparation, the women of Sparta became special for being physically strong and attractive. They had more rights compared with other ancient civilizations. Apparently given freedom, more rights and physical training, women were more confident in Sparta. Plutarch talks about how women started talking and thinking in the way that Leonidas’ wife Gorgo did. A foreigner woman once told Gorgo “You Laconian women are the only ones who can rule men.” and Gorgo replied “That is because we are the only ones who give birth to men.”(25) Gorgo protected Spartan men with great confidence. That’s how the women were trained in Sparta; trained to be strong, trained to be brave.
     Sparta, superior power on land, brave kings of close combats, is not just developed on a coincidence; Sparta made its name on a persistent hard work. It owes its fame and all of its uniqueness to its government; to the government’s ultimate goal and how the government rules to reach his goal. Sparta governs for nothing but having the best swords in combat. The harsh system to maintain a flawless army certainly had its price. Leaving the infants to death, taking away the children from home at early stages, enforcing mandatory heavy physical training to kids and teaching them only war, setting up harsh living conditions, an artificial war zone for its citizen and hoping that only the strong ones will survive to build up Sparta’s unbeatable superior armies is the price that Spartans paid themselves. May be that’s the reason why Sparta was outnumbered in battles most of the time. Rostovtzeff emphasizes “All social and economic relations were based on absolute subordination of the individual to the state, and on the conversion of all the dominating class into a standing army, ready at any moment to take the field.”(78)
     What did all this strict governing, ongoing preparation, and construction of the unbeatable armies mean? Sparta wanted to conquer. They conquered their neighbors in Peloponnese. They enslaved from conquered territories more and more people called Helots. Since every Spartiate had to go through war like life including the upbringing, they were fewer in numbers. After all only the strong survived. Slave population was larger than the population of Spartan citizens. On the other hand, having such strict military based government kept the slaves from revolting. Sparta was like a large military camp which kept everyone inside and did not let anyone in from outside.
     Spartans isolated themselves from other states, closing Sparta to “the new”. Spartans were well prepared to fight on the field and had impressive results but they feared to venture. “They feared that foreign goods would bring with them new demands and new ideas.” Rostovtzeff mentions and stresses how they became self-centered and isolated from the rest of the world. Closing the doors for the outside means limiting yourself.
     Not only did Sparta limit herself for the new ideas from the outside, but she also didn’t let any new ideas to develop inside. Spartans’ lives were under control of the state. Spartan men did not have any freedom of will. Men could not do anything but walking in the direction that government whipped them too; which was to get strong, to build muscles and to become a supreme combatant. The men suffered from this life-long preparation and so did Sparta. She missed the point that not everyone is made for combats and that the citizens with other potential skills were being wasted. Those potential skills were either trashed along with exposed infants or never given a chance to be discovered. Sparta did not have an Aristotle; she did not make a Socrates or Archimedes. The Spartan men’s free will was taken away from them. Sparta had the power she sought on the lands physically, though they could only go so far. While preparing for battles to get strong and big, Sparta didn’t know that “All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” (Albert Einstein)


Rostovtzeff, Michael Ivanovitch. Greece. New York: Oxford UP, 1963. Print.

Pomeroy, Sarah B. Spartan Women. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. Print.

Plutarch, and Richard John Alexander. Talbert. Plutarch on Sparta. London:
           Penguin, 1988. Print.

Sekunda, Nick, and Richard Hook. The Spartans. London: Osprey Pub., 1998.

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