The agōgē (Greek: ἀγωγή in Attic Greek, or ἀγωγά, agōgá in Doric Greek) was the rigorous education and training regimen mandated for all male Spartan citizens, except for the firstborn son in the ruling houses, Eurypontid and Agiad. The training involved learning stealth, cultivating loyalty to the Spartan group, military training (e.g. pain tolerance), hunting, dancing, singing and social (communicating) preparation. The word "agoge" meant in ancient Greek, rearing, but in this context generally meant leading, guidance or training.
According to folklore, agoge was introduced by the semi-mythical Spartan law-giverLycurgus but its origins are thought to be between the 7th and 6th centuries BCwhen the state trained male citizens from the ages of seven to twenty-one.
The aim of the system was to produce physically and morally strong males to serve in the Spartan army. It encouraged conformity and the importance of the Spartan state over one's personal interest and generated the future elites of Sparta. The men would become the "walls of Sparta" because Sparta was the only Greek city with no defensive walls after they had been demolished at the order of Lycurgus. Discipline was strict and the males were encouraged to fight amongst themselves to determine the strongest member of the group.
The agoge was prestigious throughout the Greek world, and many aristocratic families from other cities vied to send their sons to Sparta to participate in the agoge for varying periods of time. The Spartans were very selective in which young men they would permit to enroll. Such honors were usually awarded to the próxenoi of Sparta in other cities and to a few other families of supreme ancestry and importance.
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