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Spartan Quotes About the Powerful Ancient Greek Soldiers

Sparta, the warrior society of ancient Greece, reached the pinnacle of its power after defeating its rivals from Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.).

The Spartan culture revolved around three core values: discipline, obedience, and courage. They placed these virtues above all else, as you can see in these Spartan quotes.

Molon Labe is a Greek catchphrase associated with the Spartans and has been used by several gun rights groups.

It means “Come and take them,” and was the response by King Leonidas when the enemy demanded his soldiers lay down their weapons.

The Spartans have been the inspiration for several Hollywood movies, including the movie 300. Gerard Butler and Lena Headey star as King Leonidas and Queen Gorgo.

Many of these Spartan quotes from the movie 300 are rooted in historically accurate quotes, while others make for great cinematic moments.

Don’t forget to also check out these warrior quotes on having an unbeatable mind.

Famous Spartan warrior quotes from King Leonidas

1. “Spartans! Prepare for glory!” — King Leonidas, 300

Spartan Quotes About glory

2. “You have many slaves, but few warriors. It won’t be long before they fear my spears more than your whips.” — King Leonidas, 300

Spartan Quotes About warriors

3. “Give them nothing, but take from them everything.” — King Leonidas,300

Spartan Quotes About victory

4. “Spartans, eat well, for tonight we dine in Hades.” — King Leonidas, 300

legendary Spartan Quotes

5. “No retreat, no surrender; that is Spartan law. And by Spartan law, we will stand and fight, and die.” — King Leonidas, 300

Spartan Quotes and sayings

6. “This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where they die! Remember this day, for it will be yours for all time.” — King Leonidas, 300

7. “A new age has begun. An age of freedom, and all will know, that 300 Spartans gave their last breath to defend it!” — King Leonidas, 300

8. “In the end, a Spartan’s true strength is the warrior next to him. So give respect and honor to him, and it will be returned to you.” — King Leonidas, 300

9. “The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many. And before this battle is over, that even a god king can bleed.” — King Leonidas, 300

10. “Spartans never retreat! Spartans never surrender! Go spread the word. Let every Greek assembled know the truth of this. Let each among them search his own soul. And while you’re at it, search your own.” — King Leonidas, 300

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Spartan quotes and sayings from other characters in 300

11. “It is not a question of what a Spartan citizen should do, nor a husband, nor a king. Instead, ask yourself what should a free man do?” — Queen Gorgo, 300

12. “From the time he could stand, he was baptized in the fire of combat. Taught never to retreat, never to surrender, but death on the battlefield in service to Sparta was the greatest glory he could achieve in his life.” — Dilios, 300

13. “There’s no room for softness… not in Sparta. No place for weakness. Only the hard and strong may call themselves Spartans. Only the hard, only the strong.” — Dillios, 300

14. “Freedom isn’t free at all, that it comes with the highest of costs. The cost of blood.” — Queen Gorgo, 300

15. “Your lips can finish what your fingers have started… or has the Oracle robbed you of your desire as well?” — Queen Gorgo, 300

16. “It would be a regrettable waste. It would be nothing short of madness for you, brave king, and your valiant troops to perish. All because of a simple misunderstanding. There is much our cultures could share.” — Xerxes, 300

17. “Unlike the cruel Leonidas, who demanded that you stand, I require only that you kneel.” — Xerxes, 300

Spartan quotes and words about fighting and being warriors

18. “The Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy but where are they.” — Plutarch

19. “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 Proverb

20. “He who sweats more in training bleeds less in war.” — Spartan Creed

21. “The Spartans are the equal of any men when they fight as individuals; fighting together as a collective, they surpass all other men.” — Demaratus, Spartan King

22. “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)

23. “No retreat, no surrender; that is Spartan law. And by Spartan law, we will stand and fight, and die.” — Leonidas, Spartan King

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24. “So that we may get close to the enemy.” — Agesilaus, Spartan King (on why Spartans fought with short swords)

25. “You’ve been tainted by a bad reputation. Either wipe this out now or cease to exist.” – Spartan Mother

Wise and Inspirational Spartan quotes for life’s battles

26. “You should reach the limits of virtue before you cross the border of death.” — Aristodemus, Spartan Warrior

27. “Either quit your thieving or quit breathing.” — Spartan Mother

28. “There is no use for bravery unless justice is present, and no need for bravery if all men are just.” — Agesilaus, Spartan King

29. “If you confer a benefit, never remember it; if you receive one, never forget it.” — Chilon of Sparta

30. “Come back with your shield, or upon it.” — Spartan Mother

31. “Begin with your own family.” — Unknown

32. “Freedom is what we reap from this way of life, my friend.” — Unknown

33. “That’s fine, for I shall show that it isn’t positions which lend men distinction, but men who enhance positions.” — Unknown

34. “Son, remember your courage with each step.” — Spartan Mother

Daring and strong Spartan quotes and phrases that are all about Spartan

35. “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

36. “Being asked where in Greece he saw good men, he replied, “Good men nowhere, but good boys at Sparta.” – Diogenes

37. “That city is well fortified which has a wall of men instead of brick.” – Lycurgus of Sparta

38. “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.)

39. “The Gods will take care of the King’s Army.” — Demaratus, Spartan King

40. “The walls of Sparta were its young men, and its borders the points of their spears.” — Agesilaus, Spartan King

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

42. “Only Spartan women give birth to real men.” — Gorgo, Queen of Sparta

Spartan quotes from Greek hero Leonidas

43. “They say that the barbarian has come near and is coming on while we are wasting time. Truth, soon we shall either kill the barbarians or else we are bound to be killed ourselves.” – Leonidas

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44. “Come and take them.” – Leonidas

45. “Won’t it be nice, then, if we shall have shade in which to fight them?” – Leonidas

46. “Eat your breakfast as if you are to eat your dinner in the other world.” – Leonidas

47. “If you men think that I rely on numbers, then all Greece is not sufficient, for it is but a small fraction of their numbers; but if on men’s valor, then this number will do.” – Leonidas

48. “Why are not all present who intend to fight? Or do you not realize that the only men who fight against the enemy are those who respect and revere their kings.” – Leonidas

49. “In truth, I am taking many if they are all to be slain.” – Leonidas

50. “Because they believe the one to be Nature’s gift but the other to be within their own control.” – Leonidas

51. “If you had any knowledge of the noble things of life, you would refrain from coveting others’ possessions; but for me to die for Greece is better than to be the sole ruler over the people of my race.” – Leonidas

52. “Then we also are near to them.” – Leonidas

What did you learn from these Spartan quotes?

Hercules, starring Kevin Sorbo, is a TV show inspired by the Spartans, as was Xena, Warrior Princess. Many people think that the movie Gladiator is also about the Spartans, but it is not.

There is a big difference between gladiators and Spartans. Gladiators were slaves who fought in the Roman Coliseum as a form of entertainment, while the Spartans were ancient Greek soldiers who fought in wars.

Since Sparta is still a town in Greece, there are still Spartans today (about 35,000 of them). It used to be a brutal civilization that was the cornerstone of power in Ancient Greece, but now it is more a wonderful place for historians to visit.

There are several museums that tourists can explore, along with the Tomb of Leonidas. Now, its citizens are not soldiers with ancient weapons engaged in war, but rather an inspiration for the arts.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Spartan quotes and sayings? Do you have a favorite film or book about Spartans? Use the comment section below to let us know!

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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  1. Tommy the great

    May 12, 2022 at 4:02 PM

    “The Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy but where are they.” — Plutarch
    I love this quote’s simplicity and directness.
    It reminds me of a similarly single-minded question I once heard a good friend, who is a brutal MMA fighter ask his manager who had just told him that his next fight had been set up.
    Rather than “”who” am I fighting?” (Which was my first thought), without taking his eyes off the punching bag he was punishing, he immediately enquired “when? (He was due to fight) .
    – I never did find out what the bag had done to cop such a savage beating , but judging by the palpable hostility and the force being applied, that poor bag must have f*$#ed-up reeeal bad).
    My respect for my friend has since also been match with fear.
    Spataaaa!

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