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Spartan Quotes About the Powerful Ancient Greek Soldiers

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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.

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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.

If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement. 

Look through our complete collection of inspirational quotes here.

Famous Spartan warrior quotes from King Leonidas

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

Spartan Quotes About glory

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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

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

Spartan Quotes About victory

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

legendary Spartan Quotes

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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

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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

Spartan Quotes about victory

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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

Spartan Quotes about Freedom

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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

Spartan Quotes about Respect

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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

Spartan Quotes about Bravery

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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

Spartan Quotes about Surrender

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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

Spartan Quotes about Free men

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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

Spartan Quotes about Glory

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

Spartan Quotes about Strength

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

Spartan Quotes about Blood

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

Spartan Quotes about Desire

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

Spartan Quotes about Sharing

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

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Spartan Quotes about Cruelty

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

Spartan Quotes about enemies

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

Spartan Quotes about Death

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

Spartan Quotes about Training

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

Spartan Quotes about Collective

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)

Spartan Quotes about Fight

23. “By Heracles! A man’s valor is dead.” — Archidamus

Spartan Quotes about Law

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

Wise Spartan Quotes

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

Spartan Quotes about Reputation

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

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

Spartan Quotes About Their Power In The Army

53. “From the hour when the Puritan baby opened his eyes in bleak New England, he had a Spartan struggle for life.” — Alice Morse Earle

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54. “We are on the path toward becoming the Sparta of the 21st century, armed to the teeth and without the capacity to care for our own people.” — Dennis Kucinich

55. “Because we fight close to the enemy.” — King Agesilaus

56. “The growth of the power of Athens and the alarm which this inspired in Sparta made war inevitable.” — Thucydides

57. “I think, when we were in Sparta and all that – just getting in the groove.” — Zack Snyder

58. “Little Sparta is a garden in the traditional sense. It is perhaps not like other modern gardens, but I think that other times would have had no difficulty with it.” — Ian Hamilton Finlay

59. “What made the war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.” — Thucydides

60. “Julian was the son of Diokles of Sparta, also known as Diokles the Butcher. That man made the Marquis de Sade look like Ronald McDonald.” — Sherrilyn Kenyon

61. “Rome remained free for four hundred years and Sparta eight hundred, although their citizens were armed all that time; but many other states that have been disarmed have lost their liberties in less than forty years.” — Niccolo Machiavelli

62. “A traveler at Sparta, standing long upon one leg, said to a Lacedaemonian, ‘I do not believe you can do as much.’ ‘True,’ he said, ‘but every goose can.’” — Plutarch

Spartan Quotes About Their Lifestyle

63. “Mental toughness is spartanism with qualities of sacrifice, self-denial, dedication. It is fearlessness, and it is love.” — Vince Lombardi

64. “A Spartan woman, as she handed her son his shield, exhorted him saying, “As a warrior of Sparta come back with your shield or on it.” — Plutarch

65. “Either with it or upon it.”  — Spartan mother

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

67. “Rise up, warriors; take your stand at one another’s sides, your feet set wide and rooted like oaks in the ground..” — Tyrtaeus

68. “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie.” — Steven Pressfield

69. “We have the ability to be the Athens of modern times as opposed to the militaristic Sparta. I remind you that the Athenians wrote poetry. The Spartans did not.” — Rita Mae Brown

70. “Spartans, stoics, heroes, saints and gods use short and positive speech.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

71. “ imagine the film [“300”] as if I was a Spartan and I had never seen an immortal or a Persian, or an elephant or a rhino for that matter.” — Zack Snyder

72. “I wil not compare the education of an ancient Spartan with that of a British nobleman.” — Thomas Day

Spartan Quotes To Encourage Your Bravery

73. “Sparta was the original utopia.” — Paul Cartledge

74. “And I would die for any one of mine.” ― King Leonidas

75. “I fear neither battle nor death, but I fear the day you are not by my side.” — Jaclyn Osborn

76. “Dig It Out For Yourselves” — King Leonidas

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

78. “Now eat a good breakfast, men. For we’ll all be sharing dinner in hell.” — Leonidas

79. “Then his brother can take his place.” — One Spartan Mother

80. “Marry good men and bear good children.” — King Leonidas 

81. “Crying is for cowards, but you my son, I will bury you without a tear; You are my son and son of Sparta too.” — Spartan Mother 

82. “It would take more than the words than a drunken adolescent girl to rob me of my desire of you.” — King Leonidas

Spartan Quotes To Bring You Memories

83. “Spartan’ today remains a descriptor synonymous with simplicity, austerity, and frugality — a comfort with discomfort and a disdain for luxury.” — Brett and Kate McKay

84. “Courage, particularly in the face of death, was the foundation stone of Spartan culture.” — Donald J. Robertson

85. “A Spartan entered the army at eighteen and remained in service till he was sixty; he regarded al other occupations as unfitting for a man.” — Steven Pressfield

86. “For he did not wish tribute, nor song, nor monuments nor poems of war and valor. His wish was simple “Remember us. Remember why we died.” — Dilios, 300

87. “Spartans, Ready Your Breakfast And Eat Hardy, For Tonight We Dine In Hell!” — Leonidas, 300

88. “The enemy outnumber us a paltry three to one, good odds for any Greek. This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine.” — Dilios, 300

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89. “Phillip II of Macedonia: ‘If I invade Laconia you will be destroyed, never to rise again.” — Spartan Ephors

90. “I couldn’t miss Percy’s fifteenth birthday,” Poseidon said. “Why, if this were Sparta, Percy would be a man today!” “That’s true,” Paul said. “I used to teach ancient history.” Poseidon’s eyes twinkled. “That’s me. Ancient history. ” — Rick Riordan

91. “In Sparta, the secret police would ambush you, violate you, skin you alive and use your skull for a drinking cup.” — Janet Morris

92. “In essence, Sparta was a city of the head and the heart. And it existed in its purest form in the disciplined march of a hoplite phalanx on their way to war!”  — Bettany Hughes

Spartan Quotes To Encourage You To Soldier On

93.“That, I saw, was the victory you Spartans had gained over yourselves. That was the glue. It was what you had learned and it made me stay, to learn it too.” ― Steven Pressfield

94.“The Spartans say that any army may win while it still has its legs under it; the real test comes when all strength is fled and the men must produce victory on will alone.” ― Steven Pressfield

95. “Persian envoy “our arrows will black out the sun…” Dienekes of the Spartans..“Good, then we’ll fight in the shade.” ― Steven Pressfield

96. “If we were bees, ants, or Lacedaemonian| warriors, to whom personal fear does not exist and cowardice is the most shameful thing in the world, warring would go on forever. But luckily we are only men — and cowards.” ― Erwin Schrodinger

97. “Hydarnes: When we attack today, our arrows will blot out the sun!

Leonidas: Good; then we will fight in the shade.”― Frank Miller

98. “Modern armies all follow the Spartan pattern. If you want to overcome adversity, you must constantly rehearse encountering adversity. Then, when real adversity arrives, you know how to deal with it, and you are not fazed by it.” ― Tom Strabo, Donald J Trump

99. “Stranger, go back to Sparta and tell our people that we who were slain obeyed the code.” ― Simonides

100. “In this way, the Spartans erected a moral barrier between themselves and the helots to justify their harsh treatment of fellow Greeks. For all these reasons, the helots hated the Spartans bitterly.” ― Thomas R. Martin

101. “Fear conquers fear. This is how we Spartans do it, counterpoising to fear of death a greater fear: that of dishonor. Of exclusion from the pack.” ― Steven Pressfield

102.  “To cry out was considered a sign of cowardice. It was not unheard of for a Spartan boy to die of a beating without uttering a word.” ― Steven Pressfield

Spartan Quotes to Unleash the Power of Warriors

103. “Spartans were the first to show us how to live, and how to die.” ― Julius Caesar

104. “The Spartans were the first to embody the ideal of the warrior-philosopher.” ― Aristotle

105. “The Spartans were the only men who were completely men.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

106. “The Spartans were the first to show the world the true meaning of sacrifice.” ― Napoleon Bonaparte

107. “Sparta was the school of Hellas.” ― Plato

108. “Sparta was a society dedicated to military excellence.” ― Herodotus

109. “The Spartans were the first to show us the true meaning of courage.” ― Alexander the Great

110. “The Spartans were the most fearsome warriors of the ancient world.” ― Sun Tzu

111. “Sparta is the only state in which, as far as the constitution goes, virtue has a chance of existing.” ― Plato

112. “The Spartans were the first to give the world an ideal of the gentleman.” ― John Stuart Mill

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, Managing Editor
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1 Comment
  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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