Greek police in Sparta have launched an investigation to discover the whereabouts of the iconic helmet that was stolen on Tuesday night from the center of the city.
The imposing helmet, part of a statue dedicated to Sparta’s glorious past, had adorned the city until Tuesday.
The mayor of the city, Petros Doukas, has promised a reward of 1,000 euros “to anyone who gives confidential and completely anonymous information that will lead to the discovery of the helmet and the arrest of the perpetrators,” he told the press.
In addition, he promised that if the helmet is not found it will be replaced with another, to be made as identical as possible to the original.
The helmet of the warriors of Sparta is synonymous with the history of the Greek city which twenty-five hundred years ago was the indisputable military power in Greece.
Sparta: where bravery and courage were mandatory
No other city had warriors as fierce, disciplined and proud. Unlike other Greeks, they did not live as individuals, but as parts of a hive, or in the Spartans’ case, a war machine.
The entirety of Spartan society was structured to support the professional army — the only one in the ancient Greek world. From the age of 7, all Spartan boys began their military training.
As novelist and writer Patrick Garner explained, bravery and courage were mandatory in Sparta. A boy who showed the slightest sign of fear was shunned. Any aversion to combat caused him to be ostracized.
By the time they fought their first battle, the men were as hard as the bronze armor they wore for protection. And so the Spartan system created courageous soldiers who gladly gave their lives in battle. The much more worldly Athenians even joked about it, saying that living conditions in Sparta were so bad that naturally they’d be only too happy to sacrifice themselves!
In other Greek cities, individualism was celebrated. In Sparta, the individual was completely obliterated.
Other Greeks thought the city was strange, particularly since there was no art, sculpture, theatre or philosophy to speak of there.
The now-famous movie, “300,” which has been remade several times, and the 1950’s era “The 300 Spartans” are perhaps the perfect modern-day tales showing just how skilled and brave the Spartans were.
At the battle at Thermopylae, a group of 300 Spartans heroically followed their leader, King Leonidas, into certain death in the effort to defend their lands.
Although they all died in battle (except two who escaped, one of whom was sent went as a messenger), including their beloved king, the Spartans who remained elsewhere fought alongside the Athenians and other Greeks to claim victory during subsequent battles.