Gainful employment plays no part in this manly existence.
Spartan citizens are forbidden by law to engage in any money-making activity. Sparta is able to provide for its citizens in this way thanks to the conquest of Messenia, a rich plain to the west beyond Mount Taygetos. In the 7th, after an uprising against Spartan rule, the Messenians are reduced to the status of helots - more than doubling the amount of land available to support the Spartan army.
At the age of seven the sons of all Spartan citizens leave home to enter a state education system in which the emphasis is on courage and discipline.
Corporal punishment is used not only to punish but also as a test of endurance.
A military society is one way of stabilizing such a situation, with an elite group of soldiers keeping the villagers hard at work.
In return they acquire the protection of the most formidable army in Greece.
Politically the leadership of Sparta is attractive to the aristocratic families who still control most Greek city-states.
The chief threat to their interests is from tyrants, seizing power on behalf of a newly enriched class.
So Sparta becomes associated with a policy of opposing tyrants - even deposing them.
Her first major clash with Athens comes in 510, when one of the Spartan kings, Kleomenes, marches north to drive out the tyrant Hippias.