Daily Life and Leisure Drifting

Archaeological evidence, especially scenes painted on pottery, and the written evidence of Greek writers such as Plutarch who praised Lycurgus for giving the Spartan citizens abundant leisure activities enjoyed by Spartan men and women. These hobbies and leisure activities included:

Published on Nov 16, 2015

  • Athletics which included activities such as wrestling, running, jumping, discus, boxing and javelin. Spartan citizens played field sports completely naked; lathering their bodies with olive oil before exercising in the Dromos (sports ground). Spartan training was considered to be rigorous and Spartan athletes were especially famous for their running. Girls in Sparta participated in athletics until they were married and were known for their running and jumping.outlet for the competitive display of wealth invested in the beautiful horse. Grooming, feeding and breeding a horse were a costly matter so when someone in the community owned a horse they were considered to be have a high social status and wealthy.
  • Boar and cock fighting was a popular leisure activity among Spartans as for many Greeks. Strong game birds that were aggressive were symbolic of the masculinity that was much valued in Spartan society. According to Plutarch, cocks were fought to the death. They were compared by the Greeks to the hoplite soldiers, the plumes of the crest of a soldiers helmet reminiscent of a cock's head feathers. Plutarch also reveals that at Sparta cocks where also sacrificed to the God Ares the god of war after battle. There is some indication that wild boars were raised in captivity for boarfighting as Pausanias tells us, in an area called the Plane Trees in Sparta. Adolescents were divided into two teams and fought each other. Before the contest started each team had to fight a young boar; the outcome of the boar fight was an omen that may indicate the end result of the game.
  • Possibly, leisure among the Perioikoi was much like that in other rural communities in the rest of Greece. It is even more probable that the helots at least enjoyed the right to celebrate religious festivals which contributed to the well-being of the state.

Banquet scene: man reclining on a bench and youth playing the aulos. Tondo of an Attic red-figure cup, ca. 460 BC–450 BC.

A Spartan cup shows hunters chasing the Calydonian Boar showing that hunting was a great part of the Spartan Leisure activities.