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There is no other name for it, Stranger, than the one you have just given to it.Athenian
What then? Is the fighting force of our State to venture to come forward every time to fight for their lives, their children, their goods, and for the whole State, after a less thorough preparation than the competitors we have been describing? [830d] And so is their lawgiver, through fear lest these training-bouts may appear ridiculous to some, to refrain from laying down laws whereby he will ordain field-operations, of which the minor kind, without heavy arms, will take place daily, if possible,—and to this end both the choristry and all the gymnastic shall be directed,—while the others, as a major kind of gymnastics in full armor, he shall order to be held at least once a month? [830e] In this latter kind they will engage in contests with one another throughout the whole country, contending in the capturing of forts and in ambuscades and in all forms of mimic warfare; in fact, they shall do literal fighting with balls1 and darts as nearly real as possible,—though the points of the darts shall be made less dangerous,—in order that their games of combat may not be devoid of some element of alarm, but may provide terrors and indicate to some extent who is stout-hearted
1 “Sphaeromachia” was a (hand) ball contest between opposing sides (something like our hockey or polo matches).
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