- "Obedience to the Law!"
- —Official motto of the Agoge
- "Don't Get Caught"
- —Unofficial motto of the Agoge
The name, of uknown origin and meaning, given to both the training regimen of future Spartiate soldiers and to the institution that administers it. Each Spartiate city has its own Agoge locally administered and staffed.
Administrators and Staff
At the head of the city Agoge is a Headmaster or mistress. He or more rarely she is a distinguished veteran usually but not exclusively of officer rank. Most headmasters are also members of the city senate. He or she is assisted by a deputy head responsible for the boys' division of the Upper School, also a veteran and frequently a retired non-com. The deputy head of the girls' division on the other hand is sometimes a Spartiate matron, who remember has also been a serving soldier in her day. The deputy head of the Lower School is almost always a matron.
The staff, made up of retired soldiers and matrons, is divided into two categories; Instructors who teach academic subjects, and Trainers who handle the demanding program of physical conditioning.
The Lower School
Students are called Rhobdasi, another word of unknown origin and meaning. They range in age from seven to eleven years and continue to live at home attending classes daily, except for Holy Days. The first session runs from dawn to just before mid-day at which time the students return home for lunch and rest during the hottest hours of the day. Two hours after noon they return for the second session which continues until dusk.
Students are divided into 'tribes', children from each of the townships making up a Spartiate Polis forming from five to ten tribes. These tribes are further subdivided into age grades and each grade into 'clans' of between twenty and thirty, separate ones for boys and girls, the number of clans depending on how many children there are in a year.
The Upper School
Students now board in special barracks divided into companies under the charge of an elected chieftain. Boys and girls are forbidden contact except under adult supervision and a strong gender rivalry is encouraged. The students of each year have their own title, also ancient and of unknown meaning:
Promicomeos - First year students aged twelve.
Micomeos - Second year students aged thirteen.
Propais - Third year students aged fourteen.
Pais - Fourth year students aged fifteen.
Meliren - Fifth year students aged sixteen.
Iren -Sixth year students aged seventeen.
The tribe and clan structure established in the lower school continues into the upper, each tribe including students of all six years and headed by a sixth year 'Iren' as tribune. Clans comprise students of the same year. Each tribe has at least two, one for boys and one for girls, in each age grade and more if the year is a numerous one.
The Spartiate Agoge is best known for it's intense program of physical training and conditioning but academic subjects are not ignored.
Seven year olds enter school knowing how to read and write, having been taught by their mother or other relative often using the Codex Astartes or Commentaries of St. Mila as their text. The children will have also learned simple arithmetic, their national history and a great deal cultural lore. It is the job of the lower school to build upon this foundation. Academic classes are scheduled for the mornings and in the younger years plentifully broken by recesses for energetic play. As the children grow older the periods of academic study lengthen and play periods are replaced with callisthenics or dance classes. The academic curriculum includes History, Literature, Moral Philosophy, vocal and instrumental music and mathematics. On the physical side there is dance, gymnastics and of course weapons training and military drill.
Clans and Tribes are matched against each other in field and team sports and mock battles - the latter becoming more and more realistic as the students advance in age and skill.