Spartans were renowned for the rigour and spareness of their upbringing. The main reason for that was that they were heavily outnumbered by the slave population (the "helots") and so they concentrated on breeding hardy, courageous males who could defend their city from within and without. Sparta was in the region of Laconia and the Spartans' reputation for keeping words to a minimum gives us our adjective "laconic." On one occasion an enemy sent a messenger to Sparta saying that if they (the enemy) invaded Laconia, they would destroy Sparta. The Spartans sent back a one word answer: "If."