The Spartans would have been proud of me yesterday. Do you remember I moved a few months back? Things are coming along great! The next project on the list: renovate the shed in order to make space for my own personal gym(nasium)! I have been missing it terribly! I am a huge fan of being active and while I walk (about 15 km a day) and cycle and mountainbike whenever I can, I miss my upper body work-outs in the form of lifting heavy things, praticing my boxing and TRX. I could have signed up for a gym for a few months while we got things sorted but I really, really, really dislike the gym for a variety of reasons. Suffice to say, I am a happy camper that somewhere this week--weather permits--we are finally starting Project Gym.

I got sidetracked a bit. What I was going to tell you about is that we have already done a lot of contruction on the house and all the construction materials and debris that came out of that had to go somewhere while we awaited gathering enough to justify the costs of renting a container to dump it all into and have it removed. The only place it could go without it being in the way was, you guessed it, the shed. So now we are on the verge of starting that renovation, all of that junk had to be taken out, piled high and covered while we await the materials that will come out of the shed renovation. Once that is completed, we're going to rent that container. So yesterday was seven straight hours of hauling heavy things--including bricks, leminate boards, insulation sheets and wood. Whew!

I am very happy to report that I am in a lot less pain than I had expected to be this morning. I'm stiff and my back is a little creaky but honestly, it's allowed. It's good to see that a few months away from the gym and getting only 'real life' exercise in hasn't damaged my upper body strength any. So today I am leaving you with some Spartan poetry, because I'm feeling particularly close to the city-state today.

You might find yourself surprised that poetry came out of a warrior-heavy society like Sparta but actually, Sparta was renowned in its own time for its poetry, as well as its music and dance. Sadly, only fragments of these work have survived the centuries. The only Startan works of poetry that survive to form a relative whole are those of Tyrtaeus. Tyrtaeus (Τυρταῖος Tyrtaios) was an Hellenic lyric poet from Sparta who composed verses around the time of the Second Messenian War, the date of which isn't clearly established, but sometime in the latter part of the seventh century BC. He is known especially for political and military elegies, exhorting Spartans to support the state authorities and to fight bravely against the Messenians, who had temporarily succeeded in wresting their estates from Spartan control. 

Tyrtaeus was predominantly an elegiac poet. The three longest fragments of surviving verse (fr. 10–12) are complete or virtually complete poems describing the ideal warrior and the disgrace or glory that attends his personal choices. Critics these days say it's not particularly good poetry but I enjoy it none the less. What follows was a marching song, for the soldiers to keep pace as they set off for war. Imagine how impressive that would have been to behold, if you will!

"Ye are of the lineage of the invincible Heracles; so be ye of good cheer; not yet is the head of Zeus turned away. Fear ye not a multitude of men, nor flinch, but let every man hold his shield straight towards the van, making Life his enemy and the black Spirits of Death dear as the rays of the sun. For ye know the destroying deeds of lamentable Ares, and well have learnt the disposition of woeful War; ye have tasted both of the fleeing and the pursuing, lads, and had more than your fill of either.
Those who abiding shoulder go with a will into the mellay and the van, of these are fewer slain, these save the people afterward; as for them that turn to fear, all their valour is lost —no man could tell in words each and all the ills that befall a man if he once come to dishonour. For pleasant it is in dreadful warfare to pierce the midriff of a flying man, and disgraced is the dead that lieth in the dust with a spear-point in his back.
So let each man bite his lip and abide firm-set astride upon the ground, covering with the belly of his broad buckler thighs and legs below and breast and shoulders above; let him brandish the massy spear in his right hand, let him wave the dire crest upon his head; let him learn how to fight by doing doughty deeds, and not stand shield in hand beyond the missiles.
Nay, let each man close the foe, and with his own long spear, or else with his sword, wound and take an enemy, and setting foot beside foot, resting shield against shield, crest beside crest, helm beside helm, fight his man breast to breast with sword or long spear in hand. And ye also, ye light-armed, crouch ye on either hand beneath the shield and fling your great hurlstones and throw against them your smooth javelins, in your place beside the men of heavier armament." [CURFRAG.tlg-0266.7]