The Warrior Ethos

How the Spartans Became the Spartans

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

Chapter 12   How the Spartans Became the Spartans All warrior cultures start with a great man. In ancient Sparta, that man was Lycurgus. He took the city from a normal society and made it into a warrior culture.

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The Opposite of Shame

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

Chapter 9  The Opposite of Shame is Honor Once, in India, after years on campaign, Alexander’s men threatened to mutiny. They were worn out and wanted to go home. Alexander called an assembly. When the army had gathered, the young king stepped forth and stripped naked. “These scars on my body,” Alexander declared, “were got for you, my brothers. Every wound, as you see, is in the front. Let that man stand forth from your ranks who has bled more than I, or endured more than I for your sake. Show him to me, and I will yield to your…

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Tribes, Gangs and Terrorists

By Steven Pressfield | 16 Comments

Chapter 7  Tribes, Gangs and Terrorists Every honorable convention has its shadow version, a pseudo or evil-twin manifestation in which noble principles are practiced—but in a “dark side” system that turns means and ends on their heads. The Mafia and criminal gangs live by rigorous and sophisticated codes of loyalty, discipline and honor. So do terrorist organizations. Does that make them warriors? Do these groups practice the Warrior Ethos? When is “honor” not honor? To answer this, we must consider the nature of tribes. What are the social, cultural and political characteristics of tribes? First, tribes are hostile to all…

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East of Eden

By Steven Pressfield | 18 Comments

[Last week we introduced this new series, The Warrior Ethos, posting the introduction and Chapters One and Two. Today’s post is Chapters Three, Four, Five and Six. The Warrior Ethos will continue in this space every Monday. To see prior posts, click on the “Series” bar above. Let’s resume!] CHAPTER 3    EAST OF EDEN Where did the Warrior Ethos come from? Why would anyone choose this hard, dangerous life? What could be the philosophy behind such a choice? An answer may come from the Garden of Eden (which is an archetypal myth common to many cultures other than our…

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Wars Change, Warriors Don’t

By Steven Pressfield | 66 Comments

Today we launch a new series on the site. It’s called The Warrior Ethos. Here’s a short intro, in case you missed it. The series is intended for our young men and women in uniform, but I hope that other warriors in other walks of life will give it a chance too. Posts will appear every Monday. After this week, Writing Wednesdays will resume. Let’s plunge right in. Here’s the introduction to The Warrior Ethos and the first two chapters. (The photo above is from Khalidiyah, Iraq, 2008—the men of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines. Thanks to Lance Corporal Albert F.…

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