Friday, December 14, 2007

Spartans did not throw deformed babies away: researchers
The Greek myth that ancient Spartans threw their stunted and sickly newborns off a cliff was not corroborated by archaeological digs in the area, researchers said Monday.

After more than five years of analysis of human remains culled from the pit, also called an apothetes, researchers found only the remains of adolescents and adults between the ages of 18 and 35, Athens Faculty of Medicine Anthropologist Theodoros Pitsios said.

"There were still bones in the area, but none from newborns, according to the samples we took from the bottom of the pit" of the foothills of Mount Taygete near present-day Sparta.

I dunno. Just because they weren't in this pit (unless it's the only viable place around) doesn't necessarily mean it didn't happen. I suspect it's probably a myth, but one never knows what the limits of infanticide may have been at any given place and time.