After mess, at which he was waited on by his fags, the prefect would address himself to their intellectual education. Some had to sing, to others he would put questions in ethical casuistry. “Who is the best of the men?” “What do you think of this or that action?” The answer had to be brief and pointed—“Laconic,” in fact. The boy had to give reasons for his answer. A bad answer was punished by a bite on the back of the hand, but if older men were present the prefect had to justify his punishments. If a boy cried out ignobly in fighting, his lover was punished also. But the real source of their education was in music, marching songs, and hymns in praise of the heroes of Spartan history. One such song is preserved:
“Old Men. We were warriors of old.
“Men. As we are. Who doubts? Behold.
“Boys. Some day we shall be more bold.”