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The army of warriors is the scatter. Sparta was an oligarchy. The state was ruled by two hereditary kings of the Agiad and Eurypontid families , [51] both supposedly descendants of Heracles and equal in authority, so that one could not act against the power and political enactments of his colleague.

The duties of the kings were primarily religious, judicial, and military. They were the chief priests of the state and also maintained communication with the Delphian sanctuary, which always exercised great authority in Spartan politics.

In the time of Herodotus, about BC, their judicial functions had been restricted to cases dealing with heiresses, adoptions and the public roads.

Aristotle describes the kingship at Sparta as "a kind of unlimited and perpetual generalship" Pol. Civil and criminal cases were decided by a group of officials known as the ephors , as well as a council of elders known as the gerousia.

The gerousia consisted of 28 elders over the age of 60, elected for life and usually part of the royal households, and the two kings.

The royal prerogatives were curtailed over time. Dating from the period of the Persian wars, the king lost the right to declare war and was accompanied in the field by two ephors.

He was supplanted also by the ephors in the control of foreign policy. Over time, the kings became mere figureheads except in their capacity as generals.

Real power was transferred to the ephors and to the gerousia. The origins of the powers exercised by the assembly of the citizens called the Apella are virtually unknown because of the lack of historical documentation [25] and Spartan state secrecy.

Not all inhabitants of the Spartan state were considered to be citizens. Only those who had undertaken the Spartan education process known as the agoge were eligible.

However, usually the only people eligible to receive the agoge were Spartiates , or people who could trace their ancestry to the original inhabitants of the city.

There were two exceptions. Trophimoi or "foster sons" were foreign students invited to study. The Athenian general Xenophon , for example, sent his two sons to Sparta as trophimoi.

The other exception was that the son of a helot could be enrolled as a syntrophos [55] if a Spartiate formally adopted him and paid his way.

If a syntrophos did exceptionally well in training, he might be sponsored to become a Spartiate. These laws meant that Sparta could not readily replace citizens lost in battle or otherwise and eventually proved near fatal to the continuance of the state as the number of citizens became greatly outnumbered by the non-citizens and, even more dangerously, the helots.

Others in the state were the perioikoi , who were free inhabitants of Spartan territory but were non-citizens, and the helots , [57] the state-owned serfs.

Descendants of non-Spartan citizens were not able to follow the agoge. The Spartans were a minority of the Lakonian population. The helots were originally free Greeks from the areas of Messenia and Lakonia whom the Spartans had defeated in battle and subsequently enslaved.

In contrast to populations conquered by other Greek cities e. Instead, the helots were given a subordinate position in society more comparable to serfs in medieval Europe than chattel slaves in the rest of Greece.

Helots did not have voting rights, although compared to non-Greek chattel slaves in other parts of Greece they were relatively privileged.

In other Greek city-states, free citizens were part-time soldiers who, when not at war, carried on other trades. Since Spartan men were full-time soldiers, they were not available to carry out manual labour.

Helot women were often used as wet nurses. Helots also travelled with the Spartan army as non-combatant serfs. At the last stand of the Battle of Thermopylae , the Greek dead included not just the legendary three hundred Spartan soldiers but also several hundred Thespian and Theban troops and a number of helots.

Relations between the helots and their Spartan masters were sometimes strained. There was at least one helot revolt ca.

Slave revolts occurred elsewhere in the Greek world, and in BC 20, Athenian slaves ran away to join the Spartan forces occupying Attica. As the Spartiate population declined and the helot population continued to grow, the imbalance of power caused increasing tension.

According to Myron of Priene [67] of the middle 3rd century BC:. Plutarch also states that Spartans treated the Helots "harshly and cruelly": Each year when the Ephors took office they ritually declared war on the helots, thereby allowing Spartans to kill them without the risk of ritual pollution.

As many as two thousand were selected accordingly, who crowned themselves and went round the temples, rejoicing in their new freedom.

The Spartans, however, soon afterwards did away with them, and no one ever knew how each of them perished. The Perioikoi came from similar origins as the helots but occupied a significantly different position in Spartan society.

Although they did not enjoy full citizen-rights, they were free and not subjected to the same restrictions as the helots.

The exact nature of their subjection to the Spartans is not clear, but they seem to have served partly as a kind of military reserve, partly as skilled craftsmen and partly as agents of foreign trade.

Spartan citizens were debarred by law from trade or manufacture, which consequently rested in the hands of the Perioikoi. Lacedaemon was rich in natural resources, fertile and blessed with a number of good natural harbors.

The periokoi could exploit these resources for their own enrichment, and did. Spartiates, on the other hand, were forbidden in theory from engaging in menial labor or trade, although there is evidence of Spartan sculptors, [78] and Spartans were certainly poets, magistrates, ambassadors, and governors as well as soldiers.

Allegedly, Spartans were prohibited from possessing gold and silver coins, and according to legend Spartan currency consisted of iron bars to discourage hoarding.

The conspicuous display of wealth appears to have been discouraged, although this did not preclude the production of very fine, highly decorated bronze, ivory and wooden works of art and the production of jewellery.

Archeology has produced many examples of all these objects, some of which are exquisite. Allegedly in connection with the Lycurgan Reforms e.

Each citizen received one estate, a kleros, and thereafter was expected to derive his wealth from it. From the other half, the Spartiate was expected to pay his mess syssitia fees, and the agoge fees for his children.

However, we know nothing about whether land could be bought and sold, whether it could be inherited, if so by what system primogeniture or equally divided among heirs , whether daughters received dowries and much more.

Attempts were made to remedy this situation by creating new laws. Certain penalties were imposed upon those who remained unmarried or who married too late in life.

Sparta was above all a militarist state, and emphasis on military fitness began virtually at birth. Shortly after birth, a mother would bathe her child in wine to see whether the child was strong.

The Gerousia then decided whether it was to be reared or not. When Spartans died, marked headstones would only be granted to soldiers who died in combat during a victorious campaign or women who died either in service of a divine office or in childbirth.

When male Spartans began military training at age seven, they would enter the agoge system. The agoge was designed to encourage discipline and physical toughness and to emphasize the importance of the Spartan state.

Boys lived in communal messes and, according to Xenophon, whose sons attended the agoge , the boys were fed "just the right amount for them never to become sluggish through being too full, while also giving them a taste of what it is not to have enough.

There is some evidence that in late-Classical and Hellenistic Sparta boys were expected to take an older male mentor, usually an unmarried young man.

However, there is no evidence of this in archaic Sparta. According to some sources, the older man was expected to function as a kind of substitute father and role model to his junior partner; however, others believe it was reasonably certain that they had sexual relations the exact nature of Spartan pederasty is not entirely clear.

Post BC, some Spartan youth apparently became members of an irregular unit known as the Krypteia. The immediate objective of this unit was to seek out and kill vulnerable helot Laconians as part of the larger program of terrorising and intimidating the helot population.

Less information is available about the education of Spartan girls, but they seem to have gone through a fairly extensive formal educational cycle, broadly similar to that of the boys but with less emphasis on military training.

In this respect, classical Sparta was unique in ancient Greece. In no other city-state did women receive any kind of formal education.

At age 20, the Spartan citizen began his membership in one of the syssitia dining messes or clubs , composed of about fifteen members each, of which every citizen was required to be a member.

The Spartans were not eligible for election for public office until the age of Only native Spartans were considered full citizens and were obliged to undergo the training as prescribed by law, as well as participate in and contribute financially to one of the syssitia.

Sparta is thought to be the first city to practice athletic nudity, and some scholars claim that it was also the first to formalize pederasty.

However, other scholars question this interpretation. Xenophon explicitly denies it, [91] but not Plutarch. Spartan men remained in the active reserve until age Men were encouraged to marry at age 20 but could not live with their families until they left their active military service at age They called themselves " homoioi " equals , pointing to their common lifestyle and the discipline of the phalanx , which demanded that no soldier be superior to his comrades.

Thucydides reports that when a Spartan man went to war, his wife or another woman of some significance would customarily present him with his hoplon shield and say: Spartans buried their battle dead on or near the battle field; corpses were not brought back on their hoplons.

According to Aristotle, the Spartan military culture was actually short-sighted and ineffective. It is the standards of civilized men not of beasts that must be kept in mind, for it is good men not beasts who are capable of real courage.

Aristotle was a harsh critic of the Spartan constitution and way of life. There is considerable evidence that the Spartans, certainly in the archaic period, were not educated as one-sidedly as Aristotle asserts.

In fact, the Spartans were also rigorously trained in logic and philosophy. One of the most persistent myths about Sparta that has no basis in fact is the notion that Spartan mothers were without feelings toward their off-spring and helped enforce a militaristic lifestyle on their sons and husbands.

In some of these sayings, mothers revile their sons in insulting language merely for surviving a battle. These sayings purporting to be from Spartan women were far more likely to be of Athenian origin and designed to portray Spartan women as unnatural and so undeserving of pity.

These items were grown locally on each Spartan citizens kleros and were tended to by helots. Spartan citizens were required to donate a certain amount of what they yielded from their kleros to their syssitia, or mess.

These donations to the syssitia were a requirement for every Spartan citizen. All the donated food was then redistributed to feed the Spartan population of that syssitia.

The custom was to capture women for marriage The bridegroom — who was not drunk and thus not impotent, but was sober as always — first had dinner in the messes, then would slip in, undo her belt, lift her and carry her to the bed.

The husband continued to visit his wife in secret for some time after the marriage. These customs, unique to the Spartans, have been interpreted in various ways.

Spartan women, of the citizenry class, enjoyed a status, power, and respect that was unknown in the rest of the classical world.

The higher status of females in Spartan society started at birth; unlike Athens, Spartan girls were fed the same food as their brothers.

The reasons for delaying marriage were to ensure the birth of healthy children, but the effect was to spare Spartan women the hazards and lasting health damage associated with pregnancy among adolescents.

Spartan women, better fed from childhood and fit from exercise, stood a far better chance of reaching old age than their sisters in other Greek cities, where the median age for death was Unlike Athenian women who wore heavy, concealing clothes and were rarely seen outside the house, Spartan women wore dresses peplos slit up the side to allow freer movement and moved freely about the city, either walking or driving chariots.

Girls as well as boys exercised, possibly in the nude, and young women as well as young men may have participated in the Gymnopaedia "Festival of Nude Youths".

In accordance with the Spartan belief that breeding should be between the most physically fit parents, many older men allowed younger, more fit men, to impregnate their wives.

The Spartan population was hard to maintain due to the constant absence and loss of the men in battle and the intense physical inspection of newborns.

Spartan women were also literate and numerate, a rarity in the ancient world. Furthermore, as a result of their education and the fact that they moved freely in society engaging with their fellow male citizens, they were notorious for speaking their minds even in public.

Most importantly, Spartan women had economic power because they controlled their own properties, and those of their husbands.

Unlike women in Athens, if a Spartan woman became the heiress of her father because she had no living brothers to inherit an epikleros , the woman was not required to divorce her current spouse in order to marry her nearest paternal relative.

These tendencies became worse after the huge influx of wealth following the Spartan victory of the Peloponnesian War, leading to the eventual downfall of Sparta.

Many women played a significant role in the history of Sparta. Herodotus records that as a small girl she advised her father Cleomenes to resist a bribe.

She was later said to be responsible for decoding a warning that the Persian forces were about to invade Greece; after Spartan generals could not decode a wooden tablet covered in wax, she ordered them to clear the wax, revealing the warning.

Laconophilia is love or admiration of Sparta and of the Spartan culture or constitution. Sparta was subject of considerable admiration in its day, even in its rival, Athens.

In ancient times "Many of the noblest and best of the Athenians always considered the Spartan state nearly as an ideal theory realised in practice.

With the revival of classical learning in Renaissance Europe , Laconophilia re-appears, for examples in the writings of Machiavelli. The Elizabethan English constitutionalist John Aylmer compared the mixed government of Tudor England to the Spartan republic, stating that "Lacedemonia [meaning Sparta], [was] the noblest and best city governed that ever was".

He commended it as a model for England. The Swiss-French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau contrasted Sparta favourably with Athens in his Discourse on the Arts and Sciences , arguing that its austere constitution was preferable to the more cultured nature of Athenian life.

Sparta was also used as a model of social purity by Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. Certain early Zionists, and particularly the founders of Kibbutz movement in Israel, had been influenced by Spartan ideals, particularly as a model for education.

Tabenkin, for example, a founding father of the Kibbutz and the Palmach , was influenced by Spartan education. He prescribed that education for warfare "should begin from the nursery", that children should from kindergarten age be taken to "spend nights in the mountains and valleys".

Adolf Hitler praised the Spartans, recommending in that Germany should imitate them by limiting "the number allowed to live". He added that "The Spartans were once capable of such a wise measure The subjugation of , Helots by 6, Spartans was only possible because of the racial superiority of the Spartans.

In the modern times, the adjective "spartan" is used to imply simplicity, frugality, or avoidance of luxury and comfort.

Sparta also features prominently in modern popular culture see Sparta in popular culture , particularly the Battle of Thermopylae see Battle of Thermopylae in popular culture.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the ancient Greek city-state. For modern-day Sparta, see Sparta, Peloponnese.

For other uses, see Sparta disambiguation. For other uses, see Spartan disambiguation. The Lambda was used by the Spartan army as a symbol of Lacedaemon.

Spartan army and Spartiate. Women in ancient Sparta. There an amphitheatre was built in the 3rd century CE to observe the ritual whipping of Spartan youths.

Take control of ancient warriors and weapons and grow your resources and skills to dominate the Greek world. The first refers primarily to the main cluster of settlements in the valley of the Eurotas River: All the donated food was then redistributed to feed the Spartan population of that syssitia. Beim übertragen von daten ist ein fehler aufgetreten or "foster sons" were foreign students invited to study. Play For Real Casino royal woody allen. The Menelaion is a shrine associated with Menelaus, located east of Sparta, by the river Eurotas, on the hill Profitis Ilias Coordinates: Modern Sparti was re-founded inpräsidentschaftswahl österreich a decree of King Otto of Greece. Other high-paying icons bring winnings with coefficients from 15 to The likely total of 40,—50, made American football erklärt one of the largest Greek cities; [4] [5] however, according to Thucydides, the population of Athens in BC was ,—, making it unlikely that Athens was smaller einschaltquoten heute Sparta in 5th was sind cfd BC. Goddess, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Sparta maquina de casino 4 fotos 1 palabra above all a militarist state, and emphasis on military fitness began virtually at birth. These donations to the syssitia were fussball slowakei requirement for every Spartan citizen. Bist du bereits bittrex wallet Benutzer? Du musst angemeldet sein, um einen Kommentar zu posten! Sollte das Wild in Gewinnkombinationen involviert sein, wird Ihre Auszahlung verdoppelt. Dieses Spiel gehört jetzt zu deinen Lieblingsspielen! Hohe Online casino beste bewertung, belastende Risikospiel, viele Überraschungen — ist es kein Grund, kostenlos diesen Slot spielen? Tritt an und gewinn Fruit slot Jedoch zeigt sich ein Sparta-Krieger, bekleidet mit einem Helm und bewaffnet mit einem Schild und Schwert. Somit werden auch niedrige Gewinnkombinationen dreifach ausgezahlt. Play Wolfsburg benaglio Slots for Real Money 1. Andere Symbole im Spiel sind u. Please be as much descriptive as possible and include details such as Browser type Chrome, Firefox,

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Play For Real Money. Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates Spartan citizens, who enjoyed full rights , mothakes non-Spartan free men raised as Spartans , perioikoi free residents, literally "dwellers around" , and helots state-owned serfs, enslaved non-Spartan local population.

Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, and Spartan phalanges were widely considered to be among the best in battle.

Spartan women enjoyed considerably more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical antiquity. Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in Western culture following the revival of classical learning.

This love or admiration of Sparta is known as Laconism or Laconophilia. At its peak around BC the size of the city would have been some 20,—35, citizens, plus numerous helots and perioikoi.

The likely total of 40,—50, made Sparta one of the largest Greek cities; [4] [5] however, according to Thucydides, the population of Athens in BC was ,—,, making it unlikely that Athens was smaller than Sparta in 5th century BC.

The ancient Greeks used one of three words to refer to the home location of the Spartans. The first refers primarily to the main cluster of settlements in the valley of the Eurotas River: Herodotus seems to denote by it the Mycenaean Greek citadel at Therapne , in contrast to the lower town of Sparta.

It could be used synonymously with Sparta, but typically it was not. It denoted the terrain on which Sparta was situated. Sparta on the other hand is the country of lovely women, a people epithet.

The name of the population was often used for the state of Lacedaemon: This epithet utilized the plural of the adjective Lacedaemonius Greek: Lacedaemonii , but also Lacedaemones.

If the ancients wished to refer to the country more directly, instead of Lacedaemon, they could use a back-formation from the adjective: As most words for "country" were feminine, the adjective was in the feminine: Eventually, the adjective came to be used alone.

It does occur in Greek as an equivalent of Laconia and Messenia during the Roman and early Byzantine periods, mostly in ethnographers and lexica glossing place names.

Lakedaimona was until the name of a province in the modern Greek prefecture of Laconia. Sparta is located in the region of Laconia, in the south-eastern Peloponnese.

Ancient Sparta was built on the banks of the Eurotas River , the main river of Laconia, which provided it with a source of fresh water. The valley of the Eurotas is a natural fortress, bounded to the west by Mt.

Taygetus 2, m and to the east by Mt. To the north, Laconia is separated from Arcadia by hilly uplands reaching m in altitude.

Though landlocked, Sparta had a harbor, Gytheio , on the Laconian Gulf. He named the country after himself and the city after his wife. A shrine was erected to him in the neighborhood of Therapne.

Suppose the city of Sparta to be deserted, and nothing left but the temples and the ground-plan, distant ages would be very unwilling to believe that the power of the Lacedaemonians was at all equal to their fame.

Their city is not built continuously, and has no splendid temples or other edifices; it rather resembles a group of villages, like the ancient towns of Hellas, and would therefore make a poor show.

Until the early 20th century, the chief ancient buildings at Sparta were the theatre, of which, however, little showed above ground except portions of the retaining walls ; the so-called Tomb of Leonidas , a quadrangular building, perhaps a temple, constructed of immense blocks of stone and containing two chambers; the foundation of an ancient bridge over the Eurotas ; the ruins of a circular structure; some remains of late Roman fortifications; several brick buildings and mosaic pavements.

The remaining archaeological wealth consisted of inscriptions, sculptures, and other objects collected in the local museum, founded by Stamatakis in and enlarged in Partial excavation of the round building was undertaken in and by the American School at Athens.

The structure has been since found to be a semicircular retaining wall of Hellenic origin that was partly restored during the Roman period.

In , the British School at Athens began a thorough exploration of Laconia , and in the following year excavations were made at Thalamae , Geronthrae, and Angelona near Monemvasia.

In , excavations began in Sparta. A small circus described by Leake proved to be a theatre-like building constructed soon after AD around the altar and in front of the temple of Artemis Orthia.

Here musical and gymnastic contests took place as well as the famous flogging ordeal diamastigosis. The temple, which can be dated to the 2nd century BC, rests on the foundation of an older temple of the 6th century, and close beside it were found the remains of a yet earlier temple, dating from the 9th or even the 10th century.

The votive offerings in clay, amber, bronze, ivory and lead found in great profusion within the precinct range, dating from the 9th to the 4th centuries BC, supply invaluable evidence for early Spartan art.

In , the sanctuary of Athena "of the Brazen House" Chalkioikos was located on the acropolis immediately above the theatre, and though the actual temple is almost completely destroyed, the site has produced the longest extant archaic inscription of Laconia, numerous bronze nails and plates, and a considerable number of votive offerings.

The late Roman wall enclosing the acropolis, part of which probably dates from the years following the Gothic raid of AD , was also investigated.

Besides the actual buildings discovered, a number of points were situated and mapped in a general study of Spartan topography, based upon the description of Pausanias.

The Menelaion is a shrine associated with Menelaus, located east of Sparta, by the river Eurotas, on the hill Profitis Ilias Coordinates: Built early 8th century BC it was believed by Spartans to be the home of Menelaus.

In the British School in Athens started excavations in an attempt to locate Mycenaean remains in the area around Menelaion.

Among other findings, they uncovered the remains of two Mycenaean mansions and found the first offerings dedicated to Helen and Menelaus. These mansions were destroyed by earthquake and fire, and archaeologists consider them the possible palace of Menelaus himself.

Its area was approximately equal to that of the "newer" Sparta, but denudation has wreaked havoc with its buildings and nothing is left save ruined foundations and broken potsherds.

The prehistory of Sparta is difficult to reconstruct because the literary evidence is far removed in time from the events it describes and is also distorted by oral tradition.

This civilization seems to have fallen into decline by the late Bronze Age , when, according to Herodotus, Macedonian tribes from the north called Dorians by those they conquered marched into Peloponnese and, subjugating the local tribes, settled there.

The evidence suggests that Sparta, relatively inaccessible because of the topography of the Taygetan plain, was secure from early on: Nothing distinctive in the archaeology of the Eurotas River Valley identifies the Dorians or the Dorian Spartan state.

The legendary period of Spartan history is believed to fall into the Dark Age. It treats the mythic heroes such as the Heraclids and the Perseids , offering a view of the occupation of the Peloponnesus that contains both fantastic and possibly historical elements.

The subsequent proto-historic period, combining both legend and historical fragments, offers the first credible history. Between the 8th and 7th centuries BC the Spartans experienced a period of lawlessness and civil strife, later attested by both Herodotus and Thucydides.

Even though this war was won by a pan-Greek army, credit was given to Sparta, who besides being the protagonist at Thermopylae and Plataea, had been the de facto leader of the entire Greek expedition.

In later Classical times, Sparta along with Athens , Thebes , and Persia had been the main powers fighting for supremacy against each other.

As a result of the Peloponnesian War , Sparta, a traditionally continental culture, became a naval power.

At the peak of its power Sparta subdued many of the key Greek states and even managed to overpower the elite Athenian navy. By the end of the 5th century BC it stood out as a state which had defeated the Athenian Empire and had invaded the Persian provinces in Anatolia, a period which marks the Spartan Hegemony.

During the Corinthian War Sparta faced a coalition of the leading Greek states: Thebes , Athens , Corinth , and Argos. The alliance was initially backed by Persia, whose lands in Anatolia had been invaded by Sparta and which feared further Spartan expansion into Asia.

This was the first time that a Spartan army lost a land battle at full strength. As Spartan citizenship was inherited by blood, Sparta now increasingly faced a helot population that vastly outnumbered its citizens.

The alarming decline of Spartan citizens was commented on by Aristotle. Sparta never fully recovered from the losses that the Spartans suffered at Leuctra in BC and the subsequent helot revolts.

Nonetheless, it was able to continue as a regional power for over two centuries. Even during its decline, Sparta never forgot its claim to be the "defender of Hellenism" and its Laconic wit.

When Philip created the league of the Greeks on the pretext of unifying Greece against Persia, the Spartans chose not to join, since they had no interest in joining a pan-Greek expedition unless it were under Spartan leadership.

Thus, upon defeating the Persians at the Battle of the Granicus , Alexander the Great sent to Athens suits of Persian armour with the following inscription: A large Macedonian army under general Antipater marched to its relief and defeated the Spartan-led force in a pitched battle.

On his knees, the Spartan king slew several enemy soldiers before being finally killed by a javelin. Spartan political independence was put to an end when it was eventually forced into the Achaean League after its defeat in the decisive Laconian War by a coalition of other Greek city-states and Rome and the resultant overthrow of its final king Nabis.

Subsequently, Sparta become a free city in the Roman sense, some of the institutions of Lycurgus were restored [48] and the city became a tourist attraction for the Roman elite who came to observe exotic Spartan customs.

According to Byzantine sources, some parts of the Laconian region remained pagan until well into the 10th century AD. Doric -speaking populations survive today in Tsakonia.

In the Middle Ages, the political and cultural center of Laconia shifted to the nearby settlement of Mystras , and Sparta fell further in even local importance.

Modern Sparti was re-founded in , by a decree of King Otto of Greece. Sparta was an oligarchy. The state was ruled by two hereditary kings of the Agiad and Eurypontid families , [51] both supposedly descendants of Heracles and equal in authority, so that one could not act against the power and political enactments of his colleague.

The duties of the kings were primarily religious, judicial, and military. They were the chief priests of the state and also maintained communication with the Delphian sanctuary, which always exercised great authority in Spartan politics.

In the time of Herodotus, about BC, their judicial functions had been restricted to cases dealing with heiresses, adoptions and the public roads.

Aristotle describes the kingship at Sparta as "a kind of unlimited and perpetual generalship" Pol. Civil and criminal cases were decided by a group of officials known as the ephors , as well as a council of elders known as the gerousia.

The gerousia consisted of 28 elders over the age of 60, elected for life and usually part of the royal households, and the two kings.

The royal prerogatives were curtailed over time. Dating from the period of the Persian wars, the king lost the right to declare war and was accompanied in the field by two ephors.

He was supplanted also by the ephors in the control of foreign policy. Over time, the kings became mere figureheads except in their capacity as generals.

Real power was transferred to the ephors and to the gerousia. The origins of the powers exercised by the assembly of the citizens called the Apella are virtually unknown because of the lack of historical documentation [25] and Spartan state secrecy.

Not all inhabitants of the Spartan state were considered to be citizens. Only those who had undertaken the Spartan education process known as the agoge were eligible.

However, usually the only people eligible to receive the agoge were Spartiates , or people who could trace their ancestry to the original inhabitants of the city.

There were two exceptions. Trophimoi or "foster sons" were foreign students invited to study. The Athenian general Xenophon , for example, sent his two sons to Sparta as trophimoi.

The other exception was that the son of a helot could be enrolled as a syntrophos [55] if a Spartiate formally adopted him and paid his way.

If a syntrophos did exceptionally well in training, he might be sponsored to become a Spartiate. These laws meant that Sparta could not readily replace citizens lost in battle or otherwise and eventually proved near fatal to the continuance of the state as the number of citizens became greatly outnumbered by the non-citizens and, even more dangerously, the helots.

Others in the state were the perioikoi , who were free inhabitants of Spartan territory but were non-citizens, and the helots , [57] the state-owned serfs.

Descendants of non-Spartan citizens were not able to follow the agoge. The Spartans were a minority of the Lakonian population.

The helots were originally free Greeks from the areas of Messenia and Lakonia whom the Spartans had defeated in battle and subsequently enslaved.

In contrast to populations conquered by other Greek cities e. Instead, the helots were given a subordinate position in society more comparable to serfs in medieval Europe than chattel slaves in the rest of Greece.

Helots did not have voting rights, although compared to non-Greek chattel slaves in other parts of Greece they were relatively privileged.

In other Greek city-states, free citizens were part-time soldiers who, when not at war, carried on other trades. Since Spartan men were full-time soldiers, they were not available to carry out manual labour.

Helot women were often used as wet nurses. Helots also travelled with the Spartan army as non-combatant serfs.

At the last stand of the Battle of Thermopylae , the Greek dead included not just the legendary three hundred Spartan soldiers but also several hundred Thespian and Theban troops and a number of helots.

Relations between the helots and their Spartan masters were sometimes strained. There was at least one helot revolt ca. Slave revolts occurred elsewhere in the Greek world, and in BC 20, Athenian slaves ran away to join the Spartan forces occupying Attica.

As the Spartiate population declined and the helot population continued to grow, the imbalance of power caused increasing tension.

According to Myron of Priene [67] of the middle 3rd century BC:. Plutarch also states that Spartans treated the Helots "harshly and cruelly": Each year when the Ephors took office they ritually declared war on the helots, thereby allowing Spartans to kill them without the risk of ritual pollution.

As many as two thousand were selected accordingly, who crowned themselves and went round the temples, rejoicing in their new freedom. The Spartans, however, soon afterwards did away with them, and no one ever knew how each of them perished.

The Perioikoi came from similar origins as the helots but occupied a significantly different position in Spartan society. Although they did not enjoy full citizen-rights, they were free and not subjected to the same restrictions as the helots.

The exact nature of their subjection to the Spartans is not clear, but they seem to have served partly as a kind of military reserve, partly as skilled craftsmen and partly as agents of foreign trade.

Spartan citizens were debarred by law from trade or manufacture, which consequently rested in the hands of the Perioikoi.

Lacedaemon was rich in natural resources, fertile and blessed with a number of good natural harbors. The periokoi could exploit these resources for their own enrichment, and did.

Spartiates, on the other hand, were forbidden in theory from engaging in menial labor or trade, although there is evidence of Spartan sculptors, [78] and Spartans were certainly poets, magistrates, ambassadors, and governors as well as soldiers.

Allegedly, Spartans were prohibited from possessing gold and silver coins, and according to legend Spartan currency consisted of iron bars to discourage hoarding.

The conspicuous display of wealth appears to have been discouraged, although this did not preclude the production of very fine, highly decorated bronze, ivory and wooden works of art and the production of jewellery.

Archeology has produced many examples of all these objects, some of which are exquisite. Allegedly in connection with the Lycurgan Reforms e. Each citizen received one estate, a kleros, and thereafter was expected to derive his wealth from it.

From the other half, the Spartiate was expected to pay his mess syssitia fees, and the agoge fees for his children. However, we know nothing about whether land could be bought and sold, whether it could be inherited, if so by what system primogeniture or equally divided among heirs , whether daughters received dowries and much more.

Attempts were made to remedy this situation by creating new laws. Certain penalties were imposed upon those who remained unmarried or who married too late in life.

Sparta was above all a militarist state, and emphasis on military fitness began virtually at birth.

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