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The History of ancient Sparta

The History of ancient Sparta

Sparta was a warrior society in ancient Greece that reached the height of its power after defeating rival city-state Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431-404

Features of geographical location

Considering the successful political, economic and social situation of Sparta with its flag and language, one cannot ignore its advantageous location on the modern world map. It was located in the southern part of the Peloponnesian Peninsula, namely in the region of Laconia (Greece).The state was washed by the Ionian and Aegean Seas, which opened easy ways for the Spartans to make military campaigns and ferry the extracted riches to their homeland. In its heyday , the territory of the mighty state covered about 8,000 square kilometers . She was considered invincible and powerful in those days, retaining such a title for several centuries. Surprisingly, the coasts were not fortified with defensive walls, so the Spartans were confident in their invulnerability.

Founding of the country

The name of the city came from the famous mythological character Lacedaemon, or rather, in honor of his wife Sparta. In his ancient documents, the philosopher Plutarch gave brief information that this warrior once reigned in Laconia for a long period, but little is known about his outstanding military and political successes. It is believed that the parents of Lacedaemon were the pleiades of Tiageda and Zeus.The history of Sparta begins at the end of the XI century BC, at that time the Achaeans lived on its lands, displacing the indigenous Lelegs. Military battles were constantly fought for the cities of Messenia, Arcadia, Argos, Athens. The Spartans, having won, showed kindness and saved the lives of the losing locals. They made them slaves, giving the name "helots", which means "prisoners" in translation.The legal system of the empire is associated with the name of the public figure Lycurgus. His life is little described, but the laws he issued in ancient times are still being negotiated today. They were the basis of the legal Spartan institute. The laws were retras — these are legal short sayings that were studied by heart and passed from mouth to mouth. In total, 1 large retra and 3 small ones are known.One of the last mentioned the prohibition of the creation of written laws. In this way, the ruling aristocracy moved away from the framework restrictions of the prescribed text. Lycurgus' retreats controlled the entire life of the Spartans. The restrictions were that the soldiers were forbidden to use the monetary unit. Any material transaction involved an exchange.

It was unacceptable to carry out commercial operations related to land plots. In order for the Spartans not to go astray, the retreats forbade them to use luxury items, jewelry, and to manufacture such things.

Family life

The history of ancient Sparta says that personal relationships were also controlled by the laws of Lycurgus. According to custom, at the age of 16, a man had the right to marry, but he did not live with his family permanently. His main purpose was to carry out military service. The children being born did not belong to their parents. At the age of 7, they were removed from the family and brought up in special barracks. The education of fighting spirit was literally off the scale:

-poor nutrition;

-issuance of one chiton throughout the year;

-after graduation, passing the endurance exam.

It is worth noting that a kind of check was a spanking, in which shouting was allowed, but it was impossible to ask for mercy.

Asceticism as a principle of life

The way of life of the state was subject to strict control and observance of order in everything. There are still legends about his asceticism. The girls were brought up in an atmosphere where they were trained as wives and future mothers for fighters. The Spartans, during the battles, always used only dark red tunics, which hid blood loss when wounded. Between the help from the hands of a medic and death on the battlefield, the choice of a warrior remained with the latter.

Severe upbringing was traced in restraint, endurance and inexhaustible strength of spirit. It is known that only strong babies were selected at birth. Weak children were thrown off a cliff, it was believed that they had no place in society. However, this legend has contradictory reviews from scientists.

State structure

The history of Sparta indicates that the creation of the managerial ladder also belongs to Lycurgus. Many historians call the warriors illiterate. Despite this, the state form of their state was much more advanced in comparison with others. There were 2 kings at the head, they were representatives of individual dynasties, to whom the subjects showed respect. The lords jointly controlled the active army, but only one monarch, the archegate, went to battle. The duty of the second of them — the basileus - was:

-managing the peaceful life of the city;

-provision of sufficient provisions for the entire rear;

-preparation of weapons stocks in case of need of reinforcement of the army.

The rulers were members of the assembly of elders — Gerusia, at which issues of national importance were discussed jointly. The kings representing the warring families, over time, against the background of constant quarrels, lost the trust of their subjects. Their duties were transformed into a representative monarchy, while the ephors had the real power. Nevertheless, the Spartan kings always remained in high esteem and received certain incomes from the population in the form of:

-charity money;

-sacrificial food;

-land taxes.

Gerusia and people's assemblies

The governance of the state was special. The Gerusia consisted of 28 men over the age of 60. Their duties included discussing state problems. In some periods, the elders were given the right to veto the decrees of the king and used it.

Gradually, such a legislative body lost its power to influence the political system, having become closely involved in judicial practice. The Council was engaged in determining criminal cases, held discussions on punishment for the guilty, passed sentences. Traitors to the motherland were punished with special cruelty.The appeals also had their power, the so-called people's assemblies. They consisted of men over the age of 30 who came from aristocratic families. A characteristic feature was that ephors were elected at such meetings, in the absence of the heir to the throne, the question of which of the kings would remain in place and which would go to battle was decided. Here, final decisions were made regarding traitors who were deprived of citizenship.

The Power of the Ephors

These representatives of the government in the number of 5 people were elected for 8 years. In order for the ephors to be glorified for centuries, the Apelles called calendar years by their names. The rulers had control over all representatives of the authorities and controlled any kind of activity.

When a military battle was brewing, the ephors accompanied the king, who could profit from military affairs or show cowardice during the battle. Quite often, real dictators came out of such managers, feeling impunity for their actions due to the lack of written laws. Ephors were given the right to expel the king, which they used not to carry out his orders.

The essence of the Ancient Greek Empire

The wars of Sparta are what she became famous for all over the world. Here, for the first time, a scheme for the tactical placement of soldiers was developed and put into practice, which often decided the outcome of the battle. Only when they were born, the Spartans were brought up for war. In adulthood, they went to battle with a wreath on their head. Having died, they were buried with dignity. The brave fighters were alien to feebleness of spirit, cowardice, indifference to the country.Deserters were persecuted, but their lives were spared so that they would suffer because of what they had done, namely because of the betrayal of the motherland. A distinctive feature of traitors were special hairstyles, headbands, and no one even talked to such people. As for the children of deserters, they were automatically equated with the traitors of Sparta, they had no right to start families. Surprisingly, ordinary people who showed interest in art or books were considered cowards, outcasts. Probably, for this reason, not a single philosopher or artist came out of the famous ancient Greek state.

Spartan peasants

Helots - so it is customary to call the local population, captured by the conquerors even during the formation of the state. The Spartans were constantly fond of military campaigns, battles. The main occupation of the peasants was to work on the sovereign lands, they raised and harvested crops. However, they gave only part of the fees to the state, which was strictly fixed. Exact information about the amount of the so-called tax has not been preserved. The Helots were left with a part of the fees, which did not allow them to die of hunger.The peasants were managed by the owner, as for the rights and duties of such people, they were regulated at the state level. The pilot differed from the slave in that he was allowed to start a family, he could save money for his needs. The property could have a house that was inherited. As for criminal law, farmers were not treated with ceremony in this area. He could be flogged, executed, for the slightest oversight, amputation of a body part followed. The Spartans treated the ploughmen as internal enemies, so they controlled their numbers, which never exceeded half a million.

Attitude to culture

In ancient Sparta, the development of one or another sphere of activity was scarce. People who for some reason were not able to practice martial arts were ridiculed. The passion for writing, art, and philosophy was despised.The Spartans were illiterate, although in military schools, future soldiers were taught writing with reading. But they often missed lessons because of honing skills for future campaigns and strengthening physical strength. The main cultural element consisted in patriotic songs. However, not everyone performed them. In each phrase of the song, the support of a person going into battle was traced.An important cultural attribute is religion. In Sparta there was a belief in the ancient Greek gods. Every campaign, every battle was accompanied by a special cult. Sacrifices were given to the gods, it was believed that this way they would protect the fighters in battles. Whatever the outcome of the fight, the praise of the gods was necessarily sung.

The state and traditions of Ancient Sparta have passed a difficult path, drenched in blood. But thanks to this, the world saw a unique achievement of humanity — fearless and strong-minded warriors who died with honor for their homeland.


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