Greek Influence On Sparta

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Sparta, the societal anomaly of ancient Greece evolved in the agriculturally fertile southern Peloponnese territory of Laconia. Originally a small group of village settlements, Sparta is the result of occupation through conquest during the tenth century B.C. The Dorians, a group of northern tribesmen and very fierce invaders were able to overpower the indigenous settlers thus founding the original settlements of Sparta. Sparta is the primary Polis of Laconia and, along with Athens itself the largest Polis and capitol of Greece were the two preeminent Greek powers each exerting great political and military influence between 550 and 350 B.C. As per the dominating Greek reverence and sovereignty toward the idea of the Poleis Athens and Sparta…show more content…
Plutarch refers to this system as one of “Lycurgus’ numerous innovations” in The Spartan Constitution. Each king ensuring the other would not become too powerful and each would oversee separate campaigns during battle. The Gerousia was the next level of government comprised of the two kings and an elected group of twenty-eight citizens of noble descent above the age of sixty serving for life. The next level of government was the ekklesia, an early from of democracy afforded to the adult males of Sparta, was the assembly of male citizens of at least thirty years of age. While the assembly was responsible for policy decisions only the Gerousia had the authority to set the agenda for the assembly. In addition to the Kings, Gerousia and Assembly were the ephorate, the panel of five magistrates handling the administrative aspects of Sparta. Three social classes were also created. Helots remained at the bottom of the ladder and were identified by wearing “distinctive garments.” The Periokoi were the next up from the bottom, and were considered free Greeks supervised by Spartans and were expected to serve militarily if needed. Male Spartans, the full citizens known as homoioi while a demographically small group comprised the ruling…show more content…
The aristocrats of early Sparta enjoyed the initial influx of wealth and culture that resulted from the acquisition of Messenia and the enslavement of the helots. However, the reliance on the helots to carry the agricultural burden combined with the relatively small population of full-citizen male Spartans held the potential for helot revolt. Lycurgus, in “a single stroke” implemented reforms for the state and “set forth a new way of life” for Sparta. Lycurgus’ reforms did away with mechanisms for acquisition of wealth and greed, implemented worthless and cumbersome currency based on Iron. The Polis was governed by a kingship, a council of elders and a somewhat democratic assembly in which every citizen of Sparta had a specific duty, from birth, throughout based on obedience, which was to be devoted entirely to the collective Polis. This unique system set Sparta apart from the rest of Ancient Greece. It has been remarked that many admired the militaristic and highly regimented Spartan system. Aristotle, Plutarch and Xenophon seem to idolize Sparta in their writings fostering the “Spartan mirage.” However, as noted in class, while many admired the Spartan system there were not many other Polis’ willing to implement similar Lycurgian
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