Sparta –

Sparta or Lacedaemon, located high up in the Eurotas river valley on the Peloponnese peninsula, specifically in the Lakonia region, becoming its capital. The soil of the region was characterized by being very mountainous with winding valleys separated by buttresses that reach the seashore. Two mountain ranges cross its territorythese oriented in parallel, Mount Taygetus and Parnon, Between the two runs the eurotas river and on its shores was built the Sparta city.

Sparta | History of the City State of Sparta

Sparta is a city in Greece, situated on the banks of the Eurotas River, in the southeast of the Peloponnese region. It was one of the most important city states of ancient Greece. Sparta arose in the middle of the 9th century BC.

During the mycenaean era, there were two urban centers south of the nascent Sparta Amylas and Terapne. In this last city they found sanctuaries dedicated to King Menelau and his wife Helena, characters from Homer’s Iliad. As was the case elsewhere in Greece, Laconia suffered a decline in population at the end of the Mycenaean era, in the 10th century BC, the region had fallen to the Dorians. In the ninth century BC, four villages in Laconia had united to found or establish Sparta, later in the 8th century BC. C., the city of Amiclas was included within Sparta.

the rise of population and land scarcitythey threw serious problems, the solution that Sparta adopted was a military Response, in contradiction of what other Greek polis had done, using the foundation of colonies.

Sparta chose to conquer neighboring territoriescoming to conquer the entire plain of Laconia at the end of the 8th century BC

In the struggle for dominance in the Peloponnese, Sparta had a rival in the city of Argos a city located northeast of Sparta, but this did not stop the Spartans, managing to conquer the neighboring messenian city, southwestern region of the Peloponnese. At this time the Peloponnese peninsula was divided between Sparta, Laconia, Elis and Arcadia. About the year 700 BC and, two hundred years later, it conquered its other neighbors by military or diplomatic means, forming the Peloponnesian League.

at the end of the century VI BC., the city of Sparta had become the most powerful state in the Peloponnese and exercised its hegemony over Argos, the next most important city. He also got other powerful allies, like Corinth and Elis, freeing Corinth from tyranny and helping Elis secure control of the Olympic Games. The same policy favored other incorporations, until practically the entire Peloponnese was part of the alliance.

In the year 570 BC, a Tattempt to conquer Arcadia, which at that time was a prefecture of Greece, in the Peloponnese region, I bear failureSparta having to modify its policy in the direction of diplomacy.

Most of the Peloponnesian states would join this league, with the exception of Argos. During the Persian wars, Sparta led the forces that had defended Greece by land, while Athens defended it by sea.

related to power, Athens was Sparta’s main rival and the one that would lead the city-states of Greece in the fight against the Persian invaders, in 480 BC

With the end of the medical wars, Relations between Sparta and Athens They had deteriorated too much culminating in the Peloponnesian War, years 431-404 BC, with the result of victory in favor of the Spartans.

The defeat of Athens meant that it was Sparta who ruled virtually all of ancient Greece, but in 371 BC, the other member states of the league, they revolteddefeating Sparta, although it still maintained a significant military force.

descriptively, Sparta is located in a region of land suitable for the cultivation of vines and olive trees. In ancient times it was a city of militaristic and oligarchic character, never developed a major urban area. The government of Sparta had as unot one of its main objectives to make its citizens model soldiers, physically well trained, courageous and obedient to laws and authorities.

In Sparta, men were mostly soldiers and were responsible for advancing military techniques, improving military performance. They organized an intense discipline never seen since then, as we will see later.

Sparta’s constitution According to tradition, it was written by the lawgiver named Lycurgus, who would have lived in the century 9th BC

In 1834, the then government of the Kingdom of Greece established the modern city of Sparta, occupying part of ancient Sparta, being the capital of the department of Laconia.

Sparta | Political organization

Both the political and educational systems are due to the mythical Lycurgus. Lycurgus was uncle and regent of King Leonidas I of Sparta. Called by the Pythia “god more than man”, receiving an oracle that allowed him to create the constitution of the city, the “Great Retra”inspired by Cretan laws. Possibly it was never written and must have been elaborated during the Messenian wars, that caused the crisis to the entire city, no matter the social status.

In order to guarantee their subsistence, the «eunomia» was instituted, it was a system by which everyone was equal before the law, in order to calm spirits, privileges and discontent. But “eunomia” was not only equality, but it also involved disciplineall members of the city were forced to make sacrifices, the crown, the aristocracy and the people.

The system sought to link the different political systems known in Greece, as they were the diarchy (where there are two kings), oligarchy (senate or council of elders), tyranny (with the governing council of the “ephors”) and democracy (the popular assembly).

Sparta | the government of sparta

According to Spartan legislation, the government was made up of the following bodies: the kings, the senate, the assembly and the ephors.

The Kings

at the head of state they were two hereditary kingsbelonging to two dynastic families who believed themselves to be descendants of Heracles (Hercules).

The kings enjoyed honors, but no power. One of them was the high priest and in times of peace his role was exclusively religious, offering sacrifices to the gods on behalf of the people. The other was the head of the army, in time of war, they directed military operations and gave the signal for combat. This dual system guaranteed good government, each king counterbalanced the power of the other.

The Senate

Also called Gerusia was made up of twenty-eight members, all of honorable families of Spartans, over sixty years of age old. Were elected by the assembly and for life.

The Senate had legislative functions (they created the laws). Over time, the Senate subtracted the powers of government from the kings who, in the end, kept only the military leadership.

The assembly

Formed by all citizens over thirty years of agea except for the periecos and the helots. The assembly He appointed the senators and ephors, they approved or rejected the laws presented by the Senate.

The Ephors

They were five magistrates elected by the Assemblywho had the mission of prevent any change in the political structure, protect the privileges of the ruling class against the kings, periecos and helots.

the ephors also They were to ensure the education of the youth and the maintenance of order. Finally, they called the assembly and forced kings and officials to account, His mandate lasted only one year, at the end of which accountable for their administration.

Sparta | Social organization

The invasion of the Dorians caused the separation of Spartan society into three great classesclearly differentiated for ethnic, political, economic and cultural reasons. These classes were: the Spartans or equals, the Periecos or Laconians and the Helots.

The Spartans or the same

They constituted the first social class. They were the descendants of the Dorians, the rulers of the first settlers. They formed a true aristocracy. Thanks to the reforms of Lycurgus, all were equal in rank and fortune.

They were the only ones who could choose and be chosen. They were not to perform any kind of work, except his constant preparation for war and certain political functions. This privileged minority dominated the city and accumulated all the rights.

The Periecos or Laconians

They formed the second social class, inferior to the Spartan, but with certain limited rights since they were free men and retained ownership of the land in exchange for an annual tribute, but could not participate in the government.

These were none other than the former owners of the land, peacefully subdued. They were engaged in artisanal, industrial, agricultural and commercial work or were free workers, but with the obligation to pay taxes. They had to perform military service in time of war.

the helots

They were owned by the nation, a kind of state servants made available to private individuals to work the land. I was them forbidden to leave the earth, but they couldn’t be fired either.

His lot was better than that of a slave, they could have a house and live with their family on the plot of land that was given to them to cultivate.

Only required to provide each year to the owner a certain amount of wheat, wine and oil. They were not mistreated since the State in peacetime i needed them for agriculture and in Wartime they should defend the Spartans.

Sparta | The Spartan Army

The military force in the city-state of Sparta was the spartan army, a military force that became one of the most important in the history of ancient Greece. They constituted the main pillar of the statethe main obligation of its citizens was to become magnificent soldiers.

The Military training was exercised from childhood, They were the soldierss disciplined, trained and feared of ancient Greece. Between the VI and IV centuries a. C, at the height of Sparta, it was fully accepted in Greece that a Spartan soldier was worth several men of any state.

The Army in the Mycenaean Era

We have to go back to the Iliad to find the first reference that has come down to us about the Spartans at war. Like the rest of the armies of the Mycenaean civilization, the Spartan army was composed mainly of infantrywhich was equipped with short spears, swords and the characteristic Greek shield or dyplon.

The stories that have come down to us from that time offer us a type of heroic warfare, based on tactics that sometimes amounted to little more than a general charge. Most of the casualties occurred when one of the two opposing armies fled in disarray, at which pointe the victorious army could pursue them to kill the soldiers as they retreated. in these “heroic wars” described by Homer in the Iliadthe…