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Spartan Society

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'Spartan society has been described as nothing more than an armed camp.' Since no source has been linked to this statement, I can only imagine it originated from Athens, who was at war with Sparta for almost 30 years. This essay will elaborate on the Spartan government and ultimately determine whether or not the Spartan society was nothing more than an armed camp. Aristotle describes the Sparta's system of government as monarchical, oligarchic and democratic. A monarchical government is when two kings, hereditary monarchs, one from each of the Agiad and Eurypontid families, had religious obligations and the power to declare war. In an Oligarchic government the kings were automatic members of the Gerousia, the council of 28 elders picked for life plus the two kings. Five ephors, chosen annually by popular election, had the main power. Finally a Democratic system was in place which was made up of all Spartiates (full Spartan citizens) ...read more.


A description of their lives as a serf (a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord) is that they worked in small plots of land on estates owned by a Spartan. Parts of their produce went to the master of the estate, and the remainder went to the helot (serf) farmer and his family. There is no question that the life of the helots was a miserable one, the labour was long and hard and the helots always lived right on the border of subsistence. 2 In the 6th Century BC, the Spartans began to set their military sights on neighbouring states. However, when they conquered their neighbour Tegea, not wanting to further increase an already great nu0mber of slaves, they negotiated with their defeated enemies rather than annexing their land and people. They demanded an alliance of sorts. ...read more.


The Spartan soldier spent his life with his fellow soldiers and lived in the barracks and ate all his meals with his fellow soldiers. A Spartan soldier would also marry, but would not live with his wife. Only at the age of thirty, did the Spartan become an "equal," and was allowed to live in his own house with his own family, although he continued to serve in the military. Military service ended at the age of sixty.5 Each Spartan soldier was granted a piece of land, which he almost certainly never saw and of course, was farmed by the helots.6 The Spartans are probably the most skilled warriors in Ancient History, and their tactics were brutal but extremely effective (the Phalanx formation, etc). Sources said they that had a lot of passion and will to fight that would make anyone tremble in a matter of seconds. It could also be said that the Spartans had the spirit of Heracles. 1 http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/governmen1/a/aa070699_govt.htm 2 http://wsu.edu/~dee/GREECE/SPARTA.HTM 3 http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A9565437 4 http://wsu.edu/~dee/GREECE/SPARTA.HTM 5 http://www.crystalinks.com/greekeducation.html 6 http://wsu.edu/~dee/GREECE/SPARTA.HTM ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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