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 BC). Spartan culture focused on loyalty to the state and military service. Spartan children entered a rigorous state-sponsored program of education, military training, and socialization. Known as Agoge, the system emphasized duty, discipline, and endurance. Although Spartan women were not active in the military, they were educated and enjoyed more status and freedom than other Greek women.
Sparta, also known as Lacedaemon, was an ancient Greek city-state located primarily in a region of southern Greece called Laconia. The population of Sparta consisted of three main groups: the Spartans, or Spartians, who were full citizens; the helots, or serfs/slaves; and the periecos, who were neither slaves nor citizens. The Perioeci, whose name means “inhabitants of the surrounding area”, worked as artisans and merchants, making weapons for the Spartans.
All able-bodied male Spartan citizens participated in the state-sponsored compulsory educational system, the Agoge, which emphasized obedience, stamina, courage, and self-control. Spartan men dedicated their lives to military service and lived in community well into adulthood. A Spartan was taught that loyalty to the state was above all else, including family.
The helots, whose name means “captives,” were fellow Greeks, originally from Laconia and Messenia, who had been conquered by the Spartans and turned into slaves. The Spartan way of life would not have been possible without the helots, who handled all the daily chores and unskilled labor necessary to keep society running: they were farmers, domestic servants, nurses, and military attendants.
The Spartans, who were outnumbered by the helots, often brutalized and oppressed them in an effort to prevent uprisings. The Spartans would humiliate the helots by doing things like forcing them to get debilitatingly drunk on wine and then making a fool of themselves in public. (This practice was also intended to demonstrate to the young how an adult Spartan should never act, as self-control was a prized trait.) The methods of mistreatment could be much more extreme: Spartans were allowed to kill helots for being too clever or too smart. appropriate, among other reasons.
the spartan army
Unlike Greek city-states like Athens, a center for the arts, learning, and philosophy, Sparta focused on a warrior culture. Male Spartan citizens were only allowed one occupation: soldier. Indoctrination into this lifestyle began early.
Spartan children began their military training at age 7, when they left home and entered the Agoge. The boys lived communally under austere conditions. They were subjected to continual physical competitions (which could involve violence), were given meager rations, and were expected to become skilled at stealing food, among other survival skills.
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The teenagers who demonstrated the greatest leadership potential were selected to participate in Crypteia, which acted as a secret police force whose primary goal was to terrorize the general helot population and assassinate troublemakers. At age 20, Spartan men became full-time soldiers, remaining on active duty until their 60s.
Spartan armor, shield and helmet
No soldier was considered superior to another. Going into battle, a Spartan soldier, or hoplite, wore a large bronze helmet, cuirass, and anklets, and carried a round bronze and wooden shield, a long spear, and a sword. Spartan warriors were also known for their long hair and red cloaks.
The discipline and constant military training of the Spartans made them proficient in the ancient Greek style of fighting in a phalanx formation. In the phalanx, the army worked as a unit in a deep, close formation, and carried out coordinated mass maneuvers.
Spartan women were reputed to be independently minded and enjoyed more freedoms and power than their counterparts in ancient Greece. While they played no role in the military, Spartan women often received a formal education, albeit separately from the children and not in boarding schools.
Partly to attract mates, females engaged in athletic competitions, including javelin throwing and wrestling, and also sang and danced competitively. As adults, Spartan women were allowed to own and manage property. In addition, they generally did not have household responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, and clothing, tasks that were performed by the helots.
Marriage was important to the Spartans, as the state pressured people to have male children who would grow up to become citizen-warriors and replace those who died in battle. Men who delayed marriage were publicly shamed, while those who fathered multiple children could be rewarded.
In preparation for marriage, Spartan women shaved their heads; They kept their hair short after they got married. Married couples generally lived apart, as men under the age of 30 had to continue to reside in communal quarters. In order to see their wives during this time, husbands had to sneak out at night.
decline of the spartans
In 371 B.C. C., Sparta suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of the Thebans at the Battle of Leuctra. In another coup, late the following year, the Theban general Epaminondas (c. 418 BC-362 BC) led an invasion of Spartan territory and oversaw the liberation of the Messenian helots, who had been enslaved by the Spartans. Spartans for several centuries.
The Spartans would continue to exist, albeit as a second-rate power in a long period of decline. In 1834, Otto (1815-1867), the King of Greece, ordered the founding of the present city of Sparta on the site of ancient Sparta.