Assess the Significance of Social Structure Groups in Spartan Society

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Assess the significance of social structure groups in Spartan society.

The social structure groups: Spartiates, Perioikoi and Helots were of equal significance in their respective extent in the Spartan society as they all had contributed fundamental elements, that were shaped by the Lycurgan reforms, which contributed to create an idealistic society of superiority, an incredible reputation of triumph and possessing such great dominance that enabled Sparta to be victorious and a very effective society for many centuries, though the cause of the downfall ironically was the Lycurgan reforms that could not adapt to change nor time. This is seen where the Spartiates significantly provided the Spartan society with a strong military defence force, the Perioikoi and the Helots, also of great significance, provided society with the economic and agricultural foundation that is required for a society to function productively. However the Inferiors were insignificant in Spartan society, in comparison to the Spartiates, Perioikoi and the Helots, as they were seen to be outcasts of society that had no contribution to society.

The Spartiates was a very significant social structure group, to the same extent as the Perioikoi and the Helots, in Spartan society as they maintained the Spartan defence and security through the agoge. The agoge was an effective military system in the Spartan society, which was only available to those who were of Spartiate status, whose purpose was to create fearless and loyal Spartan warriors developing a victorious army that was highly significant in Spartan society implementing a powerful defence force. The agoge required that, as stated by Plutarch “... as boys reached the age of seven [they were to live with agelai in military barracks] ... their whole education was aimed at developing smart obedience, perseverance under stress, and victory in battle. So as they grew older they intensified their physical training, and got into the habit of cropping their hair, going barefoot and exercising naked ... “This shows that the agoge was a crucial factor in this particular social structure group in Sparta as this was compulsory for all Spartiate boys that were deemed robust and as it developed the boys to be fierce warriors who were a part of a dynamic army it created a sound defence that denied any foreign penetration into their conformed society. The agoge was very effective in achieving patriotism, loyalty, obedience and comradeship significantly increasing the Spartiates contribution to Sparta as they were able to solely concentrate on their role to serve their state with the best of their ability further enhancing the strength of their highly effective army. This exert from a poem by Tyrtaeus – “Let us fight with courage for our country, and for our children/Let us die and never spare our lives. /Young men, remain beside each other and fight, /And do not begin shameful flight or fear, /But make your spirit great and brave in your heart, /And do not be faint-hearted when you fight with men …” strongly emphasises the pride and allegiance the Spartiates as well as Tyrtaeus himself, firmly believed in and it is these beliefs that had been coloured by the agoge system which had been significant to a large extent in Spartan society as it created patriotism, eliminating any factors of renegade or treason, stabilising the society.

The Spartiates was a very significant social structure group in Spartan society, along with the other significant social structure group, also because of the powerful army they had developed through the agoge which further stabilised the Spartan defence and their triumphs. Herodotus recounts of the determined Spartiates, “So it is with the Spartans; fighting singly, they are as good as any, but fighting together they are the best soldiers in the world ...never to retreat in battle, however great the odds, but always to stand firm, and to conquer or die.” evident of the reputation...
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