Describe the Main Features of Spartan Cultural Life

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The cultural life is Sparta is composed of many elements including architecture, art and writing and literature (mainly the works of Alcman and Tyrtaeus). The study of these elements allows for insight into the cultural life of Sparta. The views of different Greek writers such as Herodotus, Xenophon and Aristotle also reveal different aspects of Spartan culture. Through the study of architecture it can be seen that Sparta was a very religious society. Structures such as the Amyklaion, the Menelaion and the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia reveal which of the gods were most highly honoured by the Spartans as well as the fact that Spartans also held certain mortals in high esteem. For example the Amyklaion is a shrine dedicated to Apollo and Hykinthos however through the study conducted on the Amyklaion it can be seen that Apollo was one of the most important gods of the Spartans. This has been determined by the fact that a throne to Apollo as well as a large bronze statue of Apollo was found at the sight. The Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, which is located along the bank of the Eurotas River, is another example that demonstrates the religious views of Sparta. Artemis was one of the main goddesses of Sparta especially because she is the goddess of fertility and the Spartans valued the need to produce healthy offspring. The Menelaion, located on the hill Protitis Ilias, is another major example of Spartan architecture that conveys information on Spartan culture. Unlike the Amyklaion and the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, the Menelaion is a shrine dedicated to Menelaos and Hellen, two mortals who were held in high esteem by the Spartans. This structure shows that the Spartans not only honoured the gods and goddesses but also great mortals who were deemed worthy of the Spartans praise. Spartan art also reveals different characteristics of Spartan culture. Spartan art includes painted vases and sculpture. Painted vases have been grouped into different periods with the main ones...
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