How was Sparta governed?
The Spartan Government
Ancient Spartan government was a complex system of intertwined elements, which affected the power control. In many ways, ancient Sparta was a communist state, with the lack of luxuries, other Grecian states enjoyed and the strict control for equality but was complicated with the almost religious need for a democratic vote. Sparta had three levels of government; the Kings’, the Gerousia, the Ephors and the Ekklesia, each having their own requirements, limitations and powers.
The Spartan monarchy consisted of 2 kings which governed over Sparta. Unlike other Grecian kings, Spartan Kings had very little power and did not have an autocratic rule over day-to-day life. A Spartan kings’ duties were classified as religious, military, judicial roles. As the head figure of religion in Sparta, the kings were the priests of Zeus, Lacedaemonis and Zeus Uranius. The kings’ family would also worship these gods. As a monthly ritual, the kings were expected to make an animal sacrifice to the god Apollo, as to maintain the pleasure of the gods. This was similar to the sacrifice he would make prior to going to war. As a part of his religious role, the king would appoint two Pythioi who would travel back and forth to consult with the oracle (a possessed priestess whom was said to speak the words of the Gods) at Delphi. During a time of war, only one king would be sent with the battalions, and would be the supreme commander of the army. In the field of battle, the king would have ultimate power over his troops, including the life or death of his army. During the course of the war, the king would have a personal bodyguard of 100 men. Being a part of the royal bodyguard was considered to be one of the greatest honours. Amongst this body guard, 2 members of the Ephor’s would be in attendance, and keep an eye on his activities. They would record any failure or misconduct during a military campaign and could lead to the recall of the...
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