ANCIENT HISTORY HSC NOTES- Spartan society to the Battle of Leuctra 371 BC The geographical setting:
The geographical setting, natural features and resources of ancient Sparta, significant sites -Spartans were part of the Greek tribe called the Dorian’s who ruled of the area of Laconia in the southern Peloponnese. It was located at the head of a small but fertile river plain (River Eurotas) which provided fresh water and marine life for them. -Sparta was surrounded by the mountain Taygetos which provided a source of stone (limestone and marble) and provided a defensive barrier for the Spartan state. Social Structure and Political Organisation:
Issue of Lycurgus (the Great Rhetra)
-The Spartan system (Social code, military & land system and political constitution) was the work of a single great lawgiver named Lycurgus. The Lycurgus reforms
Three basic classes in society:
The Spartiati (Spartans) formed the citizen body. It was divided into peers and inferiors.
To preserve the Spartans as the elite or superior class.
Numbered some 9,000 Spartiati. The perioikoi (dwellers around) formed townships of loyal Messenians and remnants of unimportant Dorian tribes. Were autonomous within their own communities though were subject to Spartan magistrates.
Most without land ownership so they turned to industry and trade/ commerce, especially in woollen goods and iron work; they had a monopoly of trade; they generally were well off despite taxes to Spartiati.
Inferior in status to the Spartiati but had considerable freedom within their own social sphere. The helots, the "slave" under-class, were owned by the state and allotted to Spartans to work the assignment of land given to them at birth. Helots seem to have been Messenians who had been conquered by the Spartans.
Helots provided the Spartans with a workforce which would free them for public service.
The helots were always a threat to Sparta as they were oppressed, dissatisfied and were often the focus of mistrust and fear on the part of their Spartan masters. These classes were fixed and immobile.
These rules caused dissatisfaction, especially among the helots. Marriage between Spartiati was encouraged to maintain the population. Bachelorhood was discouraged by the state (even ridiculed in some circumstances). Intermarriage was forbidden
To maintain a declining population.
To preserve the pure Spartiati body of elite.
Even in spite of the many provisions to encourage population growth, wars and insignificant population growth played a important part in the demise of Sparta as a great power.
Roles and privileges of the two kings
-Kings were the supreme commanders of the army, only one of them was selected to lead a campaign while the other remained in Sparta this was due to the argument between 2 kings who went to war (Cleomeres & Demaratus) -The king came from the 2 ancient tribes of Agiads and Eurypontids -Two Ephors accompanied the king and kept close supervisions of his leadership during the war -Kings were regarded as intermediaries (middle men) between the gods and men, and held their office as long as the gods were pleased, every 9th year Ephors looked into the skies for signs of disproval from the gods -One the 1st and 7th days of every month each king sacrificed a full grown animal to Apollo, with a quart of wine and barely, also this was done before a campaign to Zeus -The kings had limited judicial duties, though they decided on marriage of orphaned heiresses and had all control on highways, adoption of children and they could keep check on the other king -Monthly oaths were taken by the kings and Ephors and they were supported by the state - Kings were give the skins of all sacrificed animals as the spoils of war and given the seats of honour where all would rise (with the exception of the Ephors- stated by Xenophon) -The King was succeeded by his eldest son, but a son born before the father was king wouldn’t become king, the son...
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