Dorians Invaders Descendants of Heracles moved into the Erotas valley and were ancestors of the Spartiate, a small, ruling oligarchy Mountain and Coastal dwellers became ‘Perioeci’, ‘dwellers about’, who had no political role but were free Population of the valley were enslaved and became ‘Helots’, the Spartan serfs As the state developed, helots outnumbered Spartans 10 to 1.
Early Archaic Age development Along same lines as other poleis, state controlled by kings and ruling elite 725 BC Spartans mounted Taygetus Mts. To west and invaded Messenia, enslaved the inhabitants With aid from Argos, the Messenians revolted in 640 BC, almost destroying the Spartan state
Spartans developed their own system designed… To protect their power To keep their helots in check To keep their perioeci under control To deal with internal threats by maintaining a standing militia ever ready to attack internal enemies To deal with external difficulties when necessary PROVIDED it does not leave them open to revolution at home
Military State Military became the center of Spartan life At birth, Spartan children were assessed for physical weakness—the weak were exposed At 7 Spartan boys were taken from their homes and began a harsh and painful training period (cf. Xenophon) At 20 Spartan men became soldiers. They lived in the state barracks and ate in a public mess for the next 10 years. At 30, a Spartan man might be allowed to live with his wife, but he was still on call. Military service ended at 60 years of age.
Hierarchy 2 Kings – descended from Heracles 5 Ephors – Advisors to the King, elected annually, presided over the Gerousia, civil trials, taxation, the calendar, foreign policy, education, could arrest & imprison a king for misconduct in war, could imprison or execute any helot on their say-so alone Gerousia —Council of 30 (including 2 kings) 28 had to be over 60 years of age Assembly – All Spartiate males over 30
Raising a Spartan – ‘It takes a village…’ at 7, boys organized into ‘herds’, system called agoge All adults responsible for actions of all children Youngest in an agoge supervised by older boys At 12, a boy may be voted into a ‘mess’, if they are not so voted, they can’t be citizens A ‘mess’ is a group of 15 men of all ages who eat and fight together in wars throughout their lives Even after allowed to have own households at 30, men still ate main meals with their mess Even after leaving military at 60, they still ate with their mess and helped to train younger men and boys
Spartan Women Physical training and exercise Unusual freedom of movement and independence from a husband
Spartan ideal Discipline Self-denial Simplicity Indifference to pain or to fear Subservience to the state