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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Sparta, the Other Polis and The Persian Wars

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Adriana Brook

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CLA160H Lecture 3 JULY82011 Sparta: The Other Polis and The Persian Wars th Early 5 century BCE Athenocentrism and Elite Bias Athenocentrism: all sources from Athens point of view; focuses more on Athens Elite Bias: sources from aristocrats, who have the time for education (1) Xenophon Wrote the Constitution of the Spartans Athenian Exiled to Sparta Oligarchic leanings (2) Plutarch Wrote Life of Lycurgus, etc. Lives in Rome 1 century CE Writes biographies of important people tends to be rich aristocrats (example of elite bias) Because of Athenocentrism and biases, theres a lack of information regarding Sparta thats solely from Spartan point of view Theres no concrete evidence of art, statues, workshops, written and other archaeological sources from Sparta Most sources of information about Sparta, history and such, can be found from Athens and the elite class Sparta In the Peloponnese; situated in Laconia Also known as Lacedaemon Far away from the sea; landlocke d therefore, no navy Has a strong armyinfantry To deal with overpopulation that came after the Dark Ages, Sparta expanded to surrounding areas instead of colonizing overseas They took over neighbouring states that became serfs, and its people were known as helots These helots worked the land for the Spartan Laconia, subdued in the 8century BCE Due to the Spartans expansion, war started between Sparta and Messenia (the area they tried to expand to) The war was known as the First Messenian War (740s to 720s BCE) The result of the war was Messenians lost freedom and status downgraded to a helot status Helots outnumber the Spartans and presented a constant threat Resulted in the development of a military society Since helots were in control of the agriculture, Spartan citizens were free to focus on military training Spartas purpose is to produce a militarized society A second Messenian War (680 to 660 BCE) occurred as a result of helot revolt, in an attempt to regain their freedom back Lycurgus, the leader of the Spartans travelled to Delphi to ask what he could do to maintain order He returned to Sparta with a set of laws, Lycurgus Laws, that has rules for everything (i.e. length of ones beard, how to dress, etc.) For Spartans, military life begins at a young age.
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