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Lecture 8

CLA230 Lecture 8 Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Dimitri Nakassis

CLA230 Lecture 8 Notes Archaic Athens and Sparta - many issues facing Archaic communities - economic issues • land hunger/pressure • changes in distribution of wealth – Theognis - political issues • competition between aristocrats – spinning out of control – violence • representation of the people – demos Sparta - broad, rich, agricultural valley - defined by mountains on either side - not very close to the sea, river runs through this area - Therapne – cult of Helen and Menelaus - Amylees – cult of Apollo - Sparta – never truly urban – city that never fully urbanized – spans about five villages - four villages around central village that is current day Sparta - Mount Ethome – Mycenae is below – place where battles took place – Spartan invasions Land Pressure - at one point, Spartans conquer Messenia – expand to almost double size - enormous quantities of good agricultural land - conquer – one of the few poleis that expand th - quote by Tyrtaeus in mid-7 century B.C.: “… to our king, Theopomposdear to the gods, through whom we seized Messene with its wide spaces, Messene good for ploughing, good for planting. For its sake war was fought for 19 years unceasingly by men with enduring hearts, The spearmen fathers of our fathers; and in the 20thyear the others abandoned their fertile fields and fled from the great mountains of Ithome.” - length of time – 20 year war – not to be believed literally - difficult to know when this occurred – gradual acquisition of Messenia by Sparta - aftermath of conquest – only Spartan colony - quote by Aristotle: “In aristocracies revolutions are stirred up when a few only share in the honours of the state... [and] when the mass of the people are high‐spirited, and think that they are as good as their rulers. Thus at Lacedaemon the so‐called Partheniai, who were the [illegitimate] sons of the Spartiates, attempted a revolution, and, being detected, were sent away to colonize Taras [in 706 BC].” - one faction loses – sent to colonize Taras – founded in 706 B.C. - the Partheniai are somehow seen as illegitimate and cannot receive citizenship - as a result of conquest in Messenia, there is a redistribution of land – associated with Lycurgus - in Life of Lycurgus, by Plutarch: “Asecond, and a very bold political measure of Lycurgus, is his redistribution of the land. For there was a dreadful inequality in this regard, the city was heavily burdened with indigent and helpless people, and wealth was wholly concentrated in the hands of a few.” - redistribution of 9000 lots of land given to Spartiates - about 30,000 lots given to the perioikoi - quote: “All Laconia looks like a family estate newly divided among many brothers.” - above quote is describing similarities between the father dividing lots to the sons, and Sparta, like a father, dividing the lots won in war to all the Spartiates and perioikoi - lots for the Spartiates – did not actually have to farm the land themselves - basis of Sparta – redistribution of land – large lots of land which they do not farm – gives them time to train in battle - citizens of Sparta were called Spartiates • not allowed to sell lots • each is required to contribute to mess hall • if not able to contribute and feed family – cannot be a Spartiate - system requires thousands of wealthy land owners – fighters - later, Sparta runs into problems when the lots become smaller and smaller – less Spartiates because lots cannot provide enough for family and mess hall – number of fighters diminish Social Organizations in Sparta - two kings - full citizens – Spartiates - perioikoi – “dwellers around” • legally free, but not citizens • could not vote in Spartan assembly • required to provide military service • fight alongside Spartans as Hoplites - helots • serf population – legally slaves • in most poleis – slave as personal possession – helots not owned by individuals – state owned • work in the fields of the wealthy Spartiates • share-crop – keep small percentage of crop production • much paranoia that helots will revolt – around 5 century B.C. • famous story by Thucydides – Spartans worried about helot rebellion • helots can be legally freed • in actuality, the helots were often treated quite badly by the Spartiates • foundation of Sparta is radical inequality – Spartiates harassed helots - quote by Plato sums up the Spartan way of life perfectly: “The organization of your state is that of an army camp, not a town.” Spartan Constitution - double kingship – two families that trace heritage to Herakles and therefore to Zeus - religious authority, military leaders, and certain judicial powers – do not have unlimited authority - real power in Sparta was in the gerousia - gerousia – “the place for old men” – senate - assembly was by acclamation – yes or no response system – only senate had the ability to veto – large amount of power - ephors – chief magistrates of each polis – possibly a later addition to the assembly, added around 6 century B.C. - one of the most important documents for early Spartan constitution was the Great Rhetra The Great Rhetra - either Lycurgus or other kings - in some accounts, Lycurgus received it from the oracle at Delphi - quote: “When a temple of Zeus Syllanios and Athena Syllania has been built, the people divided into phylai and obai, and 30 men –including the archagetai–appointed as a gerousia, from time to time apellai shall be held between Babyka and Khankion; thus questions shall be introduced and withdrawals made. But the people (damos) shall have the supreme power to decide.” - phylai – tribes, tribal organization - obai – geographical subdivision perhaps - archageti – kings, leaders of the people - gerousia – senate - apellai – assemblies - Babyka and Khankion – places in Sparta - ephors not mentioned in the passage – proof per
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