Peloponnese is the largest peninsula of Greece. In its southeast part the powerful state in ancient times was located. In international treaties it carried the name Lacedaemon. Other its name – Sparta. History informed of data on life of the Greek policy, its military feats, on blossoming and a decline of the Spartan state till present time.
History of emergence of Sparta
It is considered that the state Sparta arose in the 11th century B.C. The Dorian tribes which occupied this area assimilated with local achaeans over time. Former inhabitants became the slaves who received the name of ilot.
Originally Sparta represented a set of the estates and estates scattered across all Laconia. The hill which later received the name of an acropolis became the central place of future city policy. Throughout several centuries the Sparta had no strengthened walls.
The basis of the political system of Sparta was formed by the principle of unity of the civil rights of all inhabitants of the policy. Life and life of citizens it was strictly regulated. It to some extent allowed to constrain property stratification.
Classes were considered as military art and sport as the main duties of Spartans; ilota were engaged in trade, agriculture and various crafts. Over time the system of the policy turned into military democracy. The created oligarchical and slaveholding republic kept nevertheless some remnants of a tribal system. The private property in Sparta was not resolved. The earth of the city-state were divided into equal sites which were considered as the property of community and could not be subject to purchase and sale. Raby-iloty as researchers assume, were also the property of the state, but not certain rich citizens.
From seven-year age of Spartan children separated from parents and transferred for education to special groups. There children studied reading and the letter, and also were accustomed to be silent long. The Spartan had to speak accurately and briefly, in other words – is laconic. Food of children was poor. Since young years of Spartans accustomed to take out ordeals with firmness. Regular gymnastic exercises and sports activities had to develop in future soldiers force and dexterity.
State system of Sparta
In the head of state there were at once two governors-arkhageta whose power was descended. Each of tsars had the circle of powers; treated them:
- organization of sacrifices;
- implementation of the military authority;
- participation in the Council of Elders.
Twenty eight elders were elected by the people for life from among the city nobility. Being similarity of the government, the Council of Elders prepared issues which were discussed on people's assemblies subsequently and also carried out foreign policy of Sparta. Elders had to consider separate criminal cases and to investigate high treasons.
But in general the special board of efor was engaged in legal proceedings of Sparta. Five most worthy citizens elected by the people for one year entered it. Efora generally solved disputes of property character. Over time powers of judicial board extended. Efora had an opportunity to convoke people's assemblies, to conduct foreign policy, to manage internal affairs of the policy.
The people's assembly in Sparta met the requirements of the state of aristocratic type. In general it passively followed will of oligarchs. Only the men who reached thirty-year age could participate in a meeting. The issues submitted for a meeting were not discussed, citizens could accept or reject the solution proposed by efor only.
The legislation of Sparta was protected from influence of foreigners. The resident could not without permission leave the city and leave out of policy limits. There was also a ban on emergence in Sparta of foreigners. This city in ancient times was famous for lack of hospitality.
Social order of Sparta
The structure of Spartan society provided three estates:
- free inhabitants (periek);
- slaves (ilota).
Perieki, being residents of nearby settlements, had no right to vote. Crafts, trade, agriculture were destiny of this part of the population. Perieki lived in all cities of Laconia, except for Sparta: it belonged only to Spartans. Ilota were on position of the state slaves. The elite was made by the Spartans who were in exclusive conditions. They dealt with exclusively military matters. During the highest blossoming of the Spartan state of notable citizens was several times more, than free plowmen, handicraftsmen and slaves.
History of Sparta
The history of Lacedaemon can be divided into several eras:
- the Roman;
During the prehistoric period on the lands of Peloponnese there lived leleg. After occupation of these territories the Sparta became doriyets by the main town. The city-state waged continuous wars with neighbors. During this period the ancient legislator Lycurgus who became obviously, the creator of a system of political system of Sparta towered.
During an antique era the Sparta managed to take and subdue Messeniya. During this period the Sparta got weight in the opinion of neighbors and began to be considered as the first of the Greek policies. Spartans took active part in affairs of other states. They helped to expel tyrants from Corinth and Athens and also promoted release of a number of islands in the Aegean Sea.
Classical era was marked by the union of Sparta from Elidy and Tegey. Gradually Spartans managed to win round some other cities of Laconia. The well-known Peloponnese union which Sparta began to direct became result. Without encroaching on independence of allies, Sparta of the classical period performed management of all military operations of the union. It caused discontent from Athens. Rivalry between two states developed into the First Peloponnese war which terminated in establishment of hegemony of Sparta. The Spartan state endured a blossoming time.
Since the Hellenistic era the decline of the Spartan state and its culture was outlined. The system based on Lycurgus's legislation did not correspond to time conditions any more.
Blossoming of Sparta became noticeable since the 8th century B.C. From now on Spartans gradually subdued neighbors on Peloponnese then started signing of the contracts with the strongest rivals. Having become the head of the union of the Peloponnese states, Sparta got serious weight in Ancient Greece.
Neighbors frankly were afraid of aggressive Spartans who were able and liked to be at war. One type of bronze boards and red raincoats of soldiers of Sparta was capable to put to flight the enemy. Phalanxes of Spartans had reputation of invincible. It was remembered also by Persians in 480 when they sent the numerous troops to Greece. The tsar Leonid at that time was at the head of Spartans. His name strongly contacts a feat of Spartans in fight at Thermopylae.
Troops of the Persian tsar Xerxes wanted to take control of narrow pass which connected Thessaly and Central Greece. Allied Greek troops were also headed by the Spartan tsar. Having used treachery, Xerxes bypassed the Thermopylae gorge and it appeared in the back of the Greek army. Leonid dismissed not numerous forces of allies, and itself at the head of group numbering 300 people accepted battle. Spartans were resisted by twenty-thousand army of Persians. Several days Xerxes unsuccessfully tried to break resistance of soldiers of Leonid. But forces were unequal, as a result all defenders of the gorge fell.
The name of the tsar Leonid became history thanks to Herodotus. This heroic episode became a basis for a set of books and movies subsequently.