Sparta Civilization

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Sparta Civilization

Sparta Civilization

TradeSparta's economy relied on both farming and conquering other people. Sparta did not have enough land to feed all its people, so they took the land they needed from their neighbors. Because Spartan men spent their lives as warriors, Sparta had to use slaves and non citizens to produce goods.The Spartans would turn the people they conquered into slaves called helots. These helots were allowed to continue to live in their own villages, but they were forced to give much of the food they grew to the Spartan citizens.The Spartans also made use of non citizens, called periokoi. Periokoi were free men, not slaves. They could serve in the army when needed, but they could not participate in the government. The periokoi made such neccesary items as shoes, red cloaks for the soldiers, iron tools like knives and spears, and pottery. They also conducted some trade with the other city-states.In general, Sparta discouraged trade. The Spartans feared that contact with other city-states would lead to new ideas and weaken their government. Trading with Sparta was also difficult because they did not use coins, instead they used heavy iron bars as their money.

ArtThere is now significant archaeological as well as historical evidence that Sparta enjoyed an artistic Golden Age from roughly 650 to 550 BC. In this period, its artistic achievements were renowned throughout the known world. At this time, Spartan sculptors were active not only at home but also in cultural centers such as Olympia and Delphi; at least nine sculptors are known by name. Spartan bronze products were of such high quality that they were viewed as valuable diplomatic gifts and found their way to the far corners of the earth. Laconian pottery was, for a period of roughly 100 years, sufficiently valued to be a significant export commodity. Beautiful examples of Laconian pottery still exist, providing sufficient evidence of the very high quality of both the pottery and the painting – even if classical Corinthian and Athenian vases and painting demonstrate a yet higher quality a century later. Laconian ivory work was another export product, reflecting the high quality of the craftsmen.

AgricultureMen did not farm. Men were training for war at the age of seven. So Sparta hired slaves to work in the farm to gather food for them. Women would also occassionally work in the fields if no slaves worked. During the early part of Greek history, as shown in the Odyssey, Greek agriculture and diet was based on cereals, sitos, though usually translated as wheat, could in fact designate any type of cereal grain. In reality, 90% of cereal production was barley. The Greek land was sutiable for olive trees which provided olive oil.

ArchitectureSparta was a state that believed in skills and knowledge over the high life and fancy architecture, the Spartan lifestyle was about preservation rather than celebration. This was reflected in the buildings and architecture of Sparta, simple and functional the Spartan buildings were that of farmers, and this is what Sparta was a collection of the toughest, strongest and most battle ready farmers in ancient Greece.While Sparta was a state, and indeed the most independent Greek state, it was not a city. Unlike larger city states like Athens where the city was a walled city, Sparta was much more free flowing and unconstrained. This open nature of early Sparta was due in part to many factors, the fact that Spartan were just that, Spartans, they had the respect of many, and no army would enter Sparta without careful consideration. Another factor was the geographical location of Sparta, which sat in the Laconia region of Ancient Greece, and afforded the Spartans some level of natural defence from invaders into their state.

Social Class The society of Ancient Sparta was divided into three main classes. At the top of society were Spartiate. Following the Spartiate were the perioeci and at the bottom, were the helots. The Spartiate were like the native Spartans in Sparta.The Spartiate were those who could trace their ancestry back to the original, or first inhabitants of the city. they enjoyed all of the political and legal rights of the state. They were also the only ones who could participate in politics. They served in the military, led the military and ran Sparta. Underneath the Spartiate were the perioeci. The perioeci were foreigners that divided the Spartiate and helots. Due to this primary function, they had many rights and could own land. Although they had to pay taxes, life was swell for the peroeci. The perioeci also had the right to learn how to read and write. They served in the military, as everyone else did, and were in charge of the trade and communication with Sparta's neighbors. At the very bottom of society were the helots. The helots were very disliked by the Spartans. The helots came from what the Spartans call Helos. Helos was south of Sparta, but due to Sparta's growing population, Sparta began to expand its territory when they came to a village (Helos). They invaded this village, killed its inhabitants and took some as prisoners. The helots were used as slaves, but were able to earn their freedom by joining the military. Even if they earned their freedom, they were still treated like dirty helots. A few times each year it became legal in Sparta to kill any helot, even if they were free.

GovernmentSparta had a werid government, they were ruled by two kings who ruled jointly. They served as high priests and as leaders in war. Each king acted as a check on the other. There was a sort of cabinet composed of five ephors, or overseers, who exercised a general guardianship over law and custom and in later times came to have greater power.

ReligionThe ancient Spartans believed in religion and gods like the majority of the Greek states. Therefore the religion of Sparta was Polytheism, which means that the Spartans believed in not just one god, buy many gods. The primary gods in Ancient Greece at the time were of course the Olympians lead by the mighty Zeus who was connected to all the Olympian gods in some way, and the Spartans followed the belief in the powerful Olympians.

Cody Sullivan Period 8


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