Essay on Aspects of Spartan Culture

Essay on Aspects of Spartan Culture

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Sparta, an ancient Greek city-state, was most well-known for its militaristic lifestyle and its soldiers’ prowess in battle. Though war was an essential part of life in Sparta, many other aspects contributed to its society. Sparta’s origin, unique government, slaves, bold women, and elite warriors all shaped the legendary city-state and defined its culture.
In approximately 650 B.C., Sparta was formed in the Peloponnese peninsula in Laconia by several smaller city-states that merged together. Located near the fertile farmlands of the Eurotas River, the Peloponnese peninsula was an ideal area to establish a new civilization (Sekunda 3). Sparta, meaning “to sow,” was appropriately named because of its positioning in one of the few fertile valleys in Greece. After conquering its western neighbor Messenia, Sparta gained even more fertile land as well as the Taygetus mountain ranges. These mountains provided essential raw materials including timber and an abundance of wildlife. As a result of the Taygetus range, Sparta was rather isolated from the rest of Greece (Michell 4). This provides insight into the reason Spartan livelihood differed so greatly among other Greek city-states. Sparta contained a four branch government system that was considered among the most unique in all of Greece. Unlike the democracy of Athens, Sparta was based on an oligarchy structure. The diarchy, which consisted of two kings, was the first division of this government. These figures held little influence over the state and served more as a symbol of royal heritage (Kennell 83). The second branch was the Gerousia council which acted as an advising body and hel...

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Works Cited

Blundell, Sue. Women in Ancient Greece. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1995. Print.
Eltis, David, Stanley L. Engerman, K. R. Bradley, Paul Cartledge, and Seymour Drescher. The Cambridge World History of Slavery. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. Print.
Kennell, Nigel M. The Gymnasium of Virtue: Education & Culture in Ancient Sparta. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1995. Print.
Kennell, Nigel M. Spartans: A New History. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.
Michell, H. Sparta. Cambridge: University, 1964. Print.
Pomeroy, Sarah B. Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. New York: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.
Sekunda, Nick. The Spartan Army. Oxford: Osprey Pub., 2004. Print.
"Sparta's Iron Way." Editorial. LIFE 3 Mar. 1963: 75-76. Print.
Whitby, Michael. Sparta. New York: Routledge, 2002. Print.

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