SPARTA - History of Sparta

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  • History of Sparta
    • Geography
      • Sparta is very isolated. It is located in the mountainous area of Laconia.
      • There is a river (river Eurotas) running through the whole of Sparta, fertilising all of Sparta. The soil is very rich and there are lots of wild animals there, allowing crop growth and animal hunting.
    • Origins
      • Achaeans used to live in Sparta, but then the Dorians (the future Spartans) took over their land and made the Achaeans their slaves.
        • The slaves were called Helots
      • Perioeci lived around Sparta. They accepted the Dorians and allowed them to settle down and make their own government.
    • Lycurgus
      • The Spartans believed that Lycurgus had come up with the 'Spartan System'
        • The first Communist system EVER. Lycurgus called it homoioi.
      • Lycurgus wanted to make equality in all of Sparta with his new 'Spartan System'
        • Land
          • There was a lot of inequality with the land in Sparta, so Lycurgus made sure that all the land was redistributed so that everyone had the same amount.
        • Money
          • Gold and silver were banned from Sparta. The only legal money was iron dipped in vinegar, making money worthless.
        • Mess Halls
          • All Spartan citizens had to eat meals together in mess halls. Everyone ate the same food so that nobody missed out.
        • Houses
          • Houses had to be simple - ceilings could only be fashioned out of axes, and gates and doors only with saws.
    • Art and Literature
      • Spartans did not believe in writing things down, and so not a lot of work was found.
      • Only the work of 3 poets were found
        • Herodotus
          • Most important work was the legend of the 300 in the Persian wars.
        • Thucydides
          • He wrote about the Peloponne-sian War. However, he was Athenian so his work cannot be completely relied on, because most Athenians were against Sparta.
        • Xenophon
          • He was an Athenian, however he loved Sparta and was against Athena. Thus he was exiled from Athens, and got special permission to join Sparta. He wrote positively about the Spartan system, to counter the negative reactions most Athenians had towards it.
      • However, two philosophers also wrote about the government system in Sparta
        • Aristotle
          • He was an Athenian who hated Sparta and its political system. Was very biased in favour of Athens
        • Plato
          • Was clearly impressed by the Spartan System, and included some of the Spartan System in his own ideal state, which he outlined in his 'Republic'.

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