Classical Civilisation - Sparta

What spartan life was like after the reforms of Lycurgus. Ranges from their Geographical position to the training of women.

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Geography of Sparta

  • Sparta was situated in the south of the Pelopennese.
  • She controlled Laconia and neighbouring Messenia
  • Isolated for the rest of Greece by Taygetus Mountains - This meant they could controll who entered and exited there country.
  • Two main advantages: 1. Food resources - Mountains made land fertile meaning they could grow crops. Woodland area for hunting wild animals. And river Eurotas for good supply of fish.

                                               2. Defence system - Dangerous shoreline meant they could not be attacked by sea. Mountains could only be crossed by narrow path ways.

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Spartan education - Boys

Stage 1 (aged 7-12)

  • learnt to obey and live together
  • built up physical strength with exercise
  • lived in platoons 
  • Punished by wardens and spartans over 18 years of age

Stage 2 (aged 12-18)

  • Learnt group loyalty - Team contests
  • Tougher and harsher conditions - one tunic for whole year & little food 
  • Harder discipline

Stage 3 (aged 18-24)

  • Toughest stage - top 300 picked & picked for krypteia
  • Became Eiren - prefect of 1st stage platoons
  • qualified as soldier at 24
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Spartan Population

3 parts of Spartan population: 

1. Spartans

  • Full time soldiers
  • needed 3 qualifications to become a Spartan - bot parents are Spartan, passed all 3 stages of education & belong to a syssition
  • All equals - owned equal amount of land & shared equal way of life
  • Code of honour - "Never to show Cowardice"
  • Big decline in numbers after defeat by Thebes in 371BC

2. Perioeci

  • Tradesmen and Craftsmen
  • same race as Spartans
  • Allowed freedom
  • did not rebel - enjoyed protection of Spartans
  • lived in towns and villages of Laconia 
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Spartan education continued

3. Helots

  • Farmers and slaves
  • Different race from Spartans
  • Appallingly treated - public beatings and hunted by krypteia
  • Caused military way of life - 15 helots:1 Spartan
  • Caused foreign policy - few foreign campaigns in case of helot revolt
  • Loyal - Servants to Spartans & fought as soldiers when needed
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Spartan Government

The Spartan Government had 4 parts to it:

1. 2 kings

  • Came from two Royal Families
  • Had 2 responsibilities - Supreme power on battlefield & Priests for celebrations.
  • Hugely honoured and very rich.


  • 28 members ( plus 2 kings)
  • Had to be over 60 years of age and a Spartan
  • Elected for life by assembly 
  • Two responsibilities: Prepared proposals for Assembly and acted as court for criminal cases.
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Spartan Government Continued 1

3. Ephors

  • 5 members
  • Had to be over 30 years old and a Spartan
  • Elected every year by assembly
  • Had many responsibilities:

a) summoned assembly and Gerousia

b)Controlled Krypteia (secret police)

c)Controlled all other magistrates

d)Called out army when war is declared and accompanies King in war

e)Conducted civil trials

f)Supervised education

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Spartan Government Continued 2

4. Assembly

  • All other Spartans over 30 years old
  • Two responsibilities:

a)elected ephors and gerousia

b)Had deciding vote on debates

  • Not allowed to speak
  • Not allowed to make proposals 
  • Not allowed to meet until ephors summon them
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Spartan Women


  • Built up strength - physical training with boys
  • lyre playing
  • different from girls in rest of Greece
  • No military Training
  • No barrack life

Daily Life

  • Raising children until the age of 6 years old
  • physical training to ensure strong babies
  • No real family life
  • team competitions in singing and dancing
  • allowed out in public.


  • very proud of brave sons
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Spartan Women Continued 1


  • Husband would be at least 30 years old
  • Had to cut their hair short & wear men's cloak and Sandals
  • had to sleep with another man if no child was born
  • Child exposed on mountain if not strong enough

Land owning

  • Owned a lot of land in later times
  • Had much power and influence 
  • Took over vacant land when Husbands died


  • Great Beauty
  • Sexually Promiscuous 
  • Comedy plays show them as beef & masculine
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Spartan Army


  • The Phalanx was a very effective formation against the enemy
  • It was formed for a Lochos (or 144 men)
  • Formation was usually 12 x 12


  • 5 basic positions: 

1. At ease (spear on ground)

2. Attention (spear on shoulder)

3. Under arm thrusting

4. Over arm thrusting

5. Defence (crouch behind shield)

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Spartan Army continued 1


  • Heavy Armed hoplite - Round bronze shield

                                           - Short sword and spear

                                           - Crested Helmet

                                           - Scarlet cloak

                                           - Corselet and greaves 


  • Barracks with other members of their Syssition

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thanks really helpfull (Y) 

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