Lycurgus and the Great Rhetra

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  • Created by: Alice
  • Created on: 31-07-13 11:58

Different theories on who Lycurgus was:

1. A Lawgiver: Historical figure who gave the law to sparta after consulting the gods

2. A god or semi-divine hero

3. A member of the royal family

4. Two men (Plutarch states that there was two of his name but one being much more famous then the other)

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from plutarch we understand that lycurgus

1.  created the agoge

2. created the sysstia

3. provided equality through kleros

4. banned the use of minted currency - people had to use iron bars

5. forbade the use of certain tools within a house - only axe and saw

6. forbids spartans to partake in trade or commerce

7. changed burial rituals (only soildiers who had died in battle or women who had died in childbirth were allowed to be buried within the walls)

8. ordered the destruction of city walls to further military skill

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politcal provisions from the great rhetra hold apellai every so often

2. gerousia is both to introduce proposals and stand aloof

3. the demos is to have the power to give a direct verdict 

4. Ultimate decision: if the ekklesia speaks "crookedly" of the gerousia and the kings, they are to be removed

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how the political provisions of the great rhetra w

prescribed the establishment of the new rule, organise the community into structural units,is organise the gerousia into 30 members (including kings and the holding of assemblies) and left the final decision to the assembly. 

Aristotle: the rider was introduced later so no people would ask question or challenge the decision

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significance of political changes

- resolved the issue of interal political problems and removed primary cause of tyranny in greece

- laid down a division of power, and the interrelationship between three of the four main political institutions of the state (not mentioning ephors)

- provided constitional harmony between all facets of government 

- prevented corruption on monarchy 

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lycurgus the man of the hour... who was he?

 this area of sparta is a realm of complete disagreement , it is hard to reach a conclusion. We will never know, make sure in answers you mention this and then say "here are the possibilities blahblahblah"

the system of government within sparta was based on a mixed constitution: power was divided up judically, democratically and monarchly. anyway lycurgus is the link of the consitution, the man who basically created it. He is generally accepted that he is the author of a series of reforms that completely transformed that spartan state. - thought to of saved sparta from internal strife

spartans laws were not written down - perhaps it was forbidden to do so

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