• Created by: lou123
  • Created on: 18-06-16 15:31


Spartans built few stone buildings and wrote little (they distrusted literature and only wrote for practical reasons), so there is not much evidence to go on. Our main sources for Sparta comes from Athenians so objectivity has to be questioned.

Tyrtaeus is one of the few surviving Spartan poets.

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Evidence - The Athenians & Plutarch (1)

Xenophon - An Athenian who was pro-sparta:

  • His opposition to democracy in athens led to his exile. He ended up being received into the Spartan state. 
  • As an admirer of the state, he tried to write positively about itin reaction to all the critisism it got and is therefore unclear how balanced his views are

Plutarch - A greek writing under the roman empire:

  • He wrote biographies of famous Spartans e.g. Lycurgus and collected a book of famous sayings by kings, commanders and women
  • Although he was careful to read all the evidence he was writing many years after the fall of the system
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Evidence - The Athenians & Plutarch (2)

Aristophanes - Athenian comic playwright during the Peloppenesian War:

  • Athens vs. Sparta so characters probably not accurate and (comic playwright) exaggerated for comic effect
  • Tells us more about the opinions held of Sparta

Aristotle - Philospher who wrote about political systems:

  • Fairly good source of info 
  • but still not a spartan
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Spartan Attitudes to non-spartans

Aspects of non-spartan life that would be looked down on:

  • materialism and luxuries
  • education
  • military - did not contain proffesional soldiers
  • democracy - decisions slow and unclear
  • values of philosophy
  • values of reading/writing

They were suspicious - wouldnt be tempted b the luxuries and ideas of the outside world

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Attutudes of other greeks to spartans

  • Agoge regarded as cruel - sending sons away at 7, depriving them of food and clothing, lack of writing/reading education
  • Helots - athough the greeks approved of enslavement of foreginers whom they regarded as barbarians, but the enslavement of greek people wasnt okay
  • Women - were regarded as promiscuous and holding too much power
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Isolationism Pos/Neg


  • Less chance of invasion
  • less threat to system (no new or forgein ideas coming in)
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Secrecy


  • cant make/contact allies
  • trade -> no development
  • other cities ddnt trust them
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Sparta had developed 5 villages along the river Eurotas, located in Laconia, in the south-east of the Pelopponese.

Sparta had:

  • River Eutotas - served as a water souce, travel system, gave the firtile farmland, and a food resource
  • Firtle farmland - easy to grow food on - self sufficiency
  • Surrounded by mountain ranges, only crossed by a series of narrow mountain passes - natural defences, helps with isolation and who comes in and out of sparta
  • South coast line was rugged and marshy - natural defence
  • Mountain forest - gave a food resouce of animals and raw materials (wood etc.)
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