Life in Sparta 2


Life in Sparta 2

Spartan society was dived into three main classes. At the top was Spartiate, or native Spartan, who could trace his or her ancestry back to the original inhabitants of the city. The Spartiate served in the army and was the only person who enjoyed the full political and legal rights of the state. Below the Spartiates were the perioeci (dwellers around and about). These were foreign people who served as a kind of buffer population between the Spartans and the helots. Because of this vital function, they were accorded a great deal of freedom. Most of the trade and commerce carried out in Sparta were performed by the perioeci. At the bottom, of course, were the helots. 

Spartan government was an odd affair, but its overwhelming characteristic was stability. The Spartans, in fact, had the most stable government in the history of ancient Greece (some historian call this stability, “political stagnation”). At the top of the government was the monarchy; the monarchy, however was a dual monarchy. Below the monarchy was a council which was composed of the two kings plus twenty eight nobles, all of whom were over sixty, that is retired from the military.

The council debated and set legislative and foreign policy, and was the supreme criminal court. Below the council was democracy of all the Spartiate males that selected the council and vetoed or approved proposals. Above them all, however, was a small group of five men known as the ephorate. For all practical purposes, Spartan government was the emphorate, for these five men led the council,ran the educational system, ran the military, ran the infant selection system and had veto power on everything coming out of the assembly or council. They even had power on king to depose; however, they needed powerful divine proof to exercise this power. So Spartan state was a democratic, timocratic, (Timocracy is a state in which the love of honor is the ruling motive) monarchical, oligarchy.

Life in Sparta