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Kings Of Sparta Essay

2047 words - 8 pages

Kings of SpartaBy Yaron SarusiAncient HistoryAssessment Task #4 Year 12Research report and Oral PresentationQuestion: With reference to the source below and other sources, explain the role of the kings during this period.The Spartan state of Ancient Greece was a prominent military city-state which was always lead by two kings due to Sparta's constitution, the Great Rhetra. The constitution was created by legendary lawgiver Lycurgus, whom used the ideals of moderation, unity and harsh discipline in order to incorporate a militaristic approach in training the finest fighters of the ancient world. Historians such as A. H. M. Jones believe though it was a collection of Spartans through the generations who wrote the constitution, as he states Lycurgus was a "Mythical Figure". One of the Spartan kings came from the Agiad family, while the other from the Eurypontid family. The result of the two kings working in partnership was that they would share their duties and keep the other king honest by ensuring the other would not abuse or obtain a large amount of power which could be used in selfish ways. This dual kingship allowed the kings to undertake the many significant roles and duties that they were expected to execute or fulfil for the state. These involved political, religious and military duties, which made their role as king quite significant.The Spartan kings were also known as the Lawgivers, as they had a major influence in the political system. In the political system of Sparta, power was divided among the two kings, Ephors, the Gerousia and the Ekklesia. The kings had seats on the Gerousia, also known as the council of elders. This body consisted of 28 over-60 years of age males who held the position for their lifetime. The Gerousia led the Ekklesia, also known as the citizen assembly, probably proposing issues on which to vote. The Gerousia was also the highest court in Sparta which tried murder cases. The Ephors whom there were five of, acted as overseers of kings and watched over the kings activities to make sure they were in check and were not inflicted by corruption. If the kings were found choosing the latter, they had the authority and power to arrest and imprison the king. Their primary intentions though were to advise the kings and made sure that they lead the people by the Spartan laws, and to victory. This can be exemplified by Xenophon, whom states that there were "Monthly exchange of oaths" between the kings and Ephors where the " king's oath is to rule according the city's established laws, while that of the city is to keep the kings position unshaken as long as he abides by his oath". Such established laws the king abided by includes the selecting of officials who see to the entertainment of foreign visitors, and be present when fellow Spartans which to adopt a child. The Spartan kings were very vital in the government of the society, along with the Ephors, whom both guided their city by their well established and effective...

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