"Sparta: Historically Unique" Explains Lifestyle/Social Structure/Government Of Spartans Explains Why Sparta Is Unique Bibliography And Incorrect In Text Citation Included (Should Be Fixed)

1120 words - 4 pages

Throughout history the world has seen very few powers that have been quite as unique as the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta. Very few city-states of ancient Greece were able to rival the Spartan people. Their unique government, social structure, and way of life made them a viable force in the ancient world. It is for these reasons that Sparta has gone down in history as one of the most uniquely structured powers in world history, one that is observed by modern intellectuals and politicians, being used as a model for present day militaries and governments.One of the major characteristics of Sparta that made it so unique was it's government. Although oddly structured, it's main goal was to achieve stability. This is one goal that many Greek city-states strived for but could never reach. Sparta had a dual monarchy with two kings. Underneath these kings was the council of elders, which consisted of twenty-eight nobles over the age of sixty, which was the retiring age of a Spartan soldier. These retired soldiers discussed law, foreign policy, and served as a supreme court in Sparta. Lower on the political ladder was an assembly made up of every noble male soldier in Sparta. This assembly was the closest thing to democracy in ancient Sparta. It had the right to democratically approve or veto the decisions of the council of elders. The major body of power in Spartan government however was known as the "ephorate". The ephorate was made up of five Spartan males who had veto power over all other governmental branches, control of the military, the educational system, and the infant selection system. Surprisingly enough, they even had the power to remove a king. These five men were kept in check by a Spartan code that limited them to a maximum term of one year and made them personally responsible for any of their actions while in power. Any member of the ephorate could potentially be put on trial after serving his term. All in all, the Spartan government was established in this way for a single purpose. This purpose was to maintain absolute stability and hinder any change that could potentially dispose of Spartan traditions, which the Spartans owed their power and success to. (1)Spartan society was can be dissected into three social classes. At the top were the Spartiate or Homoioi. Next in line was the Perioeci, which roughly translates into "the dwellers around". At the absolute bottom of the social order were the Helots.(1) In ancient Sparta, the elite Homoioi were offered the best education and became part of the Spartan army, eventually attaining the right to take part in government. They were the only Spartans to enjoy full political and legal rights. The duty of the Homoioi citizen was to remain in a constant state of preparedness for war. They were also in charge of keeping the Helots in their place. The Perioeci performed most of the trade and commerce within Sparta. They were given a significant amount of freedom but had no political rights. The...

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