Spartan Society

Topic 2. Spartan Society to the
Battle of Leuctra

Option I : Greece :
Spartan hoplite

1.a The influence of the geographical environment on the ancient society including

1a Location, geography, topography and resources of Sparta and her neighbours

2. The roles ,perspectives and influence of elites and groups on the ancient society
and significant beliefs and values of the society including

2a Key terms and concepts
2b Roles and privileges of the kings
2c Features and structure of government
2d Military elite
2e Educational system
2f Helots and perioici

3. social relationships and gender roles within the ancient society including :

  • 3a Social structure and organization
  • 3b Roles of Spartan women
  • 3c Role of the family
  • 3d Rites of passage
  • 3e Krypteia

4. the economy including

  • 4a Economic structure and organization –kleroi
  • 4b Agriculture
  • 4c Industries ,trade
  • 4d Roles of helots and perioici
  • 4e Problems of land ownership and inheritance

5. religion, death and burial ,and systems of belief and practice including

  • 5a Beliefs ,practices ,organization and buildings
  • 5b Relationship with Delphi
  • 5c Funeral rites for the kings

6. The cultural life of the ancient society including :

  • 6a significant myths and legends
  • 6b art-pottery and sculpture
  • 6c literacy and literature-poetry
  • 6d the question of Lycurgus

7. Peoples’ lives in the ancient society including :

  • 7a the military way of life
  • 7b festivals –music ,athletics
  • 7c occupations
  • 7d food
  • 7e leisure

8a the relevant archaeological and/or written evidence (primary and secondary )
for the ancient society.

for yet another hardcopy of these points here is .
I have tried to label as many links and documents according to this
system eg 4d=helots

Spartan Girl

  • [(Useful Websites.doc]] here is a fabulous file of mine with
useful links for many many many Greek sites ,especially about the "300 Spartans" and other varied aspects of Greek topics.
This is a MUST .
soundbyte from movie "300"

Some other interesting sites I have found are:

  • 6a 300 Spartan Warriors which is a good old potboiler, based on the fabulous smash hit cult movie but useful background nonetheless.
  • I have a copy of the DVD . A very sweet former student bought it for me
"because she felt sorry for me" ( I had it on a video-how shameful !!!! ...)

  • 7d Spartan eating associations (syssitia, phitidia)

  • 1a Hellenic Ministry of Culture: Laconia (including Sparta, Mistra, and Gytheion).

There are also links to

soundbyte from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

  • 2b 6a Kings of Sparta
    A list of the kings of Sparta with their dates when known.

  • 2b 6a Cleomenes I King of Sparta
    Cleomenes I was an Agiad king of Sparta who reigned for about 30 years and was involved in disputes among various Greek poleis ( plural of polis = Greek city state)

  • 3b 5a Gorgo of Sparta
    Gorgo was the daughter of one king and wife of the next Agiad king of Sparta and was renowned for wisdom

  • 3c Ephors
    The government of Sparta included five annually selected ephors.

  • 3c Ecclesia
    The Spartan assembly was called the ecclesia.

  • 3c Gerousia
    A Spartan governmental body of old men.

  • 5a 5b Delphi and the Law
    We don't know whether Lycurgus asked the oracle to simply confirm the law code he already had or asked the oracle to provide the code

  • Xenophon opts for the former while Plato believes the latter.
  • There's a possibility that the code came from Sparta.

  • 2c 3a 3b 4d Sparta
    From Richard Hooker's World Culture site. The Messenian helots, status of women, devotion to the state and the government

  • 6d Our old mate Lycurgus is at

  • 2b Kings of Sparta are at
Though the title says Athens it is not an error, it’s really Spartan stuff

Spartan Warriors

some samples are included:
Sparta Terms
2aA: Names -Geography
Laconia: defines the area of land surrounding Sparta – the villages, the Laconian plain etc. the area between the two mountain ranges – Taygetus to the west and Parnon to the east.
 Messenia: the neighbouring state to Sparta (west, across the Taygetus ranges) that is made up of many green and fertile plains. It was conquered by the Spartans. The population became helots.
Mt Ithome: the largest mountain out of the mountain ranges in Messenia. It became a symbol of freedom to the helots and was a centre for their organised rebellions.
Tarentum: a city-state at the bottom Italy. The only city-state ever colonised by Sparta, not conquered. The population were cast out inferiors from Sparta; a result of a dispute to the reforms of the great Rhetra.
No contact existed between the two.
Peloponnese: the entire section of land connected to mainland Greece by an isthmus. It contains several Greek city states that form the Peloponnesian league: and some others as well. Those that form the league are: Sparta, Corinth, Tegea, Mantinea, Gytheon, Patre, Elis, Troizen, Ochomenos and more.
Thermopylae: a Greek plain where the historically renowned battle between the Spartan army and the
Persians was fought. There were only 300 Spartiate warriors but they were supported by numerous Perioikoi and helot hoplites.
Lacedaemon: another name that defines the same area as Laconia. The same area, between the Taygetus and Parnon ranges is the Lacedaemon.
Mt Taygetus: the mountain ranges that defined the border of Sparta and also protected it.
Across these ranges to the west was the conquered city-state of Messenia.
It is extremely difficult, even today, to cross the Taygetus ranges.
Eurotas: the river that nourished and made fertile the Laconian plain. It was the sole source of water for the Spartans and was constantly flowing due to water run-off from the two sets of snow-capped mountain ranges each side of Sparta. The areas around the Eurotas were used chiefly for agricultural purposes.

5a B: Names (Human)
Lycurgus (lycurgos, lykourgus, etc):
the legendary? Lawgiver of Spartan history. It will never be defined whether he existed or not; and there is many theories surrounding the mystery of the lawgiver’s existence; whether he was a single individual or multiple; an ideal or demi-god; not even the Spartan’s truly knew.
His name was chiefly used to instil fear and respect in the younger Spartan population.
Many of the ways, ideal, morals, laws, systems and functions of Sparta were reformed by Lycurgus during the period of the second Messenian war.
His reforms were accepted and adopted by Sparta because ‘he’ claimed that they were given to
him by the god Apollo in the ‘oracle of Delphi.’
He wrote them down in what became known as ‘the great Rhetra.’

  • Dorian: defines the race of Greeks who were iron-age.
(The founders who populated the Peloponnese were Dorian Greeks)

  • Leonidas: the great and probably most famous king of Sparta; mainly due to the fact that he led the Spartan army of 300 (as well as numerous perioci and helots) into the fabled,fatal Battle of Thermopylae.
  • This amazing story of human courage and bravery has immortalised the image of the perfect Spartan king and army.

  • Zeus: Zeus of the Greeks must not be confused with the roman deity of the same name, however they
perform the same function in both societies; the father of the gods. He is significant to the Spartans however chiefly as the father of their demi-god ancestors of their kings; Helen of Sparta, Heracles and the Discouri (Castor and Polydeuces or Pollux.) the two royal families of Sparta claim to be descendents of these four demi-gods. (Children of Zeus and various mortal women.)

3a 5a C: Religious connections

  • Apollo: Apollo is (was?) the god of chief importance to the Spartans.
  • The sun god who determined day and night ,good or bad harvests ,whether or not they went to battle was one whom the Spartans worshipped with many festivities ,rituals and sacrifices
  • It was Apollo who was said to have decreed the reforms of Spartan society that were implemented by Lycurgus.

  • Lycurgus was said to have been a prophet of Apollo and that was why the reforms to the Spartan way of life were adopted readily and earnestly

  • Zeus: the Greek Zeus was the father of all gods and the father of the Spartans through his demi-god children Helen ,Heracles ,Castor and Polydeuces. He was of great significance to Spartan society and religion ,and readily worshipped by Spartans.
  • He was given two special names which also became the names of the cults who followed him particularly ,led by the kings.
These names were Ouranios and Lakedaimonios. ( I have to check on this but I have a feeling those names were what Cimon of Athens called his children to show his partiality to Sparta and Spartans )

  • Artemis: or, Artemis Orthea. The goddess of wisdom and the hunt, Artemis was believed to have watched over Sparta especially in times of war.
  • She was worshipped in a special festival where it was rumoured the young males of Sparta tested their endurance and was known to be one of the most violent of festivals.
  • It involved the boys running and snatching the holy cheeses from between the temple and the altar, put there for her honour. After being caught with the stolen cheeses they were whipped viciously. It is hard to know what really happened in this festival because the sources are from the period when the Romans developed this spectacle into a tourist attraction.

  • Orthia: another name for the goddess known as Artemis, Artemis Orthea, Artemis Orthia, or Orthia.
  • Hyakinthia: this was the most important festival to the Spartans. It was held at the ancient shrine of
Amyclae, outside of Sparta. Possibly it was originally to worship the vegetation god, Hyakinthos who was killed when Apollo accidentally hit him with a discus. Cartledge (modern historian of Sparta) believes it was a ritual for the dead and re-incarnation. It was also a festival to praise Apollo. Thus it was known for being a very peculiar festival to the Spartans religious activities.

2a Sparta Definitions
  • Laconia – land east of Taygetus ranges covering the middle and eastern peninsulas of the Southern Peloponnese.

  • Gymnopaedia – Festival of athletic competitions held among boys and men in July.
A display of endurance and warrior hardship.

  • Hyakinthia – Most important festival, held at shrine of Amyclae. Mythically proclaimed by Apollo
to commemorate the death of vegetation god Hyakinthos. Account left by Athenaeus.
Mourning of Hyakinthos and praise of Apollo.

  • The Great Rhetra – Spoken system of law mythically given to Lycurgus by Delphi
  • Assembly (or Apella, Ecclesia) – All citizen males over 30. Voted on laws proposed by Gerousia, could not make policy. An addition to Great Rhetra . Important as separated Spartiates fromthe rest.

  • Gerousia -'council of elders' – the two kings and 28 men over 60, elected for life by acclamation.
Basis for emphasis on tradition.

  • Agoge – the Spartan education system. Training program designed to create a warrior people form birth.
  • Syssitia – military mess of about 15 men, to which each man was expected to contribute food.
  • Perioikoi – 'dwellers around' – merchant class allied to Sparta. Commanded all passes/waterways into Sparta ,provided some of the army and were essential for trade and craft.

  • Helots – Agricultural slaves/serfs of the Spartans who were owned by the state.
Were assigned to masters and allowed sole focus on military activities. Had to pay a proportion of their produce to their 'owner'.
Constant state of war declared against them to justify subjugation. Were allowed to live in family units and occasionally served as light infantry or even hoplites.

  • Krypteia – bands of young warriors allowed to terrorise young helots as part of their training.
  • Phalanx – massed battle formation of ranks 8-12 deep, heavily armed infantry.
  • Hoplite – Spartan heavy infantry, equipped with a long spear, sword, cuirass, round bronze shield
(bronze was chosen, according to Xenophon, by Lycurgus because it was “quick to polish and slow to tarnish”) bronze helmet and leg greaves, red cloak (least effeminate, warlike, intimidating, associated with Greek amulets for warding off danger.

  • Menelaion – Sanctuary dedicated to Helen and Menelaus in Laconia.
  • Hypomeiones – Spartans who had lost citizen rights through not passing the Agoge or contributing to the syssitia

  • Spartiates – full Spartan citizens who had passed the Agoge and were members of a syssitia, (a.k.a 'homoioi' = equals)

  • Eunomia – Greek concept of “good order”, usually conservative form of government.
  • Ephors – Five elected magistrates, executive of state, administrates laws/were public directors of policy. Held office for 1 year and could be outvoted by fellows.

  • Pythians – 2 Ambassadors sent to Delphi, one by each king.
  • Chattel Slavery – Mainly Athenian (and elsewhere in Greece) system in which individuals were bought and sold as slaves .
In Sparta Helots were publicly owned.

( All these are downloaded from Bored of Studies )

Sparta Quotesfrom BOS
Spartan government was a number of systems that acted in a harmonious whole

Spartan government was arranged in a hierarchy
The Gerousia acted as a kind of ballast
The Ephors were a pragmatic device to ensure the monarchy’s perpetuation Cartledge
The different elements acted as checks and balances to each other

The boys learned to read and write no more than was necessary
Boys were able to accommodate themselves more readily to anything put before them
Xenophon is a pro-Spartan Athenian exile
At the temple of Artemis Orthia Plutarch witnessed many of them dying under the lashes
On Spartan (women)
Asquithian-Spartan women had lots of time to themselves because of the servitude of helots around their house.
Unlike the rest of Greece they were active in Spartan society. They did not raise their own children this was done by helot maids...
Therefore they had much time. Many Spartan women aspired to be like Helen from Homer’s Iliad... who was famous for her beauty ,education and outspokenness.
The Spartans believed she was a god, and in line with Spartan religious practice, they believed that gods or demi gods such as Helen could help then in their daily lives.
According to
Herodotus 6.61 a lady was nursing a child, a Spartan girl who was from a rich family but was really ugly so she took her to the Shrine of Helen at Phoebus. Where she met Helen and then the baby became beautiful.

According to
Parker the relationship with the gods in Sparta was based on mutual respect.
That the gods would help then in any legitimate venture.
Young females were encouraged to be physically fit in order to be able to give birth to healthy new Spartan warriors. They participated in running and athletics and often exercised naked and would laugh at boys who were underdeveloped or skinny.
The poet
Alcman composed poems of that praised Young Spartan women of their natural beauty.
This can be seen in Alcman fragment 12. This shows a frank appreciation of the beauty of Spartan girls.
Adult female Spartan women would advise their husbands, supervise the helots and often conduct general household finances as the men were often away...Women came to own around 40% of Spartan real estate due to Spartan inheritance laws.
Women banqueted...participated in horse racing and according to
Herodotus when asked a question... gave their response very loudly and in public.
Women also were there to mock men if they did something wrong to encourage them to do better.
However they would be there to congratulate on success.
Women were often only seen as something that gave birth...they were subject to bride by capture.
They were kidnapped at night...had their head shaved...they were also dressed in boys clothes

On government
Sparta is a DAM
Democracy (Apella... or assembly)
Autocracy (Gerousia or filled with gerontes)
Monarchy (the kings -agidae and euripontidae)

The kings were part of the Gerousia and hence could influence policy in their own way.
28 members in the Gerousia including the two kings (Euripontidae and Agidae)
The king has special rights...that is outlined in
Herodotus 6.65 i.e. has to receive double portion at dinner
...the hides of the animals at sacrifices...he must sit first etc

The Gerousia proposed legislation and the Apella voted on it...the Spartans summarised their attitude to law what they called 'nomos'
Ephors also made up Spartan government.
There were 5 of them elected annually from the Apella.
Famous one was Chilon from the mid 6th century...
They directed public policy. Protected the kings like magistrates....According to

Xenophon Spartan society 8
Ephors were very helpful and always 'ran instead of walked to help.'
The system was based on respect...the Gerousia had the greatest right of veto.

On kleroi
Each individual Spartiate citizen, at birth, was given a plot of land 'kleros' and helots to work it.
This land could not be sold as it was government land and with 'public slaves' according to
If the person who owned the Kleros died it was passed down the family hierarchy.
If there were no men it went to the Spartan woman (even though women where not citizens and could not vote in the Apella...they came to own around 40% of property by the end of the 5th century)
Helots worked this kleros and had to give an allotted amount to their Spartiate master...if their master took too much they were liable to be cursed in public.

Gorgo, for example, the wife of Leonidas, is said to have said, when some foreign lady,
as it would seem, told her that the women of Lacedaemon were the only women in the world
who could rule men; "With good reason," she said, "for we are the only women who bring
forth men." Plutarch

soundbyte from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
for your hard copy see and

6d Sparta – Lycurgus

By N.S. Gill,
Although the evolution of Greek law codes is complicated and can't really be reduced to the work of a single
individual, there is one man who stands out as responsible for Athenian law and one for Spartan law.
Athens had its Solon, and Sparta had its Lycurgus the lawgiver. Like the origins of Lycurgus' legal reforms,
the man himself is wrapped in legend. Herodotus says the Spartans thought the laws of Lycurgus came from
Crete. Xenophon takes a contrary position, arguing Lycurgus made them up; while Plato says the Delphic
Oracle provided the laws. Regardless of the origin of the laws of Lycurgus, the Delphic Oracle played an
important, if legendary, role in their acceptance. Lycurgus claimed that the Oracle had insisted the laws not be
written down. He tricked the Spartans into keeping the laws for an ostensibly short period -- while Lycurgus
went on a journey. Because of the authority invoked, the Spartans agreed. But then, instead of returning,
Lycurgus disappears forever from history, thereby eternally obliging the Spartans to honour their agreement
not to change the laws. See Sanderson Beck's "Ethics of Greek Culture" for more on this.
Some think the laws of Sparta were essentially unchanged until the third century B.C., with the exception of
a rider to the Rhetra quoted by Plutarch.
See "Legislation in Sparta," by W. G. Forrest. Phoenix. Vol. 21, No. 1 (Spring, 1967), pp. 11-19.

Source: (

Lycurgus' Reforms and the Spartan Society

Before Lycurgus there had been dual kingship, division of the society into Spartiates, Helots, and Perioikoi,
and the Ephorate. After his travels to Crete and elsewhere, Lycurgus brought to Sparta three innovations:

  1. Elders (Gerousia),
  2. Redistribution of land, and
  3. Common messes (meals).
Lycurgus forbade gold and silver coinage, replacing it with iron coinage of low value, making trade with other
Greek poleis difficult; for instance, there were supposedly loaf shaped and sized iron coins. It is also possible
that the iron coins were valued, as iron had been in the Iron Age of Homer. See "The Iron Money of Sparta,"
by H. Michell Phoenix, Vol. 1, Supplement to Volume One. (Spring, 1947), pp. 42-44.

Men were to live in barracks and women were to undergo physical training.
In all he did Lycurgus was trying to suppress greed and luxury.

5b Delphi and the Law
We don't know whether Lycurgus asked the oracle simply to confirm the law code he already had or asked the oracle to provide the code. Xenophon opts for the former, while Plato believes the latter.
There's a possibility that the code came from Crete.
Source: ( Early Sparta
Thucydides' suggested that it was not the kings who declared war, and the fact that seven helots attended
each Spartan indicates the helots' lot may not have been so bad.

6d The Great Rhetra
Passage from Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus on his obtaining an oracle from Delphi about the establishment of his form of government:
When thou has built a temple to Zeus Syllanius and Athena Syllania, divided the people into phylai, and divided them into 'obai', and established a Gerousia of thirty including the Archagetai, then from time to time 'appellazein' between Babyka and Knakion, and there introduce and repeal measures; but the Demos must have the decision and the power.

Xenophon on the Spartans

Nine passages from Herodotus about the famous Spartan lawgiver Lycurgus. Passages include notice that female slaves were to work on clothes while free women, since production of children was the noblest occupation, were to exercise as much as the men.
If a husband were old, he should supply his wife with a younger man to beget children.
Lycurgus made it honourable to satisfy natural cravings by stealing; he forbade free citizens
from engaging in business; failing to do one's duty would result in loss of status of the homoioi,
(equally privileged citizens).

A facinating novel that deals with Sparta is "Gates of Fire" .
This is very easy to read and one of the finest examples of historical fiction I have ever come across.
This document is an article about Steven Pressfield's visit to Sparta a few years ago.

the phalanx

soundbyte from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

This revision exercise is based on a HTA oral assessment task :

2c One: The Ephorate

1. Detail the duties and rights of the Ephors.
Describe the respect shown towards the Ephors in Spartan society.
Explain and evaluate the role of the Ephorate in Spartan Society.
(Refer to particular individuals who have made specific contributions to this part of Spartan government)

2c Two: The Ecclesia /Apella/Assembly
1. Detail the duties and rights of the Ecclesia/Apella/Assembly.
Detail the limitations both politically and socially of a member of the Spartan
Explain and evaluate the role of the Ecclesia/Apella/Assembly in Spartan society
and government.
(Refer to particular individuals who have made specific contributions to this part of
Spartan government)

2c Three: The Gerousia
1. Detail the duties and rights of the Gerousia.
Describe the respect shown towards the Gerousia in Spartan society.
Explain and evaluate the role of the Gerousia in Spartan society and government.
(Refer to particular individuals who have made specific contributions to this part of
Spartan government)

2b Four: The Kingship
1. Detail the duties and rights of the Kingship.
Describe the respect shown towards the Kingship in Spartan society.
Explain and evaluate the role of the Kingship in Spartan society and government.
(Refer to particular individuals who have made specific contributions to this part of
Spartan government)

1a Resources of Ancient Sparta

for your hard copy :
Any 2 of the categories in bold type would be worth a mark
for a question worth 2 marks

(usually in the form of cheese).
  • Pork and poultry (chicken and geese) were also raised.
  • Oxen were rare and normally used as a work animal, though they were occasionally used as sacrificial animal
  • Donkeys, mules and their various mixes were raised as pack or draught animals.
  • Horses were raised on the plains of Thessaly and Argolis; it was a luxury animal, signifying aristocracy.
  • Wood was intensively exploited, primarily for domestic use; for fuel and construction of housing , toolmaking and production of weapons

  • Beekeeping provided honey, the only source of sugar known to the Greeks.
  • It also used in medicines and in the production of mead.

  • This article is great for the whole part of boys and girls education

2e and when you download the worksheet look for the answers in the first document 2e

2f What were helots?
for your hard copy
for a question worth 2 marks

Any of the following worth a mark each

  • Conquered non-Dorian inhabitants, slaves in Laconia were named helots.
  • Defeated Messenians were also regarded as helots
  • They had no rights at all and were treated very poorly, worse than any slave in the rest of the Greek world
  • They had to do forced labour for any Spartan citizen who could dictate to them.
  • They were not chattel slaves and did not belong to a person
  • They belonged to a property and stayed with their family.
  • The Krypteia or secret police were a Helot control task force
  • The Krypteia were ordered to go into Messenian territory and ambush and kill helots especially strong,tough ,brave or smart Helots that might cause an uprising

  • The annually elected Spartan ephors declared war on the helots ritually upon taking office, so that they could continue to kill them at will.

3d 5c Explain funerary customs in Sparta at this time
For a question worth 5 marks Your hard copy

soundbyte from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

  • It was believed that all souls passed on to the underworld realm known as Hades – not just those who had been bad during life

  • Tartaros (hell) was a realm below Hades where disobedient lesser gods were sent for punishment.
  • Elysium (heaven) was a wondrous realm located at the western end of the earth and inhabited by those in favour of Zeus

  • The river Styx ran around the perimeter of Hades seven times.
  • Charon, the ferryman of the dead, would call out the names of the places within Hades that the boat would be sailing to. Charon also ferried souls across the river Styx

  • A coin was usually placed in the mouth as payment to Charon for ferrying the deceased across the Styx.
  • A Greek funeral was carried out in three stages: the body was prepared and laid out (prothesus or wake),
  • The body was moved to the place where it would be interred (ekphora or procession),
  • The body or cremated remains were deposited in the tomb or grave.
Spartiates only

  • Death was only worthy if you dies on campaign or in childbirth
  • You only had your name inscribed if you died in this way

5c Funeral rites for kings

  • Death was announced throughout the land
  • Women going through the city beat cauldrons
  • One man and one woman in each household had to put on mourning clothes or would be heavily fined.
  • Spartans, Perioikoi and helots were obliged to attend the funeral
  • They beat foreheads as a sign of grief, wailing and moaning
  • Cried that the dead king was the best king that they ever head.

2d Role of the Spartan Army.
for hard copy

Source = Quote from Tyrtaeus
To get full marks students must mention the source, describe it and then deal with the key features of the
military 10 marks

i) Source: Tyrtaeus-

  • Wrote war poetry to arouse Spartans.
  • Very popular marching songs
  • Places courage in battle above all other qualities
  • Warrior advanced into battle singing his marches.
  • Wrote the battle chants to rally the Spartiates against rebel opposition.
  • He concludes that the supreme guarantee of manly virtue is courage in the face of the enemy.
ii) A Military State-the role of the army
· Spartiates were the elite warrior class of the rigidly hierarchical Spartan society.
· Sparta was ruled by the Military elite
· Heavily armed infantrymen, hoplites ,every Spartiate could afford to be a part of the Phalanx
· From a young age, male Spartiates were trained for battle and put through grueling challenges intended to craft them into fearless warriors.
· In battle, they had the reputation of being the best soldiers in Greece, and the strength of Sparta's hoplite forces led to Sparta becoming the dominant state in Greece.
· Spartiate men were expected to prepare constantly for military conflict.
· The Spartan constitution that devoted Spartiates to a military lifestyle was the product of the lawgiver called Lycurgus.
· Conquest of the neighboring state Messenia, a large piece of territory and a large conquered population seems to have both provided the basis for the system of helotage and required the existence of a large military force to keep the potentially rebellious Messenians under control.
· The Spartiates thus became a permanently armed master class, living off the labor of the helots and preventing rebellion through constant vigilance.
· The Agoge was the educational system for the male Spartan children that enforced a disciplined state and created a military elite and community of warriors.
· From birth a boy was part of the Agoge and it was a state responsibility to ensure the child was bought up in the correct manner.

soundbyte from movie "300"

More past papers
2006 HSC

(a) Name TWO gods/goddesses worshipped at Sparta. 2 marks
(b) Who was Lycurgus ? 2 marks
(c) Describe the role of the Agoge in the education of Spartan boys ?
5 marks
(d) Outline therole of the Spartan kings. 6 marks
(e) With reference to Source 13 and other sources,explain the significance of women in Spartan society. 10 marks

Copyright not given - photo of a statue of a Spartan woman
Source 13: Spartan woman involved in a religious rite

STOP PRESS - "Women" Question repeated in the 2008 HSC.
Will include this when I can
Soundbyte from Monty Pythons "Life of Brian"

2007 HSC

a) Name 2 ancient Authors who wrote about Sparta 2 marks
b) What was the syssitia 3 marks
c) With reference to Source 15 and other sources, describe the main features of Spartan religious festivals. 8 marks

Source15: Statue of Apollo found in Laconia
d) Explain the importance of the army in Spartan Society 12 marks

Have you guys seen this site the TaLe site ?
It features a tutorial ,interactive maps and great summaries etc

here is a sample
Age group / activity
  • Training:
  • inspected by Council of Elders.
  • 7-12 years old: training in physical fitness and obedience.
  • 20-30 years old: At 20 years old the Spartiati became known as an eirene, permission was given to marry,but remained in barracks.
  • Dined in "clubs" (syssitia.) Attendance was compulsory.
  • Members had to be accepted by all other members.
  • A potential member might be "blackballed".

  • 30 years old: becomes a full citizen (or Spartiate ).
  • Might sleep at home but eats in a common mess (phiditia). This mess was also the homoioi's tent in warfare. This eating in a common mess continued throughout a Spartan male's life.
  • 60 years old: eligible for membership in the "Council of Elders" or Gerousia.
  • At this age, many became involved in the training of younger Spartans.
  • Frequently, relationships developed between these older men and the younger boys.
  • To produce strong, healthy children.
  • The training system was aimed at developing strong morale through association with peers and common experience. It instilled the Spartan with unquestioning loyalty to the state.

  • WOMEN also underwent a similar regime of rigorous training.
  • Training restricted the size of the homoioi population.
  • Spartan males lacked skill in most areas. They were largely illiterate.
  • They were restricted in outlook.
  • Spartans were never able to govern their conquests adequately.
  • Women:
  • Underwent similar training to their male counterparts.
  • Spartan girls were often part of the rough and tumble games of Spartan boys.
  • Young Spartan women exercised rigorously and were inculcated with the same ideals of duty, loyalty and self-sacrifice as were young men.
  • To develop a deeply loyal female population who were responsible for maintaining the home while the adult male Spartans were away fighting.
  • The role of Spartan women as the bearers of children was paramount.
  • Their training taught them to be tough, resilient and supportive of the State.
  • Spartan women had a role in the early education of infants prior to the State taking formal control at age seven.
  • Spartan women were an important part of Spartan society.
  • They possessed incredible freedom when compared with their Athenian counterparts.
  • Spartan women came to wield considerable power by virtue of their control of property

A "fully sick" complete summary from BOS is at