Sparta

Sparta-Menelaion

 

Sparta ruinsSparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in  ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c. 650 BC it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece.

Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the overall leader of the combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was the principal enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, from which it emerged victorious, though at great cost. Sparta’s defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Sparta’s prominent role in Greece. However, it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC.

Sparta Helmed HopliteSparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which completely focused on military training and excellence. Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates (Spartan citizens, who enjoyed full rights), Mothakes (non-Spartan free men raised as Spartans), Perioikoi (freed men), and Helots (state-owned serfs, enslaved non-Spartan local population). Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, and Spartan phalanxes were widely considered to be among the best in battle. Spartan women enjoyed considerably more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical world.

Young Spartans by Edgar Degas (National Gallery - London)Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in the West following the revival of classical learning. Sparta continues to fascinate Western Culture; an admiration of Sparta is called laconophilia.
Read more about the Spartan history and society at Wikipedia’s website 

Sparta is located in the region of Laconia, in the south-eastern Peloponnese. Ancient Sparta was built on the banks of the Evrotas River, the main river of Laconia, which provided it with a source of fresh water. The valley of the Evrotas is a natural fortress, bounded to the west by Mt. Taygetus (2407 m) and to the east by Mt. Parnon (1935 m). To the north, Laconia is separated from Arcadia by hilly uplands reaching 1000 m in altitude. These natural defenses worked to Sparta’s advantage and contributed to Sparta never having been sacked. Though landlocked, Sparta had a harbor, Gytheio, on the Laconian Gulf.

Accommodation

Hotels in Sparta – eurobookings.com

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