Sparta Facts

Sparta Facts
Sparta was an Ancient Greek city located on the Evrotas River in Laconia, surrounded by mountains. Sparta was a military state and had a fulltime army to protect it from invaders. Sparta was made up of three types of people - those who paid taxes, served in the Sparta army, and were protected by the laws of Sparta (Homoioi), free, non-citizens who worked in the trades in the region surrounding Sparta (Perioeci), and those who were from places that had been conquered by Sparta's army and had no rights under Sparta law (Helots). Life for the Perioeci was not easy though. Sparta was very strict, and citizens did not have many luxuries, if any. The Spartans believed they were descendants of Hercules.
Interesting Sparta Facts:
Ancient Sparta was built on the Evrotas River so that a fresh water source would be available.
The Sparta way of life was one without luxury. In order to be accepted as full citizens of Sparta one had to endure deprivation and hardship.
Despite the hardships self-imposed by the Spartans, there has been evidence that they owned beautiful works of art and jewelry.
The Spartans had a strict moral code.
Babies that were not judged as fit for future use as a soldier they were abandoned on a hillside. If strangers did not pick them up they would die of exposure.
Spartan babies were often bathed in wine instead of water. They were not picked up when they cried very often in an effort to make them tough.
Sparta boys were sent to live in army barracks when they were only seven years old.
Women did not fight in the army but were required to participate in physical activity to ensure good health and strong babies.
Boys were encouraged to scavenge and steal for their food. If caught however they were punished - not for the theft - but for being caught doing it.
Sparta had two kings - the Assembly and the Gerousia.
Spartan men were soldiers until they were 60 years old.
There were never more than 10,000 Spartans.
Any Sparta citizen who was in poor fitness or overweight risked being ridiculed and thrown out of the city.
Spartans drank wine but did not like drunkenness. They were known to make the Helots drink until drunk and then use their behaviour as an example for children.
Because of the Spartans dedication to their army and to battle they were often able to defeat much larger armies.
Only two deaths would result in a marked headstone. Only soldiers who died in combat during a battle that was victorious, or a woman who died giving birth could be buried with a marked headstone.
Sparta rose to power in 650BC.
Between 492 and 449 BC the Spartans fought the Persians, leading the Greek city states because of their military strength.
During the battle of Thermopylae the Spartans, only 300 strong, fought off hundreds of thousands of Persians.
Between 431 and 404 BC the Spartans fought Athens, beating them in the end.
Sparta remained an independent city-state until 146 BC when the Roman Empire defeated them.

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