Sparta and Marathon- Alex Abernathy and Jarvis Miller


Government-Spartan Map

The Spartan's government was a different than most of the surrounding city states. Unlike the others who were a more aristocratic type governments. The city state was ruled by two kings who were under the direction of a council of elders. All of the citizens, called Equals, trained and fought together in the same manner. There was no special treatment for certain individuals and everyone was a soldier. The only ones who were not were the elders, artisans/crafters and the Helots who were the servants. Even though the spartans were a highly militaristic society, they did conquer land out of greed and for conquering's sake. They only conquered there own region to keep their land and helots safe, the only time they left their borders with weapons was in self defense.


The Spartans, like most of ancient greece, worshiped the Olympian gods: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Hephestaus, Hermes, and many other lesser deities. The goddess of wisdom and war, Athena, was the patron goddess of Sparta. But the Spartans worshipped Artemis, the goddess of the moon and the hunt. The Artemis Orthia was the central place of Spartan religion and the "coming of age" ritual for young boys took place here. They were beaten until their flesh was torn and Artemis' altar was soaked with blood. This was to prepare the boys for when they were warriors.


The spartan economy was mainly a large agricultural one. All of the hard labour was done by the Helmots and the revenue from that labour was used by the perioci to trade with other city-states in exchange for metals, wood, hard money, and anything else needed for the spartan soldiers.


Sparta, being a very militaristic society, was thought to not have excelled in the realm of art and architecture. But in reality they were renowned for their dancing and many of the first heterosexual love poems were written in Sparta. The two most architecturally famous buildings in Sparta were the Menelaion and the Amyklaion. The Menelaion was located near the remains of a Mycenaean palace and Helen. The Amyklaion was created in the golden age of Sparta, the temple had a giant bronze statue of Apollo and surrounded by coulombs and stoa.


Sparta was not a very scientific and technological society, this is an exception when it came to military tactics. Before the Spartan invention of the phalanx the art of war was less tactical and more about brute force. In the phalanx formation the soldiers would be in a type of square/rectangle of different dimensions. The leading rank stuck there spears through the spaces between their shields and continuously advanced forward. If the first rank fell the second rank would lower their spears in the same fashion and so on and so on.


Spartan education is not the same kind of education one would think of today. There were no classrooms, homework, or tests, only blood sweat and tears. The education of a spartan male began at the age of 7 years old when they were taken from their homes to be trained as soldiers who could take orders and capable of enduring hardships and this education did not end till the age of thirty. The education of a women was different for the most part. They were taught the values of a house wife and to keep themselves healthy and have healthy habits so that they could produce more healthy warriors.

Social Life-

Sparta had five social classes within its society. The Helmots, who were more or less slave labour and did all of the hard physical labor for Sparta. The Perioci, these people were the non warriors of Sparta who were not completely part of the society but took the goods from the labor and traded it for money and anything else the warriors needed. The Citizens, who were the warriors and wives of the warriors of Sparta, no explanation needed for this class. The Council of Elders, this is the class that made spartan government different than other parts of greece. These were elders of spartan society that advised the two kings of what they should do when it came to foreign and domestic affairs, economy, and other issue. This was an early basic form of democracy. The fifth class is the Two ruler Kings of Sparta. The most famous of these kings is Leonidas who defended Sparta from the great persian army. Leonidas had 7000-8000 spartans, and 7000 allies from other city-states under spartan control. When the Spartans were loosing the battle he sent back most of the warriors and kept a rear guard of 300 of the best Spartans to protect the main army's retreat. This was the main plot for the movie 300™ and this was the original example of "death before dishonor."


The Battle of Marathon-

In our research there was not much information about the actual city/state of marathon, but there was much on the battle that occurred there. The battle of Marathon happened in 490 B.C. and was one, if not the, most important Persian/Greek battles of that time. It was the first defeat the Persian military felt at the hands of the greeks and proved that Greece was a force to be reckoned with. The Persians had around 12000-15000 men and 1000 Calvary, but at the time of battle the Calvary was a mile and a river away. The Athenian plan of attack was to be quick so that the Persians would not be able to get their reinforcements in time to assist them. The Athenians basically corralled the persians into a circle the retreated for a counter attack. At the end of the battle the persians lost 6400 men and 7 ships, the athenians lost only 192 men. But there was no time to celebrate the victory because the remaining persian army was headed for Athens. When the Persians arrived the Athenians were already there in defensive positions, the Persians decided to go home.


"Sparta." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 3 Oct. 2010. <>

2."Economy of Sparta." fjkluth . RWAAG, n.d. Web. 3 Oct. 2010.
3."Cultural Achievements." Sparta Reconsidered. Eyslum, 10 July 2010.
Web. 2 Oct. 2010. <>.


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