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Aim: What was the culture of Sparta like?. January 7, 2013. I. The Polis. By the 700s B.C., the Greek Dark Ages were ending and new city-states were coming to power. Another term for city-state is polis.

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i the polis
I. The Polis
  • By the 700s B.C., the Greek Dark Ages were ending and new city-states were coming to power. Another term for city-state is polis.
  • Each polis had a fortified hill called an acropolis, where the temple of the local god or goddess was located. At the foot of the hill was the agora, or marketplace.

C. Each city-state had its own government and laws. Only adult men were citizens and could vote, own land, hold public office, speak for themselves in court.

D. The two most powerful city-states were Sparta and Athens.

ii sparta
II. Sparta
  • Located in southeastern Greece, in a region called the Peloponnesus.

B. Social Classes:

    • Aristocrats: Owned most of the land and were the only ones allowed to be citizens.
    • Perioeci: Merchants and artisans - not enslaved or citizens.
    • Helots: Slaves who do all the farming and give one half of their crops to the aristocrats.They outnumber free Spartans 7-1, eventually they rebel. Spartans put down the revolt, but it’s a difficult struggle.

How could the helot revolt influence the development of Sparta?


C. For a man, life in Sparta was based around the military :

  • Birth: Newborns that were healthy lived. Unhealthy babies were left on hillside to die
  • Age 7: Boys were sent to live in military camps
    • Learned to read, write, use weapons
    • Given small amounts of food
    • Walked barefoot, spoke only when necessary
    • Slept outdoors

Age 20: Men enrolled in the army for regular military service. They could marry, but still had to live and eat in the military barracks.

  • Age 30: Men can now live at home with their families, but still have to serve in the military
  • Age 60: Men can retire from the military

D. Women in Sparta

  • Spartan girls received an education similar to that of boys  taught to run, wrestle and throw a javelin
  • Spartan women had greater freedom of movement and power in the household than other women in Greece.

E. Spartans believed that new ideas would weaken their way of life, so they tried to prevent change:

  • Will not switch to using coins as money
  • Refuse to develop literature or art
  • Don’t build up business or trade
concluding activity
Concluding Activity
  • Pretend that you are an average man, woman or child living in Sparta. Write a one paragraph (at least 5-6 sentences) diary entry in which you talk about your daily life. Some things you could write about include:
    • Job / responsibilities that you have in your society
    • The way you are expected to behave / rules you have to follow
    • What your education is / was like
    • How you feel about living in Sparta and your way of life