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Sparta. By: Nadia Hilton-Adams Camille & Zakiya. Geography. Ancient Sparta was located in the southern end of Greece and was bordered by two large mountains, called the Taygetos and the Parnon Mountains. Because of

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By: Nadia Hilton-Adams Camille & Zakiya


Ancient Sparta was located in the southern end of Greece and was bordered by two

large mountains, called the Taygetos and the Parnon Mountains. Because of

these mountains, it was very difficult to invade and easier to defend.

Sparta was also on the right bank of the theEurotas River. Sparta being only 25 miles

from water helped them to have lots of crops and good soil to grow crops like olives,

wheat grapes and figs.

Sparta was also the capital of a region of the Peloponnese called Laconia and

sometimes the Spartans were called Laconians.

Modern day Sparta was founded by the government in 1834. It occupies part of the site

of ancient Sparta and is the capital of the department of Laconía.

Not much of Ancient Sparta is still around because Sparta was simple City not a lot of

buildings but they did find ruins of temples, public buildings and a theatre.

olive grove in Sparta


About the photo:

In the ruins of Ancient Agora this second oldest amphitheatre in Greece once had a rotating stage.

The mountains and valley areas of Sparta

Geography cont
Geography Cont.


Modern and Ancient View of Sparta

This picture shows an outline of ancient Sparta layered over an aerial satellite-google view of the modern city.


Spartan timeline
Spartan Timeline

Spartan government
Spartan Government


  • Spartan government was run by two Kings (by bloodline/heritage), Ephorate or Ephors (Magistrates) and a Council of 28 Elders (which included the two kings).


  • The Kings led the army in times of War


  • The Ephorate (Chief Magistrates)

    • The Ephors (magistrates) were elected but came from wealthy families

      • Worked with the King

      • Controlled the secret police called the Krypteia

  • The Gerousia (Council of Elders) had to be 60 years or older

  • The Eclesia-was the assembly and could vote yes or no. They had to be over 18

  • The government leaders held meetings with groups of citizens of Sparta to discuss and vote for their laws.


Citizens of Sparta had to be descendants of the first Doric invaders who founded/created the City. Because of this, Spartan citizens were usually no more than 6,000-7,000 at a time.

Non-Citizens outnumbered citizens in Sparta but the non-citizens didn’t challenge the system because of the military style of government and the way the system was organized.  


Spartan Warfare


The Spartan army was known for their bravery and great skills on the battle

field. They spent most of their life in war or getting ready for war. They

were the best fighters on land but weren’t every really good at sea battle.

During battles Spartan men wore bronze breastplates, helmets, cheek

plates and crimson capes called cloaks.

As weapons, Spartans used spears called dorus that was 7-9 feet long.

They also used Kopis, which was a short sword that the Spartans used

to slice and stab their enemies when they were close enough. This sword

was curved and heavy.

Spartans and others used many front line soldiers that were called hoplites .

But the Spartans were the only ones to get this way of lining up (formation)

just right. As a group/unit, the hoplites would form a tight, special formation

that was called a phalanx formation. As long as everybody stayed together in

this special formation it was almost impossible to beat the Spartans in battles.

The line of hoplites was each soldier holding his ground while the back lines

behind them moved forward to fill in the gaps moving forward to fill the places

where their fellow soldiers had died in battle. If everyone wasn’t together in

working and filling in the gaps and fighting then it would risk the lives of them


Every Spartan army was fighting like just one soldier. Their shields to

protect themselves but it is meant to protect the soldier directly beside him

on the left.

Spartan Kopis


Spartan Warfare Cont.

  • Shock combat

  • Fighting the Spartan Army was made of waves of a lot of attacks at one time. See below:

  • 1. Ephodos: The hoplites stop singing battle hymns and then they run at top speed and right before impact they suddenly break their silence yelling their war cries and screaming.

  • Krousis: The opposite formation lines or phalanxes (usually 20 to 50 thousand men) met each other almost simultaneously in their locations on the frontline. The promachoe or the front-liners had to be physically and psycologially fitted to sustain and survive the speed of that clashing.

  • Doratismos: quick rapid spear thrusts in order to disrupt the enemy formation.

  • Othismos: "pushing" after the most spears have broken, the hoplites begin to push with their large shields then use their swords (Kopis) sword. This is the longest of all the phases.

  • Pararrhexis: Breaking through the enemies phalanx, was another quick way to end and the battle ends.

  • ***If a soldier died with or came back from battle with his shield he was a hero but if he came back without it he was a coward.

King Leonidas

5th Century Spartan Military King

Most famous for his three day stand at the

Battle of Thermopylae

Spartan culture
Spartan Culture


The Spartans believed very much in strength, bravery and honor. So Spartan culture for a man and women was strict in some ways .

The Spartans gave their babies baths in wine when they were born. Then an Elder Council inspected each baby and if they considered the baby weak then the baby was left to die on the slope of Mount Taygetos.

If the baby lived, then that baby was worthy of being a Spartan and was brought back to the family. The Spartans believed that this was their children’s first test of their strength.

By the age of 7, male Spartans were taken from their mothers and families and were put through years of harsh training camp called agoge. When they turned 12, they had to sleep outside with one pair of clothes and no shoes for a whole year. Then they went back to living with the other soldiers in the barracks. At 20 they were now soldiers but had to still stay in the group barracks and couldn’t marry or have children or become a landowner and until he was 30 years old. They were still Spartan soldiers until they were 60-that’s when they could retire.


Spartan women were said to be athletic and beautiful. They were given formal education but they were not allowed to use it to earn money or have jobs. They could speak in public about politics and could speak to men in public too. They were allowed to exercise because the Spartans believed that fit women made strong and athletic babies. Spartan women were also free and considered to be citizens. Women could own property too.


Perioeci or the dwellers around or about. were foreigners who were good at talking to the Helots and the Spartans. They kept a lot of the peace because they could do this. So, they were treated pretty well. Most of the commerce and trade in Sparta was done by the Perioeci and they were also free.

The Helots were slaves. They were given out to the Spartans as servants to clean houses and farm the land. They weren’t treated well by the Spartans. Every year large groups of them were killed by the secret police of Sparta (Crypteia). Helots could live in family units so and were able to keep some of the crops if they raised over the amount needed. They helped to keep the economy alive.

***In the year 223 BC 6,000 helots purchased their freedom for 500 drachmas each.

***Spartans lived a simple life and didn’t believe in luxury.

Spartan religion
Spartan Religion

The Spartans worshiped a goddess whose name was Artemis Orthia.

Her name means standing erect or upright.

The Spartans also worshipped a God named Ares who was the God of


This showed a great deal of symbolism because when boys went through the

coming of age ritual they would stand upright on the steps of Sparta's

Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia and be beat until their flesh was torn and


The Spartans believed that this ritual prepared Spartan men for the

brutality of warfare and how it would be when your fighting.

They believed that their goddess Artemis wasn’t satisfied until the

sanctuary was covered in blood from the young men.

The sanctuary of Artemis Orthia


God of War

Artemis Orthia

Spartan photos
Spartan Photos


About the photo:

In the ruins of Ancient Agora this second oldest amphitheatre in Greece once had a rotating stage.


Additional References