Sunday, January 6, 2013

Plutarch also states that Spartans

Plutarch also states that Spartans treated the Helots "harshly and cruelly": they compelled them to drink pure wine (which was considered dangerous – wineusually being cut with water) "..HP Compaq HSTNN-XB52 Battery .and to lead them in that condition into their public halls, that the children might see what a sight a drunken man is; they made them to dance low dances, and sing ridiculous songs..." during syssitia (obligatory banquets).[51] Each year when the Ephors took office they ritually declared war on the helots, HP Compaq HSTNN-XB59 Battery thereby allowing Spartans to kill them without the risk of ritual pollution.[52]This seems to have been done by kryptes (sing. κρύπτης), graduates of the Agoge who took part in the mysterious institution known as the Krypteia.[53]Thucydides states: "The helots were invited by a proclamation to pick out those of their number who claimed to have most distinguished themselves against the enemy, HP Compaq HSTNN-XB61 Battery in order that they might receive their freedom; the object being to test them, as it was thought that the first to claim their freedom would be the most high spirited and the most apt to rebel. As many as two thousand were selected accordingly, who crowned themselves and went round the temples, rejoicing in their new freedom. HP Compaq HSTNN-XB62 Battery The Spartans, however, soon afterwards did away with them, and no one ever knew how each of them perished." The Perioikoi came from similar origins as the helots but occupied a significantly different position in Spartan society. Although they did not enjoy full citizen-rights, they were free and not subjected to the same restrictions as the helots. HP Compaq HSTNN-XB68 Battery The exact nature of their subjection to the Spartans is not clear, but they seem to have served partly as a kind of military reserve, partly as skilled craftsmen and partly as agents of foreign trade.[56] Perioikoic hoplites served increasingly with the Spartan army, explicitly at the Battle of Plataea, HP Compaq HSTNN-XB69 Battery and although they may also have fulfilled functions such as the manufacture and repair of armour and weapons,[57] they were increasingly integrated into the combat units of the Spartan army as the Spartiate population declined.[58] Spartan citizens were debarred by law from trade or manufacture, which consequently rested in the hands of the Perioikoi. HP Compaq HSTNN-XB85 Battery The Periokoi monopoly on trade and manufacturing in one of the richest territories of Greece explains in large part the loyalty of the perioikoi to the Spartan state. Lacedaemon was rich in natural resources, fertile and blessed with a number of good natural harbors. The periokoi could exploit these resources for their own enrichment, and did.[59] HP Compaq 500764-001 Battery Spartiates, on the other hand, were forbidden (in theory) from engaging in menial labor or trade, although there is evidence of Spartan sculptors,[60] and Spartans were certainly poets, magistrates, ambassadors, and governors as well as soldiers. Allegedly, Spartans were prohibited from possessing gold and silver coins, HP Compaq 500765-001 Battery and according to legend Spartan currency consisted of iron bars to discourage hoarding.[61][62] In fact, archeology has not produced evidence of this currency, and it is more likely that Sparta simply used currencies minted elsewhere. HP Compaq 501870-001 Battery The conspicuous display of wealth appears to have been discouraged, although this did not preclude the production of very fine, highly decorated bronze, ivory and wooden works of art and the production of jewellery. Archeology has produced many examples of all these objects, some of which are exquisite.[63] HP Compaq 513129-121 Battery Allegedly in connection with the Lycurgan Reforms (e.g. in the mid-8th Century BC), property had been divided into 9,000 equal portions as part of a massive land reform. Each citizen received one estate, a kleros, and thereafter was expected to derive his wealth from it.[64] HP Compaq 513129-141 Battery The land itself was worked by helots, who retained half the yield. From the other half, the Spartiate was expected to pay his mess (syssitia) fees, and the agoge fees for his children. However, we know nothing about whether land could be bought and sold, whether it could be inherited, if so by what system (primogeniture or equally divided among heirs), whether daughters received dowries and much more.[65] HP Compaq 513129-421 Battery What is clear is that from early on there were marked differences of wealth within the state, and these became even more serious after the law of Epitadeus, passed at some time after the Peloponnesian War, removed the legal prohibition of the gift or bequest of land.[66] By the mid-5th century, land had become concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite, HP Compaq 532497-221 Battery and the notion of all Spartan citizens being "equals" had become a farce. By Aristotle's day (384–322 BC) citizenship had been reduced from 9,000 to less than 1,000, and then further decreased to 700 at the accession of Agis IV in 244 BC. Attempts were made to remedy this situation by creating new laws. HP Compaq 532497-241 Battery Certain penalties were imposed upon those who remained unmarried or who married too late in life. These laws, however, came too late and were ineffective in reversing the trend. Sparta was above all a militarist state, and emphasis on military fitness began virtually at birth. Shortly after birth, a mother would bathe her child in wine to see whether the child was strong. HP Compaq 532497-421 Battery If the child survived it was brought before the Gerousia by the child's father. The Gerousia then decided whether it was to be reared or not. If they considered it "puny and deformed", the baby was thrown into a chasm on Mount Taygetos known euphemistically as the Apothetae (Gr.,ποθέται, "Deposits").HP Compaq 572186-001 Battery This was, in effect, a primitive form of eugenics.[67] Sparta is often portrayed as being unique in this matter, however there is considerable evidence that the killing of unwanted children was practiced in other Greek regions, including Athens.[69] When Spartans died, marked headstones would only be granted to soldiers who died in combat during a victorious campaign or women who died either in service of a divine office or in childbirth. HP Compaq 572187-001 Battery When male Spartans began military training at age seven, they would enter the Agoge system. The Agoge was designed to encourage discipline and physical toughness and to emphasise the importance of the Spartan state. Boys lived in communal messes and, according to Xenophon, HP Compaq 572188-001 Battery whose sons attended the agoge, the boys were fed "just the right amount for them never to become sluggish through being too full, while also giving them a taste of what it is not to have enough.[70] Besides physical and weapons training, boys studied reading, writing, music and dancing. HP Compaq 572189-001 Battery Special punishments were imposed if boys failed to answer questions sufficiently 'laconically' (i.e. briefly and wittily).[71] There is some evidence that in late-Classical and Hellenistic Sparta boys were expected to take an older male mentor, usually an unmarried young man. However, there is no evidence of this in archaic Sparta. HP Compaq 572190-001 Battery According to some sources, the older man was expected to function as a kind of substitute father and role model to his junior partner; however, others believe it was reasonably certain that they had sexual relations (the exact nature of Spartan pederasty is not entirely clear).[72] It is notable, however, that the only contemporary source with direct experience of the agoge, Xenophon, explicitly denies the sexual nature of the relationship[70] HP Compaq 572191-001 Battery Post 465 BC, some Spartan youth apparently became members of an irregular unit known as the Krypteia. The immediate objective of this unit was to seek out and kill any helots as part of the larger program of terrorising and intimidating the helot population.[73] HP Compaq 583256-001 Battery Less information is available about the education of Spartan girls, but they seem to have gone through a fairly extensive formal educational cycle, broadly similar to that of the boys but with less emphasis on military training. In this respect, classical Sparta was unique in ancient Greece. In no other city-state did women receive any kind of formal education. HP Compaq 586031-001 Battery At age 20, the Spartan citizen began his membership in one of the syssitia (dining messes or clubs), composed of about fifteen members each, of which every citizen was required to be a member. Here each group learned how to bond and rely on one another. The Spartans were not eligible for election for public office until the age of 30. HP Compaq 408545-001 Battery Only native Spartans were considered full citizens and were obliged to undergo the training as prescribed by law, as well as participate in and contribute financially to one of the syssitia.[75] Sparta is thought to be the first city to practice athletic nudity, and some scholars claim that it was also the first to formalize pederasty.[76] HP Compaq 408545-141 Battery According to these sources, the Spartans believed that the love of an older, accomplished aristocrat for an adolescent was essential to his formation as a free citizen. The agoge, the education of the ruling class, was, they claim, founded on pederastic relationships required of each citizen,[77] with the lover responsible for the boy's training. HP Compaq 408545-142 Battery However, other scholars question this interpretation. Xenophon explicitly denies it,[70] as does Plutarch.[78] Aristotle in his critique of the Spartan constitution claims that the lack of homosexuality among Spartan men explained the, in his opinion deplorable, power of Spartan women. HP Compaq 408545-241 Battery Aristotle's assessment is intriguingly conform with the argument of modern pyschologists that pederasty produces misogyny. Since there was no society in the ancient world in which women enjoyed higher status, greater freedom or more economic power than in Sparta, the role of Spartan women would appear to refute the allegations of widespread, institutionalized pederasty. HP Compaq 408545-261 Battery The Spartans, claims Athenaeus[79] sacrificed to Eros before every battle, but Eros had many roles and meanings in Ancient Greece, not least of which was as the God of procreation - not something appropriate for homosexual love. Thus the practice neither proves nor disproves the role of pederasty in Spartan society. HP Compaq 408545-262 Battery Spartan men remained in the active reserve until age 60. Men were encouraged to marry at age 20 but could not live with their families until they left their active military service at age 30. They called themselves "homoioi" (equals), pointing to their common lifestyle and the discipline of the phalanx, which demanded that no soldier be superior to his comrades.[80] HP Compaq 408545-621 Battery Insofar as hoplite warfare could be perfected, the Spartans did so.[81] Thucydides reports that when a Spartan man went to war, his wife (or another woman of some significance) would customarily present him with his shield and say: "With this, or upon this" (Ἢ τὰν ἢ ἐπὶ τᾶς, Èi tàn èi èpì tàs), meaning that true Spartans could only return to Sparta either victorious (with their shield in hand) or dead (carried upon it). HP Compaq 408545-721 Battery Unfortunately, poignant as this image may be, it is almost certainly propaganda. Spartans buried their battle dead on or near the battle field; corpses were not brought back on their hoplons.[83] Nevertheless, it is fair to say that it was less of a disgrace for a soldier to lose his helmet, breastplate or greaves than his hoplon, HP Compaq 408545-741 Battery since the former were designed to protect one man, whereas the hoplon also protected the man on his left. Thus the shield was symbolic of the individual soldier's subordination to his unit, his integral part in its success, and his solemn responsibility to his comrades in arms – messmates and friends, often close blood relations. HP Compaq 408545-761 Battery According to Aristotle, the Spartan military culture was actually short-sighted and ineffective. He observed: It is the standards of civilized men not of beasts that must be kept in mind, for it is good men not beasts who are capable of real courage. HP Compaq 409357-001 Battery Those like the Spartans who concentrate on the one and ignore the other in their education turn men into machines and in devoting themselves to one single aspect of city's life, end up making them inferior even in that. Aristotle, of course, was an Athenian and a harsh critic of the Spartan constitution and way of life. HP Compaq 409357-002 Battery There is considerable evidence that the Spartans, certainly in the archaic period, were not educated as one-sidely as Aristotle asserts. In fact, the Spartans were also rigorously trained in logic and philosophy.[85] One of the most persistent myths about Sparta that has no basis in fact is the notion that Spartan HP Compaq 412779-001 Battery mothers were without feelings toward their off-spring and helped enforce a militaristic lifestyle on their sons and husbands.[86][87] The myth can be traced back to Plutarch, who includes no less than 17 "sayings" of "Spartan women," all of which paraphrase or elaborate on the theme that Spartan mothers rejected their own offspring if they showed any kind of cowardice. HP Compaq 415306-001 Battery In some of these sayings, mothers revile their sons in insulting language merely for surviving a battle. These sayings purporting to be from Spartan women were far more likely to be of Athenian origin and designed to portray Spartan women as unnatural and so undeserving of pity. HP Compaq 418867-001 Battery The custom was to capture women for marriage(...) The so-called 'bridesmaid' took charge of the captured girl. She first shaved her head to the scalp, then dressed her in a man's cloak and sandals, and laid her down alone on a mattress in the dark. The bridegroom – who was not drunk and thus not impotent, HP Compaq 418871-001 Battery but was sober as always – first had dinner in the messes, then would slip in, undo her belt, lift her and carry her to the bed. The husband continued to visit his wife in secret for some time after the marriage. These customs, unique to the Spartans, have been interpreted in various ways. HP Compaq 441675-001 Battery The "abduction" may have served to ward off the evil eye, and the cutting of the wife's hair was perhaps part of a rite of passage that signalled her entrance into a new life. Spartan women, of the citizenry class, enjoyed a status, power, and respect that was unknown in the rest of the classical world. The higher status of females in Spartan society started at birth; HP Compaq 443884-001 Battery unlike Athens, Spartan girls were fed the same food as their brothers.[92] Nor were they confined to their father's house and prevented from exercising or getting fresh air as in Athens, but exercised and even competed in sports.[92] Most important, rather than being married off at the age of 12 or 13, HP Compaq 443885-001 Battery Spartan law forbade the marriage of a girl until she was in her late teens or early 20s. The reasons for delaying marriage were to ensure the birth of healthy children, but the effect was to spare Spartan women the hazards and lasting health damage associated with pregnancy among adolescents. HP Compaq 446398-001 Battery Spartan women, better fed from childhood and fit from exercise, stood a far better chance of reaching old age than their sisters in other Greek cities, where the median age for death was 34.6 years or roughly 10 years below that of men.[93] Unlike Athenian women who wore heavy, concealing clothes and were rarely seen outside the house, HP Compaq 446399-001 Battery Spartan women wore dresses (peplos) slit up the side to allow freer movement and moved freely about the city, either walking or driving chariots. Girls as well as boys exercised, possibly in the nude, and young women as well as young men may have participated in the Gymnopaedia ("Festival of Nude Youths").HP Compaq 451085-121 Battery Spartan women were also literate and numerate, a rarity in the ancient world. Furthermore, as a result of their education and the fact that they moved freely in society engaging with their fellow (male) citizens, they were notorious for speaking their minds even in public. Most important, Spartan women had economic power because they controlled their own properties, and those of their husbands. HP Compaq 451085-141 Battery It is estimated that in later Classical Sparta, when the male population was in serious decline, women were the sole owners of at least 35% of all land and property in Sparta.[97] The laws regarding a divorce were the same for both men and women. Unlike women in Athens, HP Compaq 451085-661 Battery if a Spartan woman became the heiress of her father because she had no living brothers to inherit (an epikleros), the woman was not required to divorce her current spouse in order to marry her nearest paternal relative.[98] Many women played a significant role in the history of Sparta. HP Compaq 451086-001 Battery Queen Gorgo, heiress to the throne and the wife of Leonidas I, was an influential and well-documented figure. Herodotus records that as a small girl she advised her father Cleomenes to resist a bribe. She was later said to be responsible for decoding a warning that the Persian forces were about to invade Greece; HP Compaq 451086-121 Battery after Spartan generals could not decode a wooden tablet covered in wax, she ordered them to clear the wax, revealing the warning.[100] Plutarch's Moralia contains a collection of "Sayings of Spartan Women", including a laconic quip attributed to Gorgo: when asked by a woman from Attica why Spartan women were the only women in the world who could rule men, she replied "Because we are the only women who are mothers of men".HP Compaq 451086-161 Battery Laconophilia is love or admiration of Sparta and of the Spartan culture or constitution. Sparta was subject of considerable admiration in its day, even in its rival, Athens. In ancient times "Many of the noblest and best of the Athenians always considered the Spartan state nearly as an ideal theory realised in practice."[102] HP Compaq 451086-621 Battery Many Greek philosophers, especially Platonists, would often describe Sparta as an ideal state, strong, brave, and free from the corruptions of commerce and money. With the revival of classical learning in Renaissance Europe, Laconophilia re-appears, for examples in the writings ofMachiavelli. HP Compaq 451086-661 Battery The Elizabethan English constitutionalist John Aylmer compared the mixed government of Tudor England to the Spartan republic, stating that "Lacedemonia [meaning Sparta], [was] the noblest and best city governed that ever was". He commended it as a model for England. HP Compaq 451568-001 Battery The Swiss-French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau contrasted Sparta favourably with Athens in his Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, arguing that its austere constitution was preferable to the more cultured nature of Athenian life. Sparta was also used as a model of social purity by Revolutionary and Napoleonic France.[103] HP Compaq 456864-001 Battery Certain early Zionists, and particularly the founders of Kibbutz movement in Israel, had been influenced by Spartan ideals, particularly as a model for education. Tabenkin, for example, a founding father of the Kibbutz and the Palmach, was influenced by Spartan education. HP Compaq 456865-001 Battery He prescribed that education for warfare "should begin from the nursery", that children should from kindergarten age be taken to "spend nights in the mountains and valleys".[104][105] A new element of Laconophilia by Karl Otfried Müller, who linked Spartan ideals to the supposed racial superiority of the Dorians, the ethnic sub-group of the Greeks to which the Spartans belonged. HP Compaq 458640-542 Battery

No comments:

Post a Comment