What were some differences between Sparta and Athens?


Athens, usually classified as a limited democracy. Sparta, usually classified as an oligarchy (rule by a few), but it, More?

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The Phyle Campaign was the civil war that resulted from the Spartan imposition of a narrow oligarchy on Athens (see Thirty Tyrants) and resulted in the restoration of Athenian democracy. The Thirty were short of funds and this led them to persecute wealthy Athenians of whatever political views. Many fled to Boeotia and Corinth who offered asylum in defiance of Sparta. Due to both deference to Sparta and to their cash shortage the Thirty had left Athens' border forts ungarrisoned which allowed a group of Athenian exiles to seize the fort of Phyle in 404/403 BCE. The leader of the exiles, initially only some 70 strong, was Thrasybulus who had a reputation as a moderate democrat and so ideal to unite all democratic opponents of the thirty. A force of Athenian cavalry and Spartans was sent against Phyle, but was defeated in two surprise attacks by Thrasybulus. Thrasybulus then marched on Piraeus and defeated the force the thirty sent against him at the Battle of Munychia. Sparta first responded by sending Lysander with a force of mercenaries who clearly intended simply to place the thirty back in power. Very quickly, however, Sparta sent King Pausanias with a levy of the Peloponesian League. Pausanias defeated the democrats in the Battle of Piraeus However he opened negotiations and accepted the restoration of democracy but insisted on the separation Eleusis as a safe haven for the oligarchs. Lysander's faction at Sparta was furious and along with King Agis brought Pausanias to trial to the end of 403 BCE. The exact charge is uncertain but the essence was presumably that he had been soft on Athens. Fifteen of the Gerousia, including Agis, voted guilty and 14 against but all 5 Ephors voted non guilty so he was acquitted.
The History of Sparta describes the destiny of the ancient Dorian Greek state known as Sparta from its beginning in the legendary period to its incorporation into the Achaean League under the late Roman Republic, as Allied State, in 146 BC, a period of roughly 1000 years. Since the Dorians were not the first to settle the valley of the Eurotas River in the Peloponnesus of Greece, the preceding Mycenaean and Stone Age periods are described as well. Sparta went on to become a district of modern Greece. Brief mention is made of events in the post-classical periods. Dorian Sparta rose to dominance in the 6th century BC. At the time of the Persian Wars, it was the recognized leader by assent of the Greek city-states. It subsequently lost that assent through suspicion that the Athenians were plotting to break up the Spartan state after an earthquake destroyed Sparta. When Sparta defeated Athens in the Peloponnesian War, it secured an unrivaled hegemony over southern Greece. Sparta's supremacy was broken following the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. It was never able to regain its military supremacy and was finally absorbed by the Achaean League in the 2nd century BC. The earliest certain evidence of human settlement in the region of Sparta, consists of pottery dating from the Middle Neolithic period found in the vicinity of Kouphovouno some two kilometres southwest of Sparta. This civilization seems to have fallen into decline by the late Bronze Age, when, according to Herodotus, Macedonian tribes from the north marched into Peloponnese, where they were called Dorians and subjugating the local tribes, settled there. Tradition describes how, some sixty years after the Trojan War, a Dorian migration from the north took place and eventually led to the rise of classical Sparta. This tradition is, however, contradictory and was written down at a time long after the events they supposedly describe. Hence skeptics like Karl Julius Beloch have denied that any such event occurred. Chadwick has argued, on the basis of slight regional variations that he detected in Linear B, that the Dorians had previously lived in the Dorian regions as an oppressed majority, speaking the regional dialect, and emerged when they overthrew their masters. Archeologically; Sparta itself only begins to show signs of settlement around 1000 BC, some 200 years after the collapse of Mycenaean civilization. Of the four villages that made up the Spartan Polis, Forrest suggests that the two closest to the Acropolis were the originals and the two more far flung settlements, were of later foundation. The dual kingship may originate in the fusion of the first two villages. One of the effects of the Mycenaean collapse had been a sharp drop in population. Following that there was a significant recovery, and this growth in population is likely to have been more marked in Sparta, as it was situated in the most fertile part of the plain. Between the 8th and 7th centuries BC the Spartans experienced a period of lawlessness and civil strife, later testified by both Herodotus and Thucydides. As a result they carried out a series of political and social reforms of their own society which they later attributed to a semi-mythical lawgiver, Lycurgus. These reforms mark the beginning of the history of Classical Sparta. It is during the reign of King Charillos, that most ancient sources place the life of Lycurgus. Indeed, the Spartans ascribed their subsequent success to Lycurgus, who instituted his reforms at a time when Sparta was weakened by internal dissent and lacked the stability of a united and well-organized community. There are reasons to doubt whether he ever existed, as his name derives from the word for "wolf" which was associated with Apollo, hence Lycurgus could be simply a personification of the god. J. F. Lazenby suggests, that the dual monarchy may date from this period as a result of a fusion of the four villages of Sparta which had, up until then, formed two factions of the villages of Pitana-Mesoa against the villages of Limnai-Konoura. According to this view, the Kings, who tradition says ruled before this time, were either totally mythical or at best factional chieftains. Lazenby further hypothesizes that other reforms such as the introduction of the Ephors were later innovations that were attributed to Lycurgus. The Dorians seem to have set about expanding the frontiers of Spartan territory almost before they had established their own state. They fought against the Argive Dorians to the east and southeast, and also the Arcadian Achaeans to the northwest. The evidence suggests that Sparta, relatively inaccessible because of the topography of the plain of Sparta, was secure from early on: it was never fortified. Sparta shared the plain with Amyklai which lay to the south and was one of the few places to survive from Mycaenean times and was likely to be its most formidable neighbor. Hence the tradition that Sparta, under its kings Archelaos and Charillos moved north to secure the upper Eurotas valley is plausible. Pharis and Geronthrae were then taken and, though the traditions are a little contradictory, also Amyclae which probably fell in about 750 BC . It is probable that the inhabitants of Geronthrae were driven out while those of Amyclae were simply subjugated to Sparta. Pausanias portrays this as a Dorian versus Achaean conflict. The Dark age was a horrific time in Sparta where thousands died. However, whilst the archaeological record throws doubt on this, such a cultural distinction is invisible in the archeology. Tyrtaeus tells that the war to conquer the Messenians, their neighbors on the west, led by Theopompus, lasted 19 years and was fought in the time of the fathers of our fathers. If this phrase is to be taken literally, it would mean that the war occurred around the end of the 8th century BC or the beginning of the 7th. The historicity of the Second Messenian War was long doubted, as neither Herodotus or Thucydides mentions a second war. However, in the opinion of Kennell, a fragment of Tyrtaeus (published in 1990) gives us some confidence that it really occurred (probably in the later 7th century). It was as a result of this second war, according to fairly late sources, that the Messenians were reduced to the semi slave status of helots. According to Herodotus the Argives' territory once included the whole of Cynuria, the east coast of the Peloponnese, and the island of Cythera Kennell finds this a little extreme but the low population of Cynuria that is apparent from archeology, does suggest that it was a contested zone. In the Second Messenian War, Sparta established itself as a local power in Peloponnesus and the rest of Greece. During the following centuries, Sparta's reputation as a land-fighting force was unequaled. Early in the 6th century BC, the Spartan kings Leon and Agasicles made a vigorous attack on Tegea, the most powerful of the Arcadian cities. For some time Sparta had no success against Tegea and suffered a notable defeat at the Battle of the Fetters - the name reflected Spartan intentions to reduce the Tegea recognise it as hegemon. For Forrest this marked a change in Spartan policy, from enslavement to a policy of building an alliance that led to the creation of the Peloponesian League. Forrest, hesitantly attributes this change to Ephor Chilon. In building its alliance, Sparta gained two ends, protection of its conquest of Mesene and a free hand against Argos. The Battle of the Champions won about 546 BC (that is at the time that the Lydian Empire fell before Cyrus of Persia) made the Spartans masters of the Cynuria, the borderland between Laconia and Argolis. In 494 BC, King Cleomenes I, launched what was intended to be a final settling of accounts with the city of Argos - an invasion, with the capture of the city itself, as the objective. Argos did not fall but her losses in the battle of Sepiea would cripple Argos militarily, and lead to deep civil strife for some time to come. Sparta had come to be acknowledged as the leading state of Hellas and the champion of Hellenism. Croesus of Lydia had formed an alliance with it. Scythian envoys sought its aid to stem the invasion of Darius; to Sparta, the Greeks of Asia Minor appealed to withstand the Persian advance and to aid the Ionian Revolt; Plataea asked for Sparta's protection; Megara acknowledged their supremacy; and at the time of the Persian invasion under Xerxes no state questioned Sparta's right to lead the Greek forces on land or at sea. In the opinion of the 1911 Britannica, Sparta soon showed itself "wholly unworthy" of such a role. In support; the 1911 Britannica article cited its narrow Peloponnesian outlook - it was not a colonizing state, though the inhabitants of Tarentum (Greek Taras; modern Taranto in southern Italy), and of Lyttus, in Crete, claimed it as their mother-city. Furthermore, it had the reputation of hating tyrants and putting them down where possible, it was only to put in place oligarchies rather than democracies. At the end of the 6th century BC, Sparta made its first intervention north of the Isthmus when it got involved in Athenian politics by overthrowing Hippias in 510 BC. Dissension in Athens followed with conflict between Kleisthenes and Isagoras. King Cleomenes turned up in Attica with a small body of troops to back the more conservative Isagoras. Initially he succeeded but then the Athenians tired of this treatment and Cleomenes found himself holed up on the Acropolis. That was not the end for an expedition of the whole Peloponesian League. The expedition was to be led Kleomenes along with his co-King Demaratos. The specific aims of the expedition were kept secret. The secrecy proved disastrous and as dissension broke out the real aims became clearer. First the Corinthians departed. Then a row broke out between Cleomenes and Demaratos with Demaratos too, deciding to go home. As a result of this fiasco the Spartans decided in future, not to send out an army with both Kings at its head. It also seems to have changed the nature of the Peloponesian League. From that time, major decisions were discussed. Sparta was still clearly in charge, but it now had to carry its allies when it wanted something to happen. After hearing a plea for help from Athens who were facing the Persians at Marathon in 490 BC, Sparta decided to honor its laws and wait until the moon was full to send an army. As a result, Sparta's army arrived at Marathon after the battle had been won by the Athenians. In the second campaign, conducted ten years later by Xerxes, Sparta faced the same dilemma. The Persians inconveniently chose to attack during the Olympic truce which the Spartans felt they must honor. Other Greek states which lacked such foibles were making a major effort to assemble a fleet - how could Sparta not contribute on land when others were doing so much on sea? The solution was to provide a small force under Leonidas to defend Thermopylae. However there are indications that Sparta's religious scruples were merely a cover. From this interpretation, Sparta believed that the defense of Thermopylae was hopeless and wished to make a stand at the Isthmus, but they had to go through the motions or Athens might ally itself with Persia. The loss of Athens's fleet would simply be too great a loss to the Greek resistance to be risked. The alternative view is that, on the evidence of the actual fighting, the pass was supremely defensible, and that the Spartans might reasonably have expected that the forces sent, would be adequate. In 480 BC, a small force of Spartans, Thespians, and Thebans led by King Leonidas (approximately 300 were full Spartiates, 700 were Thespians, and 400 were Thebans; these numbers do not reflect casualties incurred prior to the final battle), made a legendary last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae against the massive Persian army, inflicting very high casualties on the Persian forces before finally being encircled. From then on Sparta took a more active share and assumed the command of the combined Greek forces by sea and land. The decisive victory of Salamis did not change Sparta's essential dilemma. Ideally, they would wish to fight at the Isthmus where they would avoid the risk of their infantry being caught in the open by the Persian cavalry. However, in 479 BC, the remaining Persian forces under Mardonius devastated Attica, Athenian pressure forced Sparta to lead an advance. The outcome was a standoff where both the Persians and the Greeks attempted to fight on favorable terrain, and this was resolved when the Persians attacked during a botched Greek withdrawal. In the resulting Battle of Plataea the Greeks under the generalship of the Spartan Pausanias overthrew the lightly armed Persian infantry, killing Mardonius. The superior weaponry, strategy, and bronze armour of the Greek hoplites and their phalanx again proved their worth one year later when Sparta assembled at full strength and led a Greek alliance against the Persians at the battle of Plataea. The decisive Greek victory at Plataea put an end to the Greco-Persian War along with Persian ambition of expanding into Europe. Even though this war was won by a pan-Greek army, credit was given to Sparta, who besides being the protagonist at Thermopylae and Plataea, had been the de facto leader of the entire Greek expedition. In the same year a united Greek fleet under the Spartan King, Leotychidas, won the victory of Mycale. When this victory led to a revolt of the Ionian Greeks it was Sparta that rejected their admission to the Hellenic alliance. Sparta proposed that they should abandon their homes in Anatolia and settle in the cities that had supported the Persians. It was Athens who, by offering these cities alliance sowed the seeds of the Delian League. In 478 BC, the Greek fleet led by Pausanias, the victor of Plataea, mounted moves on Cyprus and Byzantium. However, his arrogant behavior forced his recall. Pausanias had so alienated the Ionians that they refused to accept the successor, Dorcis, that Sparta sent to replace him. Instead those newly liberated from Persia turned to Athens. The sources give quite divergent impressions about Spartan reactions to Athens' growing power and this may reflect the divergence of opinion within Sparta. According to this view one Spartan faction was quite content to allow Athens to carry the risk of continuing the war with Persia while an opposing faction deeply resented Athens' challenge to their Greek supremacy. In later Classical times, Sparta along with Athens, Thebes, and Persia had been the main powers fighting for supremacy against each other. As a result of the Peloponnesian War, Sparta, a traditionally continental culture, became a naval power. At the peak of its power Sparta subdued many of the key Greek states and even managed to overpower the elite Athenian navy. By the end of the 5th century BC, it stood out as a state which had defeated the Athenian Empire and had invaded the Persian provinces in Anatolia, a period which marks the Spartan Hegemony. Sparta's attention was at this time, fully occupied by troubles nearer home; such as the revolt of Tegea (in about 473-471 BC), rendered all the more formidable by the participation of Argos. The most serious, however was the crisis caused by the earthquake which in 464 BC devastated Sparta, costing many lives. In the immediate aftermath, the helots saw an opportunity to rebel. This was followed by the siege of Ithome which the rebel helots had fortified. The pro-Spartan Cimon was successful in getting Athens to send help to put down the rebellion, but this would eventually backfire for the pro-Sparta movement in Athens. The Athenian hoplites that made up the bulk of the force were from the well-to-do section of Athenian society, but were nevertheless openly shocked to discover that the rebels were Greeks like themselves. Sparta began to fear that the Athenian troops might make common cause with the rebels. The Spartans subsequently sent the Athenians home. Providing the official justification that since the initial assault on Ithone had failed, what was now required was a blockade, a task the Spartans did not need Athenian help with. In Athens, this snub resulted in Athens breaking off its alliance with Sparta and allying with its enemy, Argos. Further friction was caused by the consummation of the Attic democracy under Ephialtes and Pericles. Paul Cartledge hazards that the revolt of helots and perioeci led the Spartans to reorganize their army and integrate the perioeci into the citizen hoplite regiments. Certainly a system where citizens and non citizens fought together in the same regiments was unusual for Greece. Hans van Wees is, however, unconvinced by the manpower shortage explanation of the Spartans' use of non citizen hoplites. He agrees that the integration of perioeci and citizens occurred sometime between the Persian and the Peloponesian Wars but doesn't regard that as a significant stage. The Spartans had been using non-citizens as hoplites well before that and the proportion did not change. He doubts that the Spartans ever subscribed to the citizen only hoplite force ideal, so beloved by writers such as Aristotle. The Peloponnesian Wars were the protracted armed conflicts, waged on sea and land, of the last half of the 5th century BC between the Delian League controlled by Athens and the Peloponnesian League dominated by Sparta over control of the other Greek states. The Delian League is often called "the Athenian Empire" by scholars. The Peloponnesian League believed it was defending itself against Athenian aggrandizement. The war had ethnic overtones that generally but not always applied: the Delian League included populations of Athenians and Ionians while the Peloponnesian League was mainly of Dorians, except that a third power, the Boeotians, had sided tentatively with the Peloponnesian League. They were never fully trusted by the Spartans. Ethnic animosity was fueled by the forced incorporation of small Dorian states into the Delian League, who appealed to Sparta. Motivations, however, were complex, including local politics and considerations of wealth. In the end Sparta won, but it declined soon enough and was soon embroiled with wars with Boeotia and Persia, until being overcome finally by Macedon. When the First Peloponnesian War broke out, Sparta was still preoccupied suppressing the helot revolt, hence its involvement was somewhat desultory. It amounted to little more than isolated expeditions, the most notable of which involved helping to inflict a defeat on the Athenians at the Battle of Tanagra in 457 BC in Boeotia. However they then returned home giving the Athenians an opportunity to defeat the Boeotians at the battle of Oenophyta and so overthowing Boeotia. When the helot revolt was finally ended, Sparta needed a respite, seeking and gaining a five year truce with Athens. By contrast, however, Sparta sought a thirty year peace with Argos to ensure that they could strike Athens unencumbered. Thus Sparta was fully able to exploit the situation when Megara, Boeotia and Euboea revolted, sending an army into Attica. The war ended with Athens deprived of its mainland possessions but keeping its vast Aegean Empire intact. Both of Sparta's Kings were exiled for permitting Athens to regain Euboea and Sparta agreed to a Thirty Year Peace.But the treaty was broken when Sparta warred with Euboea. Within six years, Sparta was proposing to its allies to go to war with Athens in support of the rebellion in Samos. On that occasion Corinth successfully opposed Sparta and they were voted down. When the Peloponnesian War, finally broke out in 431 BC the chief public complaint against Athens was its alliance with Corinth's enemy Korkyra and Athenenian treatment of Potidea. However according to Thucydides the real cause of the war was Sparta's fear of the growing power of Athens. The Second Peloponnesian War, fought from 431—404 BC would be the longest and costliest war in Greek history. Sparta entered with the proclaimed goal of the "liberation of the Greeks" — an aim that required a total defeat of Athens. Their method was to invade Attica in the hope of provoking Athens to give battle. Athens, meanwhile, planned a defensive war. The Athenians would remain in their city, behind their impenetrable walls, and use their naval superiority to harass the Spartan coastline. In 425 BC, a body of Spartans surrendered to the Athenians at Pylos, casting doubt onto their ability to win the war. This was ameliorated by the expedition of Brasidas to Thrace, the one area where Athens possessions were accessible by land, which made possible, the compromise of 421 BC known as the Peace of Nicias. The war between 431 and 421 BC is termed the "Archidamian War" after the Spartan king who invaded Attica when it began, Archidamus II. The war resumed in 415 BC and lasted until 404 BC. In 415 BC, Athens decided to capture Syracuse, a colony of Dorian Corinth. The arguments advanced in the assembly were that it would be a profitable possession and an enhancement of the empire. They invested a large portion of the state resources in a military expedition, but recalled one of its commanders, Alcibiades, on a trumped-up charge of impiety (some religious statues had been mutilated) for which he faced the death penalty. Escaping in his ship he deserted to Sparta. Having defaulted on the inquiry he was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death. At first Sparta hesitated to resume military operations. In 414 BC, a combined force of Athenians and Argives raided the Laconian coast, after which Sparta began to take Alcibiades' advice. The success of Sparta and the eventual capture of Athens in 404 BC were aided partly by that advice. He induced Sparta to send Gylippus to conduct the defence of Syracuse, to fortify Decelea in northern Attica, and to adopt a vigorous policy of aiding Athenian allies to revolt. The next year they marched north, fortified Deceleia, cut down all the olive groves, which produced Athens' major cash crop, and denied them the use of the countryside. Athens was now totally dependent on its fleet, then materially superior to the Spartan navy. Spartan generals showed themselves to be not only inexperienced at naval warfare but in the assessment of Forrest, they were often incompetent or brutal or both. Gylippus did not arrive alone at Syracuse. Collecting a significant force from Sicily and Spartan hoplites serving overseas he took command of the defense. The initial Athenian force under Nicias had sailed boldly into the Great Harbor of Syracuse to set up camp at the foot of the city, which was on a headland. Gylippus collected an international army of pro-Spartan elements from many parts of the eastern Mediterranean on the platform of liberation of Greece from the tyranny of Athens. Ultimately the Athenian force was not large enough to conduct an effective siege. They attempted to wall in the city but were prevented by a counter-wall. A second army under Demosthenes arrived. Finally the Athenian commanders staked everything on a single assault against a weak point on the headland, Epipolae, but were thrown back with great losses. They were about to depart for Athens when an eclipse of the full moon moved the soothsayers to insist they remain for another nine days, just the time needed for the Syracusians to prepare a fleet to block the mouth of the harbor. Events moved rapidly toward disaster for the Athenians. Attempting to break out of the harbor they were defeated in a naval battle. The admiral, Eurymedon, was killed. Losing confidence in their ability to win, they abandoned the remaining ships and the wounded and attempted to march out by land. The route was blocked at every crossing by Syracusians, who anticipated this move. The Athenian army marched under a rain of missiles. When Nicias inadvertently marched ahead of Demosthenes the Syracusians surrounded the latter and forced a surrender, to which that of Nicias was soon added. Both leaders were executed, despite the protests of Gylippus, who wanted to take them back to Sparta. Several thousand prisoners were penned up in the quarries without the necessities of life or the removal of the dead. After several months the remaining Athenians were ransomed. The failure of the expedition in 413 was a material loss the Athenians could hardly bear, but the war continued for another ten years. Spartan shortcomings at sea were by this time manifest to them, especially under the tuteledge of Alcibiades. The lack of funds which could have proved fatal to Spartan naval warfare, was remedied by the intervention of Persia, which supplied large subsidies. In 412 the agents of Tissaphernes, the Great King's governor of such parts of the coast of Asia Minor as he could control, approached Sparta with a deal. The Great King would supply funds for the Spartan fleet if the Spartans would guarantee to the king his ancestral lands; to wit, the coast of Asia Minor with the Ionian cities (it was not really Persian ancestral land). An agreement was reached. A Spartan fleet and negotiator was sent to Asia Minor. The negotiator was Alcibiades, now persona non grata in Sparta because of his new mistress, the wife of King Agis, then away commanding the garrison at Deceleia. After befriending Tissaphernes Alcibiades was secretly offered an honorable return to Athens if he would influence the latter on their behalf. He was a double agent, 411-407. The Spartans received little money or expert advice. By 408 the Great King had perceived that the agreement with the Spartans was not being implemented. He sent his brother, Cyrus the younger, to relieve Tissaphernes of his command of Lydia. Tissaphernes was pushed aside to the governorship of Caria. Exposed, Alcibiades departed for Athens in 407. In his place Sparta sent an agent of similar capabilities, a friend of King Agis, Lysander, who as "a diplomat and organizer ... was almost flawless, unless we count arrogance, dishonesty, unscrupulousness and brutality as flaws." He and Cyrus got along well. Upgrade of the Spartan fleet proceeded rapidly. In 406 Alcibiades returned as the commander of an Athenian squadron with the intent of destroying the new Spartan fleet, but it was too late. He was defeated by Lysander at the Battle of Notium. The suspicious Athenian government repudiated its arrangement with Alcibiades. He went into exile a second time, to take up residence in a remote villa in the Aegean, now a man without a country. Lysander's term as navarch then came to an end. He was replaced by Callicratidas but Cyrus now stinted his payments for the Spartan fleet. The funds allocated by the Great King had been used up. On Callicratides' defeat and death at the Battle of Arginusae the Spartans offered peace on generous terms. The Delian League would be left in place. Athens would still be allowed to collect tribute for its defense. The war party at Athens, however, mistrusted Sparta. One of its leaders, Cleophon, addressed the assembly wearing his armor, drunk. He demanded the Spartans withdraw from all cites they then held as a precondition of peace. The assembly rejected the Spartan offer. It undertook a new offensive against Spartan allies in the Aegean. In the winter of 406/405 those allies met with Cyrus at Ephesus. Together they formulated an appeal to Sparta that Lysander be sent out for a second term. Both Spartan political norms and the Spartan constitution should have prevented his second term, but in the wake of the new Spartan defeat a circumvention was found. Lysander would be the secretary of a nominal navarch, Aracus, with the rank of vice-admiral. Lysander was again entrusted with all the resources needed to maintain and operate the Spartan fleet. Cyrus supplied the funds from his own resources. The Great King now recalled Cyrus to answer for the execution of certain members of the royal family. Cyrus appointed Lysander governor in his place, giving him the right to collect taxes. This trust was justified in 404 BC when Lysander destroyed the Athenian fleet at the Battle of Aegospotami. Lysander then sailed at his leisure for Athens to impose a blockade. If he encountered a state of the Delian League on his way he gave the Athenian garrison the option of withdrawing to Athens; if they refused, their treatment was harsh. He replaced democracies with pro-Spartan decarchies under a Spartan harmost. After the Battle of Aegospotami the Spartan navy sailed where it pleased unopposed. A fleet of 150 ships entered the Saronic Gulf to impose a blockade on Piraeus. Athens was cut off. In the winter of 404 the Athenians sent a delegation to King Agis at Deceleia proposing to become a Spartan ally if only they would be allowed to keep the walls intact. He sent them on to Sparta. The delegation was turned back on the road by the ephors. After hearing the terms they suggested the Athenians return with better ones. The Athenians appointed Theramenes to discuss the matter with Lysander, but the latter had made himself unavailable. Theramenes found him, probably on Samos. After a wait of three months he returned to Athens saying that Lysander had delayed him and that he was to negotiate with Sparta directly. A board of nine delegates was appointed to go with Thermenes to Sparta. This time the delegation was allowed to pass. The disposition of Athens was then debated in the Spartan assembly, which apparently had the power of debate, of veto and of counterproposition. Moreover, the people in assembly were the final power. Corinth and Thebes proposed that Athens be leveled and the land be turned into a pasture for sheep. Agis supported by Lysander also recommended the destruction of the city. The assembly refused, stating that they would not destroy a city that had served Greece so well in the past, alluding to Athens' contribution to the defeat of the Persians. Instead the Athenians were offered terms of unconditional surrender: the long walls must be dismantled, Athens must withdraw from all states of the Delian League and Athenian exiles must be allowed to return. The Athenians could keep their own land. The returning delegates found the population of Athens starving to death. The surrender was accepted in assembly in April, 404, 27 years after the start of the war, with little opposition. A few weeks later Lysander arrived with a Spartan garrison. They began to tear down the walls to the tune of pipes played by young female pipers. Lysander reported to the ephors that "Athens is taken." The ephors complained of his wordiness, stating that "taken" would have been sufficient. Some modern historians have proposed a less altruistic reason for the Spartans' mercy — the need for a counterweight to Thebes — though Anton Powell sees this as an excess of hindsight. It is doubtful that the Spartans could have predicted that it would be Thebes that would someday pose a serious threat, later defeating the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra. Lysander's political opponents may have defended Athens not out of gratitude, but out of fear of making Lysander too powerful. In the spring of 404 BC, the terms of surrender required the Athenians to tear down the long walls between the city and the port of Piraeus. When internal dissent prevented the Athenians from restoring a government Lysander dissolved the democracy and set up a government of 30 oligarchs that would come to be known as the Thirty. These were pro-Spartan men. Originally voted into power by the Assembly with a mandate to codify the laws, they immediately requested the assistance of the Spartan garrison to arrest their enemies. With them they assassinated persons who were pro-democracy and confiscated their property. The disquiet of Sparta's allies in the Peloponnesian League can be seen in the defiance of Boeotia, Elis and Corinth in offering refuge to those who opposed the rule of the Thirty. Lysander departed Athens to establish decarchies, governing boards of 10 men, elsewhere in the former Athenian Empire, leaving the Spartan garrison under the command of the Thirty. Taking advantage of a general anti-Spartan backlash and a change of regime in Boeotia to an anti-Spartan government, the exiles and non-Athenian supporters (who were promised citizenship) launched an attack from Boeotia on Athens under Thrasybulus and in the Battle of Phyle followed by the Battle of Munichia and the Battle of Piraeus defeated the Athenian supporters of the Thirty with the Spartan garrison regaining partial control of Athens. They set up a decarchy. Athens was on the brink of civil war. Both sides sent delegates to present their case before King Pausanias. The Thirty were heard first. They complained that Piraeus was being occupied by a Boeotian puppet government. Pausanias immediately appointed Lysander harmost (governor), which required the assent of the ephors, and ordered him to Sparta with his brother, who had been made navarch over 40 ships. They were to put down the rebellion and expel the foreigners. After the Ten had been fully heard, Pausanias, obtaining the assent of three out of five ephors, went himself to Athens with a force including men from all the allies except the suspect Boeotia and Corinth. He met and superseded Lysander on the road. A battle ensued against Thrasybulus, whose forces killed two Spartan polemarchs but were driven at last into a marsh and trapped there. Pausanias broke off. He set up the board of 15 peace commissioners that had been sent with him by the Spartan assembly and invited both sides to a conference. The final reconciliation restored democracy to Athens. The Thirty held Eleusis, as they had previously massacred the entire population. It was made independent of Athens as a refuge for supporters of the Thirty. A general amnesty was declared. The Spartans ended their occupation. The former oligarchs repudiated the peace. After failure to raise assistance for their cause among the other states of Greece, they attempted a coup. Faced with the new Athenian state at overwhelming odds they were lured into a conference, seized and executed. Eleusis reverted to Athens. Sparta refused further involvement. Meanwhile, Lysander, who had been recalled to Sparta after his relief by Pausanias, with the assistance of King Agis (the second king) charged Pausanias with being too lenient with the Athenians. Not only was he acquitted by an overwhelming majority of the jurors (except for the supporters of Agis) including all five ephors, but the Spartan government repudiated all the decarchs that had been established by Lysander in former states of the Athenian Empire and ordered the former governments restored. The two major powers in the eastern Mediterranean in the 5th century BC had been Athens and Sparta. The defeat of Athens by Sparta resulted in Spartan hegemony in the early 4th century BC. Sparta's close relationship with Cyrus the Younger continued when she gave covert support to his attempt to seize the Persian throne. After Cyrus was killed at the Battle of Cunaxa, Sparta briefly attempted to be conciliatory towards Artaxerxes, the Persian King. In late 401 BC, however, Sparta decided to answer an appeal of several Ionian cities and sent an expedition to Anatolia. Though the war was fought under the banner of Greek liberty, the Spartan defeat at the Battle of Cnidus in 394 BC was widely welcomed by the Greek cities of the region. Though Persian rule meant to the cities of mainland Asia, the payment of tribute, this seems to have been considered a lesser evil than Spartan rule. At the end of 397 BC, Persia had sent a Rhodian agent with gifts to opponents of Sparta on the mailand of Greece. However, these inducements served mainly as encouragement to those who were already resentful of Sparta. In the event, it was Sparta who made the first aggressive move using, as a pretext, Boeotia's support for her ally Locris against Sparta's ally Phocis. An army under Lysander and Pausanias was despatched. As Pausanias was somewhat lukewarm to the whole enterprise, Lysander went on ahead. Having detached Orchomenos from the Boeotian League, Lysander was killed at the Battle of Haliartus. When Pausanias arrived rather than avenge the defeat he simply sought a truce to bury the bodies. For this Pausanias was prosecuted, this time successfully and went into exile. At the Battle of Coronea, Agesilaus I, the new king of Sparta, had slightly the better of the Boeotians and at Corinth, the Spartans maintained their position, yet they felt it necessary to rid themselves of Persian hostility and if possible use Persian power to strengthen their own position at home: they therefore concluded with Artaxerxes II the humiliating Peace of Antalcidas in 387 BC, by which they surrendered to the Great King of the Greek cities of the Asia Minor coast and of Cyprus, and stipulated for the autonomy of all other Greek cities. Finally, Sparta and Persia were given the right to make war on those who did not respect the terms of the treaty. It was to be a very one sided interpretation of autonomy, that Sparta enforced. The Boetian League was broken up on the one hand while the Spartan dominated Peloponesian League was excepted. Further, Sparta did not consider that autonomy included the right of a city to choose democracy over Sparta's preferred form of government. In 383 BC an appeal from two cities of the Chalkidice and of the King of Macedon gave Sparta a pretext to break up the Chalkidian League headed by Olynthus. After several years of fighting Olynthus was defeated and the cities of the Chalkidice were enrolled into the Peloponesian League. The real beneficiary of this conflict was Macedon, though Paul Cartledge considers it to be indulging in hindsight, to blame Sparta for enabling the rise of Philip II. During the Corinthian War Sparta faced a coalition of the leading Greek states: Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos. The alliance was initially backed by Persia, whose lands in Anatolia had been invaded by Sparta and which feared further Spartan expansion into Asia. Sparta achieved a series of land victories, but many of her ships were destroyed at the battle of Cnidus by a Greek-Phoenician mercenary fleet that Persia had provided to Athens. The event severely damaged Sparta's naval power but did not end its aspirations of invading further into Persia, until Conon the Athenian ravaged the Spartan coastline and provoked the old Spartan fear of a helot revolt. After a few more years of fighting in 387 BC, the Peace of Antalcidas was established, according to which all Greek cities of Ionia would return to Persian control, and Persia's Asian border would be free of the Spartan threat. The effects of the war were to reaffirm Persia's ability to interfere successfully in Greek politics and to affirm Sparta's weakened hegemonic position in the Greek political system. Sparta entered its long-term decline after a severe military defeat to Epaminondas of Thebes at the Battle of Leuctra. This was the first time that a Spartan army lost a land battle at full strength. In 382 BC, Phoebidas, while leading a Spartan army north against Olynthus made a detour to Thebes and seized the Kadmeia, the citadel of Thebes. The leader of the anti-Spartan faction was executed after a show trial, and a narrow clique of pro-Spartan partisans was placed in power in Thebes, and other Boeotian cities. It was a flagrant breach of the Peace of Antalcidas. It was the seizure of the Kadmeia that led to Theban rebellion and hence to the outbreak of the Boeotian War. Sparta started this war with the strategic initiative, however, Sparta failed to achieve its aims. Early on, a botched attack on Piraeus by the Spartan commander Sphodrias undermined Sparta's position by driving Athens into the arms of Thebes. Sparta then met defeat at sea (the Battle of Naxos) and on land (the Battle of Tegyra) and failed to prevent the re-establishment of the Boeotian League and creation of the Second Athenian Empire. In 371 BC, a fresh peace congress was summoned at Sparta to ratify the Peace of Callias. Again the Thebans refused to renounce their Boeotian hegemony, and the Spartan's sent a force under King Cleombrotus in an attempt to enforce Theban acceptance. When the Thebans gave battle at Leuctra, it was more out of brave despair than hope. However, it was Sparta that was defeated and this, along with the death of King Cleombrotus dealt a crushing blow to Spartan military prestige. The result of the battle was to transfer supremacy from Sparta to Thebes. As Spartan citizenship was inherited by blood, Sparta now increasingly faced a helot population that vastly outnumbered its citizens. The alarming decline of Spartan citizens was commented on by Aristotle. Sparta never fully recovered from the losses that the Spartans suffered at Leuctra in 371 BC and the subsequent helot revolts. Nonetheless, it was able to continue as a regional power for over two centuries. Neither Philip II nor his son Alexander the Great attempted to conquer Sparta itself. By the winter of late 370 BC, King Agesilaus took the field not against Thebes, but in an attempt to preserve at least a toehold of influence for Sparta in Arkadia. This backfired when, in response, the Arkadians sent an appeal for help to Boeotia. Boeotia responded by sending a large army, led by Epaminondas, which first marched on Sparta itself and then moved to Messenia where the Helots had already rebelled. Epaminondas made that rebellion permanent by fortifying the city of Messene. The final showdown was in 362 BC, when Sparta by which time several of Boetia's former allies had joined Sparta such as Mantinea and Elis. Athens also fought with Sparta. The resulting Battle of Mantinea was won by Boetia and her allies but in the moment of victory, Epaminondas was killed. In the aftermath of the battle both Sparta's enemies and her allies swore a common peace. Only Sparta itself refused because it would not accept the independence of Messenia. Sparta had neither the men nor the money to recover her lost position, and the continued existence on her borders of an independent Messenia and Arcadia kept her in constant fear for her own safety. She did, indeed, join with Athens and Achaea in 353 BC to prevent Philip II of Macedon passing Thermopylae and entering Phocis, but beyond this, she took no part in the struggle of Greece with the new power which had sprung up on her northern borders. The final showdown saw Philip fighting Athens and Thebes at Chaeronea. Sparta, was pinned down at home by Macedonian allies such as Messene and Argos and took no part. After the Battle of Chaeronea, Philip II of Macedon entered the Peloponese. Sparta alone refused to join Philip's "Corinthian League" but Philip engineered the transfer of certain border districts to the neighboring states of Argos, Arcadia and Messenia. During Alexander's campaigns in the east, the Spartan king, Agis III sent a force to Crete in 333 BC with the aim of securing the island for Sparta. Agis next took command of allied Greek forces against Macedon, gaining early successes, before laying siege to Megalopolis in 331 BC. A large Macedonian army under general Antipater marched to its relief and defeated the Spartan-led force in a pitched battle. More than 5,300 of the Spartans and their allies were killed in battle, and 3,500 of Antipater's troops. Agis, now wounded and unable to stand, ordered his men to leave him behind to face the advancing Macedonian army so that he could buy them time to retreat. On his knees, the Spartan king slew several enemy soldiers before being finally killed by a javelin. Alexander was merciful, and he only forced the Spartans to join the League of Corinth, which they had previously refused to join. The memory of this defeat was still fresh in Spartan minds when the general revolt against Macedonian rule known as the Lamian War broke out — hence Sparta stayed neutral. Even during its decline, Sparta never forgot its claims on being the "defender of Hellenism" and its Laconic wit. An anecdote has it that when Philip II sent a message to Sparta saying "If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta", the Spartans responded with the single, terse reply: "If." When Philip created the league of the Greeks on the pretext of unifying Greece against Persia, the Spartans chose not to join—they had no interest in joining a pan-Greek expedition if it was not under Spartan leadership. Thus, upon the conquest of Persia, Alexander the Great sent to Athens 300 suits of Persian armour with the following inscription "Alexander, son of Philip, and all the Greeks except the Spartans, give these offerings taken from the foreigners who live in Asia [emphasis added]". During Demetrius Poliorcetes campaign to conquer the Peloponese in 294 BC, the Spartans led by Archidamus IV attempted to resist but were defeated in two battles. Had Demetrius not decided to turn his attention to Macedonia the city would have fallen. In 293 BC, a Spartan force, under Cleonymus, inspired Boeotia to defy Demetrius but Cleonymus soon departed leaving Thebes in the lurch. In 280 BC, a Spartan army, led by King Areus, again marched north, this time under the pretext of saving some sacred land near Delphi from the Aetolians. They somewhat pulled the moral high ground from under themselves, by looting the area. It was at this point that the Aetolians caught them and defeated them. In 272 BC, Cleonymus of Sparta (who had been displaced as King by Areus), persuaded Pyrrhus to invade the Peloponnese. Pyrrhus laid siege to Sparta confident that he could take the city with ease, however, the Spartans, with even the women taking part in the defense, succeeded in beating off Pyrrhus' attacks. At this point Pyrrhus received an appeal from an opposition Argive faction, for backing against the pro-Gonatas ruler of Argos, and he withdrew from Sparta. In 264 BC, Sparta formed an alliance with Athens and Ptolomeic Egypt (along with a number smaller Greek cities) in an attempt to break free of Macedon. During the resulting Chremonidean War the Spartan King Areus led two expeditions to the Isthmus where Corinth was garrisoned by Macedonia, he was killed in the second. When the Achaean League was expecting an attack from Aetolia, Sparta sent an army under Agis to help defend the Isthmus but the Spartans were sent home when it seemed that no attack would materialize. Shortly afterwards, About 244 BC, an Aetolian army raided Laconia, carrying off, (it is said) 50,000 captives, though that is likely to be an exaggeration. Grainger has suggested that this raid was part of Aetolia's project to build a coalition of Peloponesian cities. Though Aetolia was primarily concerned with confining Achaea, because the cities concerned were hostile to Sparta, Aetolia needed to demonstrate her anti Spartan credentials. In the middle of the 3rd century BC, a slowly building social crisis came to a head. Wealth had become concentrated into the hands of about 100 wealthy families. By contrast, the number of equals, who had always formed the backbone of the Spartan army had fallen to 700 - less than a tenth of its 9000 strong highpoint in the 7th century BC. Agis IV was the first to attempt reform. His program combined debt cancellation and land reform. Opposition from king Leonidas was removed when he was deposed on somewhat dubious grounds. However, his opponents exploited a period when he was absent from Sparta and, on his return he was subjected to a travesty of a trial. The next attempt at reform came from the son of Agis's enemy Leonidas - Cleomenes III. In 229 BC, Cleomenes led an attack on Megalopolis - hence provoking war with Achaea. Aratus who led the Achaean League forces, despite having 20,000 to Cleomenes 5000 men adopted a very cautious strategy. Cleomenes was faced with obstruction from the Ephors which probably reflected a general lack of enthusiasm amongst citizens. Nonetheless he succeeded in defeating Aratus. With this success behind him he left the citizen troops in the field and with the mercenaries, marched on Sparta to stage a Coup d'état. The ephorate was abolished - indeed four out of five of them had been killed during Cleomenes' seizure of power. Land was redistributed enabling a widening of the citizen body. Debts were cancelled. The task of restoring the old severe training and simple life, Cleomenes gave to Sphaerus, his stoic advisor. For Historian Peter Green, that a non Spartan should be given such a responsibility is a telling indication of the extent that Sparta had lost her Lycurgian traditions. These reforms excited hostility amongst the wealthy of the Peloponese who feared social revolution. For others, especially among the poor, Cleomenes inspired hope - a hope that was to be quickly dashed when Cleomenes started taking cities and it became obvious that social reform outside Sparta was the last thing on his mind. Cleomenes' reforms had as their aim, the restoration of Spartan power. Initially Cleomenes was successful, taking cities that had until then been part of the Achaean League and winning the financial backing of Egypt. However Aratus the leader of the Achaean League decided to ally with Achea's (until then) enemy, Macedonia. With Egypt deciding to cut financial aid Cleomenes decided to risk all, on one battle. In the resulting Battle of Sellasia in 222 BC, Cleomenes was defeated by the Achaeans and Macedonia. Antigonus III Doson, the king of Macedon ceremonially entered Sparta with his army - something Sparta had never endured before. The ephors were restored whilst the kingship was suspended. At the beginning of the Social War envoys from Achaea unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Sparta to take the field against Aetolia. Aetolian envoys were at first equally unsuccessful but their presence was used as a pretext by Spartan royalists who staged a Coup d'état that restored the dual kingship. Sparta then immediately entered the war on the side of Aetolia. The sources on Nabis, who took power in 207 BC, are so uniformly hostile that it is impossible today to judge the truth of the accusation against him - that his reforms were undertaken only to serve Nabis' interests. Certainly his reforms went far deeper than those of Cleomenes who had liberated 6000 helots merely as an emergency measure. The Encyclopædia Britannica states: The historian W.G. Forest is willing to take these accusations at face value including that he murdered his ward, and participated in state sponsored piracy and brigandage - but not the self-interested motives ascribed to him. He sees him as a ruthless version of Cleomenes, sincerely attempting to solve Sparta's social crisis. He initiated the building of Sparta's first walls which extended to some 6 miles. It was this point that Achaea switched her alliance with Macedon to support Rome. As Achaea was Sparta's main rival, Nabis leaned towards Macedonia. It was getting increasingly difficult for Macedonia to hold Argos, so Philip V of Macedon decided to hand Argos to Sparta, so increasing tension with the Achean League. Nonetheless, he was careful not to violate the letter of his alliance with Rome. After the conclusion of thee wars with Philip V, Sparta's control of Argos contradicted the official Roman policy of freedom to the Greeks and Titus Quinctius Flamininus organized a large army with which he invaded Laconia and laid siege to Sparta. Nabis was forced to capitulate, evacuating all his possessions outside Laconia, surrendering the Laconian seaports and his navy, and paying an indemnity of 500 talents, while freed slaves were returned to their former masters. In 192 BC, he succeeded in recovering Gythium but was then defeated by the Achaeans under Philopoemen who then ravaged Laconia for thirty days. The Encyclopædia Britannica states: During the Punic Wars Sparta had been an ally of the Roman Republic. Spartan political independence was put to an end when it was eventually forced into the Achaean League. In 146 BC, Greece was conquered by the Roman general Lucius Mummius. During the Roman conquest, Spartans continued their way of life, and the city became a tourist attraction for the Roman elite who came to observe exotic Spartan customs. Supposedly, following the disaster that befell the Roman imperial army at the Battle of Adrianople (378 CE), a Spartan militia phalanx met and defeated a force of raiding Visigoths in battle. After 146 BC, sources for Spartan history are somewhat fragmentary. The city claimed to continue the regime of Lycurgus. Pliny describes its freedom as being empty, though Chrimes argues that whilst this may be true in the area of external relations, Sparta retained a high level of autonomy in internal matters. The one internal matter which the imperial authorities did intervene in, was the matter of the exposure of children. This practice existed throughout the Greek world but the tradition was especially ingrained in Sparta. According to The Encyclopædia Britannica: The Romans did on a number of occasions field Spartan troops against the Parthians under the emperors Lucius Verus, Septimius Severus and Caracalla. It is likely that the Romans wished thus, to use the legend of Spartan prowess. In 396 CE, Alaric sacked Sparta and, though it was rebuilt, the revived city was much smaller than before. The city was finally abandoned during this period when many of the population centers of the Peloponnese were raided by an Avaro-Slav army. Some settlement by Proto-Slavic tribes occurred around this time. The scale of the Slavic incursions and settlement in the later 6th and especially in the 7th century remain a matter of dispute. The Slavs did occupy most of the Peloponnese, as evidenced by Slavic toponyms, with the exception of the eastern coast, which remained in Byzantine hands. The latter was included in the thema of Hellas, established by Justinian II ca. 690. Under Nikephoros I, following a Slavic revolt and attack on Patras, a determined Hellenization process was carried out. According to the (not always reliable) Chronicle of Monemvasia, in 805 the Byzantine governor of Corinth went to war with the Slavs, exterminated them, and allowed the original inhabitants to claim their own lands. They regained control of the city of Patras and the peninsula was re-settled with Greeks. Many Slavs were transported to Asia Minor, and many Asian, Sicilian and Calabrian Greeks were resettled in the Peloponnese. The entire peninsula was formed into the new thema of Peloponnesos, with its capital at Corinth. There was also continuity of the Peloponnesian Greek population. With re-Hellenization, the Slavs likely became a minority among the Greeks, although the historian J.V.A. Fine considers it is unlikely that a large number of people could have easily been transplanted into Greece in the 9th century; this suggests that many Greeks had remained in the territory and continued to speak Greek throughout the period of Slavic occupation. By the end of the 9th century, the Peloponnese was culturally and administratively Greek again, with the exception of a few small Slavic tribes in the mountains such as the Melingoi and Ezeritai. According to Byzantine sources, some parts of the Laconian region remained pagan until well into the 10th century, and Doric-speaking populations survive today in Tsakonia. In the Middle Ages, the political and cultural center of Laconia shifted to the nearby settlement of Mystras. The Franks on their arrival in the Morea, found a fortified city named Lacedaemonia (Sparta) occupying part of the site of ancient Sparta, and this continued to exist, though greatly depopulated, even after William II Villehardouin had in 1249 founded the fortress and city of Mistra, on a spur of Taygetus (some 3 miles northwest of Sparta). This passed shortly afterwards into the hands of the Byzantine Greeks, who retained it until the Turks under Mehmed II captured it in 1460. In 1687 it came into the possession of the Venetians, from whom it was wrested in 1715 by the Turks. Thus for nearly six centuries it was Mistra and not Sparta which formed the center and focus of Laconian history. The Mani Peninsula region of Laconia retained some measure of autonomy during the Ottoman period, and played a significant role in the Greek War of Independence. Until modern times, the site of ancient Sparta was occupied by a small town of a few thousand people who lived amongst the ruins, in the shadow of Mystras, a more important medieval Greek settlement nearby. The Palaiologos family (the last Byzantine Greek imperial dynasty) also lived in Mystras. In 1834, after the Greek War of Independence, King Otto of Greece decreed that the town was to be expanded into a city. Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: 
Sparta (Doric Greek: ; Attic Greek: ), or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. Around 650 BC, it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece. Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the overall leader of the combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was the principal enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, from which it emerged victorious, though at great cost. Sparta's defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Sparta's prominent role in Greece. However, it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC. It then underwent a long period of decline, especially in the Middle Ages, when many Spartans moved to live in Mystras. Modern Sparta is the capital of the Greek regional unit of Laconia and a center for the processing of goods such as citrus and olives. Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which completely focused on military training and excellence. Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates (Spartan citizens, who enjoyed full rights), Mothakes (non-Spartan free men raised as Spartans), Perioikoi (freedmen), and Helots (state-owned serfs, enslaved non-Spartan local population). Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, and Spartan phalanges were widely considered to be among the best in battle. Spartan women enjoyed considerably more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical world. Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in the West following the revival of classical learning. This love or admiration of Sparta is known as Laconism or Laconophilia. The earliest attested term referring to Lacedaemon is the Mycenaean Greek ra-ke-da-mi-ni-jo, "Lacedaimonian", written in Linear B syllabic script and transliterated as Λακεδαιμόνιος (Lakedaimonios) in the Greek alphabet. The ancient Greeks used one of three words to refer to the home location of the Spartans. The first refers primarily to the main cluster of settlements in the valley of the Eurotas River: Sparta. The second word was Lacedaemon (Λακεδαίμων); this is the name commonly used in the works of Homer and the Athenian historians Herodotus and Thucydides. Herodotus seems to denote by it the Mycenaean Greek citadel at Therapne, in contrast to the lower town of Sparta. It could be used synonymously with Sparta, but typically it was not. It denoted the terrain on which Sparta was situated. In Homer it is typically combined with epithets of the countryside: wide, lovely, shining and most often hollow and broken (full of ravines). The hollow suggests the Eurotas Valley. Sparta on the other hand is the country of lovely women, a people epithet. The name of the population was often used for the state of Lacedaemon: the Lacedaemonians. This epithet utilized the plural of the adjective, Lacedaemonius (Greek Λακεδαιμὀνιοι, Latin Lacedaemonii). If the ancients wished to refer to the country more directly, instead of Lacedaemon, they could use a back-formation from the adjective: Lacedaemonian country. As most words for "country" were feminine, the adjective was in the feminine: Lacedaemonia. Eventually, the adjective came to be used alone. Lacedaemonia was not in general use during the classical period and before. It does occur in Greek as an equivalent of Laconia and Messenia during the Roman and early Byzantine periods, mostly in ethnographers and lexica glossing place names. For example, Hesychius of Alexandria's Lexicon (5th century AD) defines Agiadae as a "place in Lacedaemonia" named after Agis. The actual transition may be captured by Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae (7th century AD), an etymological dictionary. He relied heavily on Orosius' Historiarum Adversum Paganos (5th century AD) and Eusebius of Caesarea's Chronicon (early 5th century AD) as did Orosius. The latter defines Sparta to be Lacedaemonia Civitas but Isidore defines Lacedaemonia as founded by Lacedaemon, son of Semele, relying on Eusebius. There is a rare use, perhaps the earliest of Lacedaemonia, in Diodorus Siculus, but probably with Χὠρα ("country") suppressed. The immediate area around the town of Sparta, the plateau east of the Taygetos mountains, was generally referred as Laconice (Λακωνική). This term was sometimes used to refer to all the regions under direct Spartan control, including Messenia. Lacedaemon is now the name of a province in the modern Greek prefecture of Laconia. Sparta is located in the region of Laconia, in the south-eastern Peloponnese. Ancient Sparta was built on the banks of the Evrotas River, the main river of Laconia, which provided it with a source of fresh water. The valley of the Evrotas is a natural fortress, bounded to the west by Mt. Taygetus (2407 m) and to the east by Mt. Parnon (1935 m). To the north, Laconia is separated from Arcadia by hilly uplands reaching 1000 m in altitude. These natural defenses worked to Sparta's advantage and contributed to Sparta never having been sacked. Though landlocked, Sparta had a harbor, Gytheio, on the Laconian Gulf. In Greek mythology, Lacedaemon was a son of Zeus by the nymph Taygete. He married Sparta, the daughter of Eurotas, by whom he became the father of Amyclas, Eurydice, and Asine. He was king of the country which he named after himself, naming the capital after his wife. He was believed to have built the sanctuary of the Charites, which stood between Sparta and Amyclae, and to have given to those divinities the names of Cleta and Phaenna. A shrine was erected to him in the neighborhood of Therapne. Thucydides wrote: Suppose the city of Sparta to be deserted, and nothing left but the temples and the ground-plan, distant ages would be very unwilling to believe that the power of the Lacedaemonians was at all equal to their fame. Their city is not built continuously, and has no splendid temples or other edifices; it rather resembles a group of villages, like the ancient towns of Hellas, and would therefore make a poor show. Until the early 20th century, the chief ancient buildings at Sparta were the theatre, of which, however, little showed above ground except portions of the retaining walls; the so-called Tomb of Leonidas, a quadrangular building, perhaps a temple, constructed of immense blocks of stone and containing two chambers; the foundation of an ancient bridge over the Eurotas; the ruins of a circular structure; some remains of late Roman fortifications; several brick buildings and mosaic pavements. The remaining archaeological wealth consisted of inscriptions, sculptures, and other objects collected in the local museum, founded by Stamatakis in 1872 and enlarged in 1907. Partial excavation of the round building was undertaken in 1892 and 1893 by the American School at Athens. The structure has been since found to be a semicircular retaining wall of Hellenic origin that was partly restored during the Roman period. In 1904, the British School at Athens began a thorough exploration of Laconia, and in the following year excavations were made at Thalamae, Geronthrae, and Angelona near Monemvasia. In 1906, excavations began in Sparta. A small circus described by Leake proved to be a theatre-like building constructed soon after AD 200 around the altar and in front of the temple of Artemis Orthia. Here musical and gymnastic contests took place as well as the famous flogging ordeal (diamastigosis). The temple, which can be dated to the 2nd century BC, rests on the foundation of an older temple of the 6th century, and close beside it were found the remains of a yet earlier temple, dating from the 9th or even the 10th century. The votive offerings in clay, amber, bronze, ivory and lead found in great profusion within the precinct range, dating from the 9th to the 4th centuries BC, supply invaluable evidence for early Spartan art. In 1907, the sanctuary of Athena "of the Brazen House" (Chalkioikos) was located on the acropolis immediately above the theatre, and though the actual temple is almost completely destroyed, the site has produced the longest extant archaic inscription of Laconia, numerous bronze nails and plates, and a considerable number of votive offerings. The Greek city-wall, built in successive stages from the 4th to the 2nd century, was traced for a great part of its circuit, which measured 48 stades or nearly 10 km (Polyb. 1X. 21). The late Roman wall enclosing the acropolis, part of which probably dates from the years following the Gothic raid of AD 262, was also investigated. Besides the actual buildings discovered, a number of points were situated and mapped in a general study of Spartan topography, based upon the description of Pausanias. Excavations showed that the town of the Mycenaean Period was situated on the left bank of the Eurotas, a little to the south-east of Sparta. The settlement was roughly triangular in shape, with its apex pointed towards the north. Its area was approximately equal to that of the "newer" Sparta, but denudation has wreaked havoc with its buildings and nothing is left save ruined foundations and broken potsherds. The prehistory of Sparta is difficult to reconstruct because the literary evidence is far removed in time from the events it describes and is also distorted by oral tradition. However, the earliest certain evidence of human settlement in the region of Sparta consists of pottery dating from the Middle Neolithic period, found in the vicinity of Kouphovouno some two kilometres south-southwest of Sparta. These are the earliest traces of the original Mycenaean Spartan civilisation, as represented in Homer's Iliad.][ This civilization seems to have fallen into decline by the late Bronze Age, when, according to Herodotus, Macedonian tribes from the north marched into Peloponnese, where they were called Dorians and subjugating the local tribes, settled there. The Dorians seem to have set about expanding the frontiers of Spartan territory almost before they had established their own state. They fought against the Argive Dorians to the east and southeast, and also the Arcadian Achaeans to the northwest. The evidence suggests that Sparta, relatively inaccessible because of the topography of the Taygetan plain, was secure from early on: it was never fortified. Nothing distinctive in the archaeology of the Eurotas River Valley identifies the Dorians or the Dorian Spartan state. The prehistory of the Neolithic, the Bronze Age and the Dark Age (the Early Iron Age) at this moment must be treated apart from the stream of Dorian Spartan history. The legendary period of Spartan history is believed to fall into the Dark Age. It treats the mythic heroes such as the Heraclids and the Perseids, offering a view of the occupation of the Peloponnesus that contains both fantastic and possibly historical elements. The subsequent proto-historic period, combining both legend and historical fragments, offers the first credible history. Between the 8th and 7th centuries BC the Spartans experienced a period of lawlessness and civil strife, later testified by both Herodotus and Thucydides. As a result they carried out a series of political and social reforms of their own society which they later attributed to a semi-mythical lawgiver, Lycurgus. These reforms mark the beginning of the history of Classical Sparta. In the Second Messenian War, Sparta established itself as a local power in Peloponnesus and the rest of Greece. During the following centuries, Sparta's reputation as a land-fighting force was unequaled. In 480 BC a small force of Spartans, Thespians, and Thebans led by King Leonidas (approximately 300 were full Spartiates, 700 were Thespians, and 400 were Thebans although these numbers do not reflect casualties incurred prior to the final battle), made a legendary last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae against the massive Persian army, inflicting very high casualties on the Persian forces before finally being encircled. The superior weaponry, strategy, and bronze armour of the Greek hoplites and their phalanx again proved their worth one year later when Sparta assembled at full strength and led a Greek alliance against the Persians at the battle of Plataea. The decisive Greek victory at Plataea put an end to the Greco-Persian War along with Persian ambition of expanding into Europe. Even though this war was won by a pan-Greek army, credit was given to Sparta, who besides being the protagonist at Thermopylae and Plataea, had been the de facto leader of the entire Greek expedition. In later Classical times, Sparta along with Athens, Thebes, and Persia had been the main powers fighting for supremacy against each other. As a result of the Peloponnesian War, Sparta, a traditionally continental culture, became a naval power. At the peak of its power Sparta subdued many of the key Greek states and even managed to overpower the elite Athenian navy. By the end of the 5th century BC it stood out as a state which had defeated the Athenian Empire and had invaded the Persian provinces in Anatolia, a period which marks the Spartan Hegemony. During the Corinthian War Sparta faced a coalition of the leading Greek states: Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos. The alliance was initially backed by Persia, whose lands in Anatolia had been invaded by Sparta and which feared further Spartan expansion into Asia. Sparta achieved a series of land victories, but many of her ships were destroyed at the battle of Cnidus by a Greek-Phoenician mercenary fleet that Persia had provided to Athens. The event severely damaged Sparta's naval power but did not end its aspirations of invading further into Persia, until Conon the Athenian ravaged the Spartan coastline and provoked the old Spartan fear of a helot revolt. After a few more years of fighting, in 387 BC the Peace of Antalcidas was established, according to which all Greek cities of Ionia would return to Persian control, and Persia's Asian border would be free of the Spartan threat. The effects of the war were to reaffirm Persia's ability to interfere successfully in Greek politics and to affirm Sparta's weakened hegemonic position in the Greek political system. Sparta entered its long-term decline after a severe military defeat to Epaminondas of Thebes at the Battle of Leuctra. This was the first time that a Spartan army lost a land battle at full strength. As Spartan citizenship was inherited by blood, Sparta now increasingly faced a helot population that vastly outnumbered its citizens. The alarming decline of Spartan citizens was commented on by Aristotle. Sparta never fully recovered from the losses that the Spartans suffered at Leuctra in 371 BC and the subsequent helot revolts. Nonetheless, it was able to continue as a regional power for over two centuries. Neither Philip II nor his son Alexander the Great attempted to conquer Sparta itself. During Alexander's campaigns in the east, the Spartan king, Agis III sent a force to Crete in 333 BC with the aim of securing the island for Sparta. Agis next took command of allied Greek forces against Macedon, gaining early successes, before laying siege to Megalopolis in 331 BC. A large Macedonian army under general Antipater marched to its relief and defeated the Spartan-led force in a pitched battle. More than 5,300 of the Spartans and their allies were killed in battle, and 3,500 of Antipater's troops. Agis, now wounded and unable to stand, ordered his men to leave him behind to face the advancing Macedonian army so that he could buy them time to retreat. On his knees, the Spartan king slew several enemy soldiers before being finally killed by a javelin. Alexander was merciful, and he only forced the Spartans to join the League of Corinth, which they had previously refused to join. Even during its decline, Sparta never forgot its claims on being the "defender of Hellenism" and its Laconic wit. An anecdote has it that when Philip II sent a message to Sparta saying "If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta", the Spartans responded with the single, terse reply: "If." When Philip created the league of the Greeks on the pretext of unifying Greece against Persia, the Spartans chose not to join—they had no interest in joining a pan-Greek expedition if it was not under Spartan leadership. Thus, upon the conquest of Persia, Alexander the Great sent to Athens 300 suits of Persian armour with the following inscription Alexander, son of Philip, and all the Greeks except the Spartans, give these offerings taken from the foreigners who live in Asia [emphasis added]. During the Punic Wars Sparta was an ally of the Roman Republic. Spartan political independence was put to an end when it was eventually forced into the Achaean League. In 146 BC Greece was conquered by the Roman general Lucius Mummius. During the Roman conquest, Spartans continued their way of life, and the city became a tourist attraction for the Roman elite who came to observe exotic Spartan customs. According to Byzantine sources, some parts of the Laconian region remained pagan until well into the 10th century AD. Doric-speaking populations survive today in Tsakonia. In the Middle Ages, the political and cultural center of Laconia shifted to the nearby settlement of Mystras. Modern Sparti was re-founded in 1834, by a decree of King Otto of Greece. Sparta is an Oligarchy. The state was ruled by two hereditary kings of the Agiad and Eurypontid families, both supposedly descendants of Heracles and equal in authority, so that one could not act against the power and political enactments of his colleague. The duties of the kings were primarily religious, judicial, and military. They were the chief priests of the state and also maintained communication with the Delphian sanctuary, which always exercised great authority in Spartan politics. In the time of Herodotus, about 450 BC, their judicial functions had been restricted to cases dealing with heiresses, adoptions and the public roads. Aristotle describes the kingship at Sparta as "a kind of unlimited and perpetual generalship" (Pol. iii. I285a), while Isocrates refers to the Spartans as "subject to an oligarchy at home, to a kingship on campaign" (iii. 24). Civil and criminal cases were decided by a group of officials known as the ephors, as well as a council of elders known as the Gerousia. The Gerousia consisted of 28 elders over the age of 60, elected for life and usually part of the royal households, and the two kings. High state policy decisions were discussed by this council who could then propose action alternatives to the Damos, the collective body of Spartan citizenry, who would select one of the alternatives by voting. The royal prerogatives were curtailed over time. Dating from the period of the Persian wars, the king lost the right to declare war and was accompanied in the field by two ephors. He was supplanted also by the ephors in the control of foreign policy. Over time, the kings became mere figureheads except in their capacity as generals. Real power was transferred to the ephors and to the Gerousia. The origins of the powers exercised by the assembly of the citizens are virtually unknown because of the lack of historical documentation and Spartan state secrecy. Not all inhabitants of the Spartan state were considered to be citizens. Only those who had undertaken the Spartan education process known as the agoge were eligible. However, usually the only people eligible to receive the agoge were Spartiates, or people who could trace their ancestry to the original inhabitants of the city. There were two exceptions. Trophimoi or "foster sons" were foreign students invited to study. The Athenian general Xenophon, for example, sent his two sons to Sparta as trophimoi. The other exception was that the sons of a helot could be enrolled as a syntrophos if a Spartiate formally adopted him and paid his way. If a syntrophos did exceptionally well in training, he might be sponsored to become a Spartiate. Others in the state were the perioikoi, who were free inhabitants of Spartan territory but were non-citizens, and the helots, the state-owned serfs. Descendants of non-Spartan citizens were not able to follow the agoge and Spartans who could not afford to pay the expenses of the agoge could lose their citizenship. These laws meant that Sparta could not readily replace citizens lost in battle or otherwise and eventually proved near fatal to the continuance of the state as the number of citizens became greatly outnumbered by the non-citizens and, even more dangerously, the helots. The Spartans were a minority of the Lakonian population. The largest class of inhabitants were the helots (in Classical Greek / Heílôtes). The helots were originally free Greeks from the areas of Messenia and Lakonia whom the Spartans had defeated in battle and subsequently enslaved. In contrast to populations conquered by other Greek cities (e.g. the Athenian treatment of Melos), the male population was not exterminated and the women and children turned into chattel slaves. Instead, the helots were given a subordinate position in society more comparable to serfs in medieval Europe than chattel slaves in the rest of Greece. Helots did not have voting rights, although compared to non-Greek chattel slaves in other parts of Greece they were relatively privileged. The Spartan poet Tyrtaios refers to Helots being allowed to marry and retaining 50% of the fruits of their labor. They also seem to have been allowed to practice religious rites and, according to Thucydides, own a limited amount of personal property. Some 6,000 helots accumulated enough wealth to buy their freedom, for example, in 227 BC. In other Greek city-states, free citizens were part-time soldiers who, when not at war, carried on other trades. Since Spartan men were full-time soldiers, they were not available to carry out manual labour. The helots were used as unskilled serfs, tilling Spartan land. Helot women were often used as wet nurses. Helots also travelled with the Spartan army as non-combatant serfs. At the last stand of the Battle of Thermopylae, the Greek dead included not just the legendary three hundred Spartan soldiers but also several hundred Thespian and Theban troops and a number of helots. Relations between the helots and their Spartan masters were sometimes strained. There was at least one helot revolt (ca. 465–460 BC), and Thucydides remarked that "Spartan policy is always mainly governed by the necessity of taking precautions against the helots." On the other hand, the Spartans trusted their helots enough in 479 BC to take a force of 35,000 with them to Plataea, something they could not have risked if they feared the helots would attack them or run away. Slave revolts occurred elsewhere in the Greek world, and in 413 BC 20,000 Athenian slaves ran away to join the Spartan forces occupying Attica. What made Sparta's relations with her slave population unique was that the helots, precisely because they enjoyed privileges such as family and property, retained their identity as a conquered people (the Messenians) and also had effective kinship groups that could be used to organize rebellion. As the Spartiate population declined and the helot population continued to grow, the imbalance of power caused increasing tension. According to Myron of Priene of the middle 3rd century BC: Plutarch also states that Spartans treated the Helots "harshly and cruelly": they compelled them to drink pure wine (which was considered dangerous – wine usually being cut with water) "...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). Each year when the Ephors took office they ritually declared war on the helots, thereby allowing Spartans to kill them without the risk of ritual pollution. 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. 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, 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. 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. 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. Perioikoic hoplites served increasingly with the Spartan army, explicitly at the Battle of Plataea, and although they may also have fulfilled functions such as the manufacture and repair of armour and weapons, they were increasingly integrated into the combat units of the Spartan army as the Spartiate population declined. Spartan citizens were debarred by law from trade or manufacture, which consequently rested in the hands of the Perioikoi. 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. Spartiates, on the other hand, were forbidden (in theory) from engaging in menial labor or trade, although there is evidence of Spartan sculptors, and Spartans were certainly poets, magistrates, ambassadors, and governors as well as soldiers. Allegedly, Spartans were prohibited from possessing gold and silver coins, and according to legend Spartan currency consisted of iron bars to discourage hoarding. In fact, archeology has not produced evidence of this currency, and it is more likely that Sparta simply used currencies minted elsewhere. 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. 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. 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. 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. By the mid-5th century, land had become concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite, 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. 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. 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., ἀποθέται, "Deposits"). This was, in effect, a primitive form of eugenics. 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. 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. 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, 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." Besides physical and weapons training, boys studied reading, writing, music and dancing. Special punishments were imposed if boys failed to answer questions sufficiently 'laconically' (i.e. briefly and wittily). 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. 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). It is notable, however, that the only contemporary source with direct experience of the agoge, Xenophon, explicitly denies the sexual nature of the relationship. 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 vulnerable helot Laconians as part of the larger program of terrorising and intimidating the helot population. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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, with the lover responsible for the boy's training. However, other scholars question this interpretation. Xenophon explicitly denies it, as does Plutarch. 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.][ Aristotle's assessment is intriguingly conform with the argument of modern psychologists 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. The Spartans, claims Athenaeus 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. 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. Insofar as hoplite warfare could be perfected, the Spartans did so. 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). 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. 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, 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. 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. 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 a harsh critic of the Spartan constitution and way of life. There is considerable evidence that the Spartans, certainly in the archaic period, were not educated as one-sidedly as Aristotle asserts. In fact, the Spartans were also rigorously trained in logic and philosophy. One of the most persistent myths about Sparta that has no basis in fact is the notion that Spartan mothers were without feelings toward their off-spring and helped enforce a militaristic lifestyle on their sons and husbands. 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. 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. Plutarch reports the peculiar customs associated with the Spartan wedding night: 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, 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. 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; unlike Athens, Spartan girls were fed the same food as their brothers. 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. Most important, rather than being married off at the age of 12 or 13, 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. 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. Unlike Athenian women who wore heavy, concealing clothes and were rarely seen outside the house, 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"). 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. 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. The laws regarding a divorce were the same for both men and women. Unlike women in Athens, 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. Many women played a significant role in the history of Sparta. 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; after Spartan generals could not decode a wooden tablet covered in wax, she ordered them to clear the wax, revealing the warning. 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". 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." 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 of Machiavelli. 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. 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. 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. 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". 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. Adolf Hitler praised the Spartans, recommending in 1928 that Germany should imitate them by limiting "the number allowed to live". He added that "The Spartans were once capable of such a wise measure... The subjugation of 350,000 Helots by 6,000 Spartans was only possible because of the racial superiority of the Spartans." The Spartans had created "the first racialist state". In the modern times, the adjective "spartan" is used to imply simplicity, frugality, or avoidance of luxury and comfort. The term laconic phrase describes a very terse and concise way of speaking that was characteristic of the Spartans. Sparta also features prominently in modern popular culture (see Sparta in popular culture), particularly the Battle of Thermopylae (see Battle of Thermopylae in popular culture). Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: 
The Thirty Tyrants (Ancient Greek: ) were a pro-Spartan oligarchy installed in Athens after its defeat in the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. Contemporary Athenians referred to them simply as "the oligarchy" or "the Thirty" (Ancient Greek: ); the expression "Thirty Tyrants" is due to later historians. Its two leading members were Critias and Theramenes. The Thirty severely reduced the rights of Athenian citizens. Imposing a limit on the number of citizens allowed to vote (limiting the franchise for example to the wealthiest citizens) was a standard move on the part of wealthy people who objected to being subject to the votes of the "rabble" in a broad-based democracy where all free adult males could vote. Participation in legal functions—which had previously been open to all Athenians—was restricted by the 30 to a select group of 500 persons. Only 3,000 Athenians were granted the right to carry weapons or receive a jury trial. The Thirty Tyrants forced many Athenians into exile and threw their leaders into jail. The Thirty began a purge of important leaders of the popular party during the Peloponnesian War. Hundreds were condemned to execution by drinking hemlock, while thousands more were exiled from Athens. One of the most famous men who escaped from Athens during this reign of terror was the wealthy Lysias, who was mentioned in Plato's Republic. In Plato's Apology, Socrates recounts an incident in which the Thirty once ordered him (and four other men) to bring before them Leon of Salamis, a man known for his justice and upright character, for execution. While the other four men obeyed, Socrates refused, not wanting to partake in the guilt of the executioners. By disobeying, Socrates knew he was placing his own life in jeopardy, and claimed it was only the disbanding of the oligarchy soon afterward that saved his life (Apology 32c-d). As a result of the Phyle Campaign the Thirty Tyrants were overthrown. A group of exiles led by the general Thrasybulus after setting out from Thebes in 403 BC ended their regime of just over a year. After the Thirty had been overthrown in a coup that killed Critias, Lysias accused Eratosthenes of the murder of Lysias' brother Polemarchus. Plato, in the opening portion of his Seventh Letter recounts the rule of the thirty tyrants during his youth, when he was around 23 years old. He portrays them as taking over as a result of revolution, and him having high hopes, then becoming disillutioned as they failed to manage the affairs of the state, making the previous era look like a golden age. He also mentions how Socrates refused to cooperate in the execution of a citizen, thus putting himself in danger. Cicero in his treatises about aging, friendship and duties, mentions that Socrates was condemned to death "at a time when Athens had more tyrants than a tyrant has bodyguards". The names of the Thirty are listed by Xenophon:
The Sicilian Expedition was an Athenian expedition to Sicily from 415 BC to 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. The expedition was hampered from the outset by uncertainty in its purpose and command structure—political maneuvering in Athens swelled a lightweight force of twenty ships into a massive armada, and the expedition's primary proponent, Alcibiades, was recalled from command to stand trial before the fleet even reached Sicily—but still achieved early successes. Syracuse, the most powerful state on Sicily, responded exceptionally slowly to the Athenian threat, and as a result was almost completely invested before the arrival of a Spartan general, Gylippus, galvanized its inhabitants into action. From that point forward, however, as the Athenians ceded the initiative to their newly energized opponents, the tide of the conflict shifted. A massive reinforcing armada from Athens briefly gave the Athenians the upper hand once more, but a disastrous failed assault on a strategic high point and several crippling naval defeats damaged the besiegers' fighting capacity and morale, and the Athenians were eventually forced to attempt a desperate overland escape from the city they had hoped to conquer. That last measure, too, failed, and nearly the entire expedition surrendered or was destroyed in the Sicilian interior. The impact of the defeat was immense. Two hundred ships and thousands of soldiers, an appreciable portion of the city's total manpower, were lost in a single stroke. Athens' enemies on the mainland and in Persia were encouraged to take action, and rebellions broke out in the Aegean. The defeat proved to be the crucial turning point in the Peloponnesian War, though Athens struggled on for another decade. Thucydides observed that contemporary Greeks were shocked not that Athens eventually fell after the defeat, but rather that it fought on for as long as it did, so devastating were the losses suffered. Although Athens had never involved itself deeply in Sicilian affairs, it had ties there dating to before the Peloponnesian War, and to at least the mid-5th century BC. To small Sicilian cities, Athens was a potential counter to the powerful city of Syracuse, which was strong enough to potentially dominate the island. (Syracuse, like Sparta and its Peloponnesian allies, was a Dorian city, while most of Athens' allies on the island were Ionian.) To the Athenians, Sicily was a threat—an unencumbered Syracuse might send grain or other aid to the Peloponnesians—as well as a venue for possible conquests. In 427 BC, Athens had sent twenty ships under the command of Laches, in response to an appeal for help from Leontini. That expedition, operating from a base at Rhegium, remained in the area for several years, fighting alongside Athens' local allies against the Syracusans and their allies, without achieving any dramatic successes. In 425, the Athenians planned to reinforce their contingent with an additional forty triremes, but that fleet never reached Sicily, as it became caught up in the pivotal Battle of Pylos on the way there. By the time that fleet reached Sicily in late summer, Athens' Sicilian allies had grown weary of stalemated warfare, and agreed to negotiate with Syracuse and its allies. At the Congress of Gela, the Sicilian cities made peace on the basis of "Sicily for the Sicilians", and the Athenian fleet left for home. In 415, Athens and Sparta had been formally at peace since 421, when the Peace of Nicias had brought the Archidamian War to a close. The terms of that peace, however, had never been fulfilled; Sparta had never surrendered Amphipolis to Athens, as required by the treaty, and in return the Athenians had held Pylos. More recently, Athenian and Spartan troops had fought at the Battle of Mantinea in 418, with Athens supporting Argos, Mantinea, and other Peloponnesian cities in an attempt to establish a stable anti-Spartan alliance in the Peloponnese. That attempt, largely orchestrated by the Athenian nobleman Alcibiades, would have destroyed Sparta's control over the Peloponnesian League had it succeeded. Alcibiades rebounded politically from this defeat, and was elected as a general in the spring of 417. Control of Athens' foreign policy remained divided between a "peace party" (or pro-Spartan party) led by Nicias, and a "war party" led by Alcibiades. The peace established in Sicily at the Congress of Gela did not last long. Shortly after the Congress, Syracuse intervened in an episode of civil strife between the democratic and oligarchic parties in Leontini, supporting the oligarchs. Before too long, the prospect of foreign domination had united the Leontinians, and the two parties united in war against Syracuse. Athens had sent an emissary to Sicily in 422 to sound out the possibility of renewing the war against Syracuse, but achieved nothing. In 416, however, a second Sicilian conflict provided the invitation Athens had sought in 422. The city of Segesta—an Athenian ally in the 420s—went to war against Selinus and, after losing an initial battle, sent to Athens for help. In order to win the Athenians' support, the Segestaeans claimed that they were capable of funding much of the cost of sending a fleet, offering 60 talents of uncoined silver up front, and tricking Athenian ambassadors into believing that the city was more prosperous than it actually was, by making sure that the ambassadors saw all their golden and other valuable objects in a way as if these were just part of what they had. At Athens, the Segestan ambassadors presented their case for intervention to the assembly. In the assembly, debate over the proposal quickly divided along traditional factional lines. At the assembly where the Segestan ambassadors presented their request, the assembly approved an expedition composed of sixty triremes, without hoplite accompaniment, commanded by Nicias, Alcibiades, and Lamachus. Thucydides reports that Nicias had been appointed against his preference, but offers no further detail regarding that debate. Five days after that first debate, a second assembly was held to arrange the logistics of the expedition. There, Nicias attempted to persuade the assembly to overturn its previous decision regarding whether to send an expedition at all. Over the course of several speeches, Nicias raised a series of different arguments against the expedition. He reminded the Athenians that they would be leaving powerful enemies behind them if they sent a force to Sicily, and warned that they would be opening hostilities with enemies too difficult and numerous to conquer and rule. Nicias also attacked Alcibiades' credibility, claiming that he and his allies were inexperienced and self-aggrandizing young men eager to lead Athens into war for their own ends. In response, Alcibiades dismissed the attack on himself by pointing to the good he had done for Athens as a private citizen and public leader. He rebutted Nicias's warnings about the plan for the expedition by reminding the Athenians of their obligation to their Sicilian allies, appealing to the enterprising spirit that had won Athens her empire, and pointing out that many states on Sicily would support Athens in her operations there. The assembly was clearly leaning towards Alcibiades' side, so Nicias, judging them unlikely to cancel the expedition if he argued against it directly, chose a different tack. He described the wealth and power of the Sicilian cities Athens would be challenging, and stated that a larger expedition than previously approved would be required, expecting that the prospect of approving such a massive expenditure would prove unappealing to the citizenry. Contrary to Nicias's plan, the assembly enthusiastically embraced his proposal, and passed a motion allowing the generals to arrange for a force of over 100 ships and 5,000 hoplites. Nicias's ploy had failed badly. His misreading of the assembly had altered the strategic situation; whereas the loss of 60 ships would have been painful but bearable, the loss of the larger force would be catastrophic. "Without Nicias' intervention," wrote Donald Kagan, "there would have been an Athenian expedition against Sicily in 415, but there could not have been a disaster." After lengthy preparations, the fleet was ready to sail. The night before they were to leave, someone destroyed many of the hermai – the stone markers representing Hermes, placed around the city for good luck. This event was taken very seriously by the Athenian people as it was considered a bad omen for the expedition, as well as evidence of a revolutionary conspiracy to overthrow the government. According to Plutarch, Androcles, a political enemy of Alcibiades, used false witness to claim that Alcibiades and his friends were responsible, Alcibiades volunteered to be put on trial under penalty of death in order to prove his innocence (he wanted to do this because while he was away his enemies could charge him with more false information). However, Alcibiades request was denied. He was otherwise extremely popular and had the support of the entire army; he had also gained the support of Argos and Mantinea during the preparations. He was not charged, and the fleet sailed the next day. His opponents, however, waited for Alcibiades to set sail before they leveled the charges against him. This was because the army, his main source of support, would be absent, and his supporters would be outnumbered when the votes were cast. Many people in Syracuse, the richest and most powerful city of Sicily, felt that the Athenians were in fact coming to attack them, under the pretense of aiding Segesta in a minor war. The Syracusan general Hermocrates suggested that they ask for help from other Sicilian cities, and from Carthage. He also wanted to meet the Athenian fleet in the Ionian Sea before they arrived. Others argued that Athens was no threat to Syracuse, and some people did not believe there was a fleet at all, because Athens would not be so foolish as to attack them while they were still at war with Sparta. Athenagoras accused Hermocrates and others of attempting to instill fear among the population and trying to overthrow the government. At the first assembly that authorized the expedition, the Athenians named Nicias, Alcibiades, and Lamachus as its commanders; that decision remained unchanged at the second assembly. Alcibiades was the expedition's leading proponent, and the leader of the war party, Nicias its leading critic and the leader of the peace party. Lamachus, meanwhile, was a fifty-year-old career soldier, of whom the longest extant portrayal is a series of scenes in Aristophanes' The Acharnians that satirize him as a braggadocious, perpetually impoverished warrior. The reasons for the Athenians' choice are not recorded, but the assembly may have been seeking to balance the aggressive young leader with a more conservative older figure, with Lamachus added for his military expertise. In practice, each of the three generals proposed a different strategy. Nicias proposed a narrowly circumscribed expedition; he felt that the fleet should sail to Selinus and force a settlement between Selinus and Segesta. After that, he proposed to briefly show the flag around Sicily and then return home, unless the Segestans were willing to pay for the full cost of the expanded expedition. Alcibiades proposed to first attempt to win over allies on the island through diplomacy, and then attack Selinus and Syracuse. Lamachus, meanwhile, proposed taking advantage of the element of surprise by sailing directly to Syracuse and giving battle outside the city. Such a sudden attack, he felt, would catch the Syracusans off guard and possibly induce their quick surrender. Eventually, however, Lamachus settled the three-way division of opinion by endorsing Alcibiades' plan. The Athenian fleet first sailed to Corcyra to meet up with their allies, and the ships were divided into three sections, one for each commander. Three of the ships were sent ahead to look for allies in Sicily. The fleet at this point consisted of 134 triremes (100 of which were from Athens), 5,100 hoplites (of which 2,200 were Athenians), 480 archers, 700 slingers, 120 other light troops, and 30 cavalry, as well as 130 other supply ships and all the crews of the triremes and other non-combatants. They had little luck finding allies along the coast of southern Italy, and when the three other ships returned they learned that Segesta did not have the money they promised. Nicias had expected this but the other commanders were dismayed. Nicias suggested they make a show of force and then return home, while Alcibiades said they should encourage revolts against Syracuse, and then attack Syracuse and Selinus. Lamachus said they should attack Syracuse right away, as it was the predominate city-state in Sicily. The fleet proceeded to Catania, where an Athenian ship arrived to inform Alcibiades that he was under arrest, not only for the destruction of the hermai, but also for supposedly profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries. Alcibiades agreed to return in his ship, but when they stopped in southern Italy at Thurii, he escaped and sailed to the Peloponnese, where he sought refuge in Sparta. Athens passed a death sentence in absentia, his guilt seemingly proven. In Sparta, Alcibiades gave the members of the Peloponnesian League critical information on the Athenian Empire. In Sicily, the fleet was redivided into two parts. The army landed and joined with the cavalry of Segesta. They did not immediately attack Syracuse and, as the Athenians wintered their camp at Catana, the Syracusans prepared to attack. When the Syracusans marched out to Catana, they learned the Athenians had reboarded their ships and sailed into the harbour at Syracuse. The Syracusans quickly hurried back and prepared for battle. The Athenian troops landed outside Syracuse, and lined up eight men deep with the Argives and Mantineans on the right, the rest of the allies on the left, and the Athenians themselves in the centre. The Syracusans were deployed sixteen men deep, in order to offset the advantage of the Athenians in experience. They also had 1,200 cavalry, vastly outnumbering the Athenian cavalry, although the total numbers of men were about the same. The Athenians attacked first, believing themselves to be the stronger and more experienced army, and after some unexpectedly strong resistance, the Argives pushed back the Syracusan left wing, causing the rest to flee. The Syracusan cavalry prevented the Athenians from chasing them, thereby averting a catastrophe for the Syracusans, who lost about 260 men, and the Athenians about 50. The Athenians then sailed back to Catana for the winter. Hermocrates suggested that the Syracusans reorganize their army. He wanted to reduce the number of generals from fifteen to three; Hermocrates, Heraclides, and Sicanus were elected and Hermocrates sent for help from Corinth and Sparta. During the winter the Athenians also sent for more money and cavalry, while the Syracusans built some forts, and a wall extending the territory of the city. Meanwhile, Hermocrates and Euphemus, the archon of Athens, both went to Camarina to attempt to form an alliance with that city. Hermocrates wanted Camarina and the other cities to unite with Syracuse against Athens, but Euphemus said Syracuse only wanted to rule Camarina, and they should join with Athens if they wanted to remain free. The Camarinans decided not to join either side, although they quietly sent aid to the Syracusans, whose greater proximity and potential victory they feared more than that of the Athenians. Athens then sent for help from the Carthaginians and Etruscans, and both Athens and Syracuse tried to gain assistance from the Greek cities in Italy. In Corinth, representatives from Syracuse met with Alcibiades, who was working with Sparta. Alcibiades informed Sparta that there would be an invasion of the Peloponnese if Sicily was conquered, and that they should send help to Syracuse and also fortify Decelea near Athens. The Athenians, he said, feared nothing more than the occupation of Decelea. The Spartans took this advice into consideration, and appointed Gylippus to command their fleet. In the spring of 414 BC, reinforcements arrived from Athens, consisting of 250 cavalry, 30 mounted archers, and 300 talents of silver (around 95,000,000 sterling or $180,000,000 U.S. dollars), which was used to pay for 400 more cavalry from their Sicilian allies. In the summer they landed on the Epipolae, the cliff above Syracuse, which was defended by Diomilus and 600 Syracusans. In the attack, Diomilus and 300 of his men were killed. Both sides then began building a series of walls. The Athenian circumvallation, known as "the Circle", was meant to blockade Syracuse from the rest of the island, while the Syracusans built a number of counter-walls from the city to their various forts. A force of 300 Athenians destroyed part of the first counter-wall, but the Syracusans began to build another one, this time with a ditch, blocking the Athenians from extending their wall to the sea. Another 300 Athenians attacked this wall and captured it, but were driven off by a Syracusan counter-attack in which Lamachus was killed, leaving only Nicias from the three original commanders. The Syracusans destroyed 300 m (1,000 feet) of the Athenian wall, but could not destroy the Circle, which was defended by Nicias. After Nicias defeated the attack, the Athenians finally extended their wall to the sea, completely blockading Syracuse by land, and their fleet entered the harbour to blockade them from sea. The Syracusans responded by removing Hermocrates and Sicanus as generals and replacing them with Heraclides, Eucles, and Tellias. Soon after this, the Spartan general Gylippus, responding to the call for help, landed at Himera. He marched towards Syracuse with 700 marines, 1000 hoplites, 100 cavalry, and 1,000 Sicilians. They built another counter-wall on the Epipolae, but were driven back by the Athenians; in a second battle, however, Gylippus defeated the Athenians by making better use of his cavalry and javelin-throwers. The Syracusans completed their counter-wall, making the Athenian wall useless. The Corinthian fleet also arrived, under the command of Erasinides. Nicias, exhausted and suffering from illness, now believed it would be impossible to capture Syracuse. He wrote a letter to Athens, not trusting messengers to give an accurate report, and suggested that they either recall the expedition or send out massive reinforcements. He hoped they would choose to recall him, if not the whole expedition, but instead they chose to send reinforcements, under Demosthenes and Eurymedon. Eurymedon left immediately with ten ships, and Demosthenes left sometime later with a much larger force. Meanwhile, in early 413 BC Sparta acted on Alcibiades' advice to fortify Decelea, and the Athenian force sent to relieve it was destroyed. While Eurymedon was sailing, Gylippus's eighty Syracusan ships, including thirty-five triremes, attacked sixty of the Athenian ships (twenty-five of which were triremes) in the harbour. Gylippus commanded a simultaneous attack on the Athenian land forces. In the harbour, the Athenians were successful, losing only three ships while the Syracusans lost eleven. However, Gylippus defeated the Athenians on land and captured two Athenian forts. Afterwards, Gylippus succeeded in convincing all the neutral cities on Sicily to join him, but the allies of Athens killed 800 Corinthians, including all but one of the Corinthian ambassadors. Demosthenes and Eurymedon then arrived with seventy-three ships and 5,000 hoplites. On their arrival, eighty Syracusan ships attacked seventy-five of the Athenian ships in their harbour. This battle went on for two days with no result, until the Syracusans pretended to back away and attacked the Athenians while they were eating. However, only seven Athenian ships were sunk. Demosthenes landed his forces and attacked the Syracusan counter-wall on Epipolae in a risky night engagement. He succeeded in breaching the wall, but was defeated by a force of Boeotians in the Spartan contingent. Many Athenians fell off the cliff to their death, and some of the rest were killed as they fled down the slope. Demosthenes' arrival provided little relief to the other Athenians. Their camp was located near a marsh and many of them had fallen ill, including Nicias. Seeing this, Demosthenes thought they should all return to Athens to defend Attica against the Spartan invasion that had taken Decelea. Nicias, who had opposed the expedition at first, now did not want to show any weakness either to the Syracusans and Spartans, or to the Athenians at home who would likely put him on trial for failing to conquer the island. He hoped the Syracusans would soon run out of money, and he had also been informed that there were pro-Athenian factions in Syracuse who were ready to turn the city over to him. Demosthenes and Eurymedon reluctantly agreed that Nicias might be right, but when reinforcements from the Peloponnese arrived, Nicias agreed that they should leave. Just as the Athenians were preparing to sail home, on August 28, there was a lunar eclipse, and Nicias, described by Thucydides as a particularly superstitious man, asked the priests what he should do. They suggested the Athenians wait for another 27 days, and Nicias agreed. The Syracusans took advantage of this, and 76 of their ships attacked 86 Athenian ships in the harbour. The Athenians were defeated and Eurymedon was killed. Many of the ships were pushed on to the shore, where Gylippus was waiting. He killed some of the crews and captured 18 beached ships, but a force of Athenians and Etruscans forced Gylippus back. The Athenians were now in a desperate situation. On September 3, the Syracusans began to completely blockade the entrance to the port, trapping the Athenians inside. Outside Syracuse, the Athenians built a smaller walled enclosure for their sick and injured, and put everyone else (including many of the soldiers remaining on land) on their ships for one last battle, on September 9. The fleet was now commanded by Demosthenes, Menander, and Euthydemus, while the Syracusan fleet was led by Sicanus and Agatharchus of Syracuse on the wings and Pythen from Corinth in the centre. Each side had about 100 ships participating. The Athenian ships were extremely cramped and had no room to manoeuvre. Collisions were frequent, and the Syracusans could easily ram the Athenian ships head-on, without the Athenians being able to move to ram them broadside, as they preferred. Javelin throwers and archers shot from each ship, but the Syracusans deflected Athenian grappling hooks by covering their decks with animal hides. The battle went on for some time with no clear victor, but the Syracusans eventually pushed the Athenian ships toward the coast, and the Athenian crews fled to the camp behind their wall. Demosthenes suggested that they man the ships again and attempt to force their way out, as now both fleets had lost about half their ships and Nicias agreed. The men themselves did not want to board the ship because they were afraid. They then decided to retreat by land. Hermocrates sent some supposed informers to the Athenians to falsely report that there were spies and roadblocks further inland, so the Athenians would be safer if they did not march away. Gylippus used this delay to build the roadblocks that did not yet exist, and the Syracusans burned or towed away the Athenian ships on the beach, so that they had no way off the island. On September 13, the Athenians left camp leaving their wounded behind and their dead unburied. The survivors, including all the non-combatants, numbered 40,000, and some of the wounded crawled after them as far as they could go. As they marched they defeated a small Syracusan force guarding the river Anapus, but other Syracusan cavalry and light troops continually harassed them. Near the Erineus river, Demosthenes and Nicias became separated, and Demosthenes was attacked by the Syracusans and forced to surrender his 6,000 troops. The rest of the Syracusans followed Nicias to the Assinarus river, where Nicias' troops became disorganized in the rush to find drinking water. Many Athenians were trampled to death and others were killed while fighting with fellow Athenians. On the other side of the river a Syracusan force was waiting, and the Athenians were almost completely massacred, by far the worst defeat of the entire expedition in terms of lives lost. Nicias personally surrendered to Gylippus, hoping the Spartan would remember his role in the peace treaty of 421. The few who escaped found refuge in Catana. The prisoners, now numbering only 7,000, were held in the stone quarries near Syracuse, as there was no other room for them. Demosthenes and Nicias were executed, against the orders of Gylippus. The rest spent ten weeks in horrible conditions in their makeshift prison, until all but the Athenians, Italians, and Sicilians were sold as slaves. The remaining Athenians were left to die slowly of disease and starvation in the quarry. In the end some of the very last survivors managed to escape and eventually trickled to Athens, bringing first-hand news of the disaster. In Athens, the citizens did not, at first, believe the defeat. Plutarch, in his Life of Nicias, recounts how the news reached the city: When the magnitude of the disaster became evident, there was a general panic. Attica seemed free for the taking, as the Spartans were so close by in Decelea. The defeat caused a great shift in policy for many other states, as well. States which had until now been neutral joined with Sparta, assuming that Athens' defeat was imminent. Many of Athens' allies in the Delian League also revolted, and although the city immediately began to rebuild its fleet, there was little they could do about the revolts for the time being. The expedition and consequent disaster left Athens reeling. Some 10,000 hoplites had perished, and though this was a blow, the real concern was the loss of the huge fleet dispatched to Sicily. Triremes could be replaced, but the 30,000 experienced oarsmen lost in Sicily were irreplaceable and Athens had to rely on ill-trained slaves to form the backbone of her new fleet. In 411 BC, the Athenian democracy was overthrown in favour of an oligarchy, and Persia joined the war on the Spartan side. Although things looked grim for Athens, they were able to recover for a few years. The oligarchy was soon overthrown, and Athens won the Battle of Cynossema; however, the defeat of the Sicilian expedition was essentially the beginning of the end for Athens. In 404 BC they were defeated and occupied by Sparta.
Oligarchy (from Greek (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning "few", and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning "to rule or to command") is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next. But inheritance is not a necessary condition for the application of this term. In his influential 2011 book, "Oligarchy," Jeffrey A. Winters defines oligarchy as "the politics of wealth defense by materially endowed actors." In Winters' definition,the possession of massive wealth is the decisive factor in identifying oligarchs. But some oligarchs, according to Winters' analysis, do not directly govern the societies they inhabit; they thus can rule directly or through an intermediary. Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical (relying on public obedience and/or oppression to exist) or relatively benign. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy. However, oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be connected by bloodlines as in a monarchy. Especially during the fourth century BC, after the restoration of democracy from oligarchical coups, the Athenians used the drawing of lots for selecting government officers in order to counteract what the Athenians acutely saw as a tendency toward oligarchy in government if a professional governing class were allowed to use their skills for their own benefit. They drew lots from large groups of adult volunteers as a selection technique for civil servants performing judicial, executive, and administrative functions (archai, boulē, and hēliastai). They even used lots for very important posts, such as judges and jurors in the political courts (nomothetai), which had the power to overrule the Assembly. Forms of government and other political structures associated with oligarchy can include aristocracy, meritocracy, military junta, plutocracy, stratocracy, technocracy, theocracy and timocracy. Corporate oligarchy is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities, lobbyists that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative. Monopolies are sometimes granted to state-controlled entities, such as the Royal Charter granted to the East India Company, or privileged bargaining rights to unions (labor monopolies) with very partisan political interests. Today's multinational corporations function as corporate oligarchies with influence over democratically elected officials. Robert Michels believed that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy. He called this the iron law of oligarchy. According to this school of thought, many modern democracies should be considered as oligarchies. In these systems, actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians' careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is only one political party, the incumbent party.][ and that is the end. One example would be the former Soviet Union where only members of the Communist Party were allowed to vote or hold office][. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union on 31 December 1991, privately owned Russia-based multinational corporations, including producers of petroleum, natural gas, and metal have, in the view of some analysts, become oligarchs. In May 2004, the Russian edition of Forbes identified 36 of these oligarchs as being worth at least $1 billion. A modern example of oligarchy could be seen in South Africa during the much of the twentieth century. Here, the basic characteristics of oligarchy are particularly easy to observe, since the South African form of oligarchy was based on an oligos (few) clearly defined by race. After the Second Boer War, a tacit agreement or understanding was reached between English- and Afrikaans-speaking whites. Together, they made up about twenty percent of the population, but this small percentage ruled the vast non-white and mixed-race population. Whites had access to virtually all the educational and trade opportunities, and they proceeded to deny this to the black majority even further than before. Although this process had been going on since the mid-17th- 18th century, after 1948 it became official government policy and became known worldwide as apartheid. This lasted until the arrival of majority rule in South Africa in 1994, punctuated by the transition to a democratically-elected government dominated by the black majority. Some contemporary authors have characterized current conditions in the United States as being oligarchic in nature. Simon Johnson wrote that "the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent," a structure which he delineated as being the "most advanced" in the world. Jeffrey A. Winters argues that "oligarchy and democracy operate within a single system, and American politics is a daily display of their interplay." Bernie Sanders (I-VT) opined in a 2010 The Nation article that an "upper-crust of extremely wealthy families are hell-bent on destroying the democratic vision of a strong middle-class which has made the United States the envy of the world. In its place they are determined to create an oligarchy in which a small number of families control the economic and political life of our country." United States political and finance industry leadership has recently been dominated by people associated with Harvard and Yale. All nine members of the current Supreme Court attended Harvard or Yale law schools. The last member appointed to the court who was not a former student at one of those two institutions was Sandra Day O'Connor, appointed by the newly elected President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Reagan was also the last United States President who did not attend either Harvard or Yale. A well-known fictional oligarchy is represented by the Party in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The socialists in the Jack London novel The Iron Heel fight a rebellion against the oligarchy ruling in the United States. In the Ender's Quartet, by Orson Scott Card - specifically Xenocide, Speaker for the Dead, and Children of The Mind - there is an Oligarchy of the Starways Congress which rules by controlling communication by the Ansible. The Capitol in The Hunger Games trilogy is also a form of Oligarchy, as is the nation of Tear (ruled by a group of High Lords, until the appointment of High Lord Darlin as King of Tear) in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. Prolific authors on the subject of oligarchy include Vilfredo Pareto, Gaetano Mosca, Thomas R. Dye, Robert Michels, Jeffrey A. Winters and Plato.
Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the central city-state of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 550 BC. Athens is one of the first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, and even though most followed an Athenian model, none were as powerful, stable, nor as well-documented as that of Athens. It remains a unique and intriguing experiment in direct democracy, a political system in which the people do not elect representatives to vote on their behalf but vote on legislation and executive bills in their own right. Participation was by no means open, but the in-group of participants was constituted with no reference to economic class and they participated on a large scale. The public opinion of voters was remarkably influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theatres. Solon (594 BC), Cleisthenes (508/7 BC), and Ephialtes (462 BC) contributed to the development of Athenian democracy creating new institutions. The greatest and longest lasting democratic leader was Pericles; after his death, Athenian democracy was twice briefly interrupted by oligarchic revolution towards the end of the Peloponnesian War. It was modified somewhat after it was restored under Eucleides; the most detailed accounts are of this fourth-century modification rather than the Periclean system. It was suppressed by the Macedonians in 322 BC. The Athenian institutions were later revived, but the extent to which they were a real democracy is debatable. The word "democracy" (Greek: δημοκρατία) combines the elements dêmos (δῆμος, which means "people") and krátos (κράτος, which means "force" or "power"). In the words "monarchy" and "oligarchy", the second element arche (ἀρχή) means "rule", "leading" or "being first". It is unlikely that the term "democracy" was coined by its detractors who rejected the possibility of a valid "demarchy", as the word "demarchy" already existed and had the meaning of mayor or municipal. One could assume the new term was coined and adopted by Athenian democrats. The word is attested in Herodotus, who wrote some of the first surviving Greek prose, but this may not have been before 440 or 430 BC. We are not certain that the word "democracy" was extant when systems that came to be called democratic were first instituted, but around 460 BC an individual is known whose parents had decided to name him 'Democrates', a name which may have been manufactured as a gesture of democratic loyalty; the name can also be found in Aeolian Temnus, not a particularly democratic state.][ Estimates of the population of ancient Athens vary. During the 4th century BC, there may well have been some 250,000–300,000 people in Attica. Citizen families may have amounted to 100,000 people and out of these some 30,000 will have been the adult male citizens entitled to vote in the assembly. In the mid-5th century the number of adult male citizens was perhaps as high as 60,000, but this number fell precipitously during the Peloponnesian War. This slump was permanent due to the introduction of a stricter definition of citizen described below. From a modern perspective these figures may seem small, but in the world of Greek city-states Athens was huge: most of the thousand or so Greek cities could only muster 1000–1500 adult male citizens and Corinth, a major power, had at most 15,000 but in some very seldom cases more. The non-citizen component of the population was divided between resident foreigners (metics) and slaves, with the latter perhaps somewhat more numerous. Around 338 BC the orator Hyperides (fragment 13) claimed that there were 150,000 slaves in Attica, but this figure is probably not more than an impression: slaves outnumbered those of citizen stock but did not swamp them.][ Only adult male Athenian citizens who had completed their military training as ephebes had the right to vote in Athens. The percentage of the population that actually participated in the government was about 20%.][ This excluded a majority of the population, namely slaves, freed slaves, children, women and metics.][ The women had limited rights and privileges and were not really considered citizens. They had restricted movement in public and were very segregated from the men. Also excluded from voting were citizens whose rights were under suspension (typically for failure to pay a debt to the city: see atimia); for some Athenians this amounted to permanent (and in fact inheritable) disqualification. Still, in contrast with oligarchical societies, there were no real property qualification for voting. (The property classes of Solon's constitution remained on the books, but they fell into disuse.) Given the exclusionary and ancestral conception of citizenship held by Greek city-states, a relatively large portion of the population took part in the government of Athens and of other radical democracies like it.][ At Athens some citizens were far more active than others, but the vast numbers required just for the system to work testify to a breadth of participation among those eligible that greatly surpassed any present day democracy][. Athenian citizens had to be descended from citizens—after the reforms of Pericles and Cimon in 450 BC on both sides of the family, excluding the children of Athenian men and foreign women.][ Although the legislation was not retrospective, five years later the Athenians removed 5000 from the citizen registers when a free gift of grain arrived for all citizens from an Egyptian king.][ Citizenship could be granted by the assembly and was sometimes given to large groups (Plateans in 427 BC, Samians in 405 BC) but, by the 4th century, only to individuals and by a special vote with a quorum of 6000. This was generally done as a reward for some service to the state. In the course of a century, the numbers involved were in the hundreds rather than thousands. There were three political bodies where citizens gathered in numbers running into the hundreds or thousands. These are the assembly (in some cases with a quorum of 6000), the council of 500 (boule) and the courts (a minimum of 200 people, but running at least on some occasions up to 6000). Of these three bodies it is the assembly and the courts that were the true sites of power — although courts, unlike the assembly, were never simply called the demos (the People) as they were manned by a subset of the citizen body, those over thirty. But crucially citizens voting in both were not subject to review and prosecution as were council members and all other officeholders. In the 5th century BC we often hear of the assembly sitting as a court of judgment itself for trials of political importance and it is not a coincidence that 6000 is the number both for the full quorum for the assembly and for the annual pool from which jurors were picked for particular trials. By the mid-4th century however the assembly's judicial functions were largely curtailed, though it always kept a role in the initiation of various kinds of political trial. The central events of the Athenian democracy were the meetings of the assembly (, ekklêsia). Unlike a parliament, the assembly's members were not elected, but attended by right when they chose. Greek democracy created at Athens was direct, rather than representative: any adult male citizen of age][ could take part, and it was a duty to do so. The officials of the democracy were in part elected by the Assembly and in large part chosen by lottery. The assembly had four main functions: it made executive pronouncements (decrees, such as deciding to go to war or granting citizenship to a foreigner); it elected some officials; it legislated; and it tried political crimes. As the system evolved these last two functions were shifted to the law courts. The standard format was that of speakers making speeches for and against a position followed by a general vote (usually by show of hands) of yes or no. Though there might be blocs of opinion, sometimes enduring, on important matters, there were no political parties and likewise no government or opposition (as in the Westminster system). Voting was by simple majority. In the 5th century at least there were scarcely any limits on the power exercised by the assembly. If the assembly broke the law, the only thing that might happen is that it would punish those who had made the proposal that it had agreed to. If a mistake had been made, from the assembly's viewpoint it could only be because it had been misled.][ As usual in ancient democracies, one had to physically attend a gathering in order to vote. Military service or simple distance prevented the exercise of citizenship. Voting was usually by show of hands (χειροτονία, kheirotonia, "arm stretching") with officials judging the outcome by sight. With thousands of people attending, counting was impossible.][ For a small category of votes a quorum of 6000 was required, principally grants of citizenship, and here small coloured stones were used, white for yes and black for no. At the end of the session, each voter tossed one of these into a large clay jar which was afterwards cracked open for the counting of the ballots. Ostracism required the voters to scratch names onto pieces of broken pottery (ὄστρακα, ostraka), though this did not occur within the assembly as such. In the 5th century BC, there were 10 fixed assembly meetings per year, one in each of the ten state months, with other meetings called as needed. In the following century the meetings were set to forty a year, with four in each state month. One of these was now called the main meeting, kyria ekklesia. Additional meetings might still be called, especially as up until 355 BC there were still political trials that were conducted in the assembly rather than in court. The assembly meetings did not occur at fixed intervals, as they had to avoid clashing with the annual festivals that followed the lunar calendar. There was also a tendency for the four meetings to be aggregated toward the end of each state month. Attendance at the assembly was not always voluntary. In the 5th century public slaves forming a cordon with a red-stained rope herded citizens from the agora into the assembly meeting place (Pnyx), with a fine being imposed on those who got the red on their clothes. After the restoration of the democracy in 403 BC, pay for assembly attendance was introduced. This promoted a new enthusiasm for assembly meetings. Only the first 6000 to arrive were admitted and paid, with the red rope now used to keep latecomers at bay. The presidency of the boule rotated monthly amongst the ten prytanies, or delegations from the ten Cleisthenic tribes, of the Boule (there were ten months in the Hellenic calendar). The epistates (ἐπιστάτης), an official selected by lot for a single day from among the currently presiding prytany, chaired that day's meeting of the boule and, if there was one, that day's meeting of the assembly; he also held the keys to the treasury and the seal to the city, and welcomed foreign ambassadors. It has been calculated that one quarter of all citizens must at one time in their lives have held the post, which could be held only once in a lifetime. The boule also served as an executive committee for the assembly, and oversaw the activities of certain other magistrates. The boule coordinated the activities of the various boards and magistrates that carried out the administrative functions of Athens and provided from its own membership randomly selected boards of ten responsible for areas ranging from naval affairs to religious observances. Altogether, the boule was responsible for a great portion of the administration of the state, but was granted relatively little latitude for initiative; the boule's control over policy was executed in its probouleutic, rather than its executive function; in the former, it prepared measures for deliberation by the assembly, in the latter, it merely executed the wishes of the assembly. Athens had an elaborate legal system centered on full citizen rights (see atimia). The age limit, the same as that for office holders but ten years older than that required for participation in the assembly, gave the courts a certain standing in relation to the assembly; for the Athenians of the court were not only older, but were wiser, too. Jurors were required to be under oath, which was not required for attendance at the assembly. The authority exercised by the courts had the same basis as that of the assembly: both were regarded as expressing the direct will of the people. Unlike office holders (magistrates) who could be impeached and prosecuted for misconduct, the jurors could not be censured, for they, in effect, were the people and no authority could be higher than that. A corollary of this was that, at least in words spoken by the jurors, if a court had made an unjust decision, it must have been because it had been misled by a litigant.][ Essentially there were two grades of suit, a smaller kind known as dike (δίκη) or private suit, and a larger kind known as graphe or public suit. For private suits the minimum jury size was 200 (increased to 401 if a sum of over 1000 drachmas was at issue), for public suits 501. The juries were selected by lot from a panel of 600 jurors, there being 600 jurors from each of the ten tribes of Athens, making a jury pool of 6000 in total. For particularly important public suits the jury could be increased by adding in extra allotments of 500. 1000 and 1500 are regularly encountered as jury sizes and on at least one occasion, the first time a new kind of case was brought to court (see graphē paranómōn), all 6,000 members of the jury pool were put onto the one case. The cases were put by the litigants themselves in the form of an exchange of single speeches timed by water clock, first prosecutor then defendant. In a public suit the litigants each had three hours to speak, much less in private suits (though here it was in proportion to the amount of money at stake). Decisions were made by voting without any time set aside for deliberation. Jurors did talk informally amongst themselves during the voting procedure and juries could be rowdy, shouting out their disapproval or disbelief of things said by the litigants. This may have had some role in building a consensus. The jury could only cast a 'yes' or 'no' vote as to the guilt and sentence of the defendant. For private suits only the victims or their families could prosecute, while for public suits anyone (ho boulomenos, 'whoever wants to' i.e. any citizen with full citizen rights) could bring a case since the issues in these major suits were regarded as affecting the community as a whole. Justice was rapid: a case could last not longer than one day.][ Some convictions triggered an automatic penalty, but where this was not the case the two litigants each proposed a penalty for the convicted defendant and the jury chose between them in a further vote.][ No appeal was possible. There was however a mechanism for prosecuting the witnesses of a successful prosecutor, which it appears could lead to the undoing of the earlier verdict. Payment for jurors was introduced around 462 BC and is ascribed to Pericles, a feature described by Aristotle as fundamental to radical democracy (Politics 1294a37). Pay was raised from 2 to 3 obols by Cleon early in the Peloponnesian war and there it stayed; the original amount is not known. Notably, this was introduced more than fifty years before payment for attendance at assembly meetings. Running the courts was one of the major expenses of the Athenian state and there were moments of financial crisis in the 4th century when the courts, at least for private suits, had to be suspended.][ The system showed a marked anti-professionalism. No judges presided over the courts nor did anyone give legal direction to the jurors; magistrates had only an administrative function and were laymen. Most of the annual magistracies at Athens could only be held once in a lifetime. There were no lawyers as such; litigants acted solely in their capacity as citizens. Whatever professionalism there was tended to disguise itself; it was possible to pay for the services of a speechwriter (logographos) but this was not advertised in court (except as something your opponent had to resort to), and even politically prominent litigants made some show of disowning special expertise. These juries formed a second mode for the expression of popular sovereignty; as in the assembly, citizens acting as jurors acted as the people and were immune from review or punishment. As the system evolved, the courts (that is, citizens under another guise) intruded upon the power of the assembly. From 355 BC political trials were no longer held in the assembly, but only in a court. In 416 BC the graphē paranómōn ("indictment against measures contrary to the laws") was introduced. Under this, anything passed by the assembly or even proposed but not yet voted on, could be put on hold for review before a jury — which might annul it and perhaps punish the proposer as well. Remarkably, it seems that a measure blocked before the assembly voted on it did not need to go back to the assembly if it survived the court challenge: the court was enough to validate it. Once again it is important to bear in mind the lack of 'neutral' state intervention. To give a schematic scenario by way of illustration: two men have clashed in the assembly about a proposal put by one of them; it passed, and now the two of them go to court with the loser in the assembly prosecuting both the law and its proposer. The quantity of these suits was enormous: in effect the courts became a kind of upper house. In the 5th century there was in effect no procedural difference between an executive decree and a law: they were both simply passed by the assembly. But from 403 BC they were set sharply apart. Henceforth laws were made not in the assembly, but by special panels of 1000 citizens drawn from the annual jury pool of 6000. They were known as the nomothetai (νομοθέται), the lawmakers.] [Nomothetai are junior archons, not the jury. Here again it is not anything like a legislative commission sitting down to discuss the pros and cons and drafting proposals, but the format is that of a trial, voting yes or no after a clash of speeches and such. The institutions sketched above — assembly, officeholders, council, courts — are incomplete without the figure that drove the whole system, Ho boulomenos, he who wishes, or anyone who wishes. This expression encapsulated the right of citizens to take the initiative: to stand to speak in the assembly, to initiate a public law suit (that is, one held to affect the political community as a whole), to propose a law before the lawmakers or to approach the council with suggestions. Unlike officeholders, the citizen initiator was not vetted before taking up office or automatically reviewed after stepping down — it had after all no set tenure and might be an action lasting only a moment. But any stepping forward into the democratic limelight was risky and if someone chose (another citizen initiator) they could be called to account for their actions and punished. The degree of participation among citizens varied greatly, along a spectrum from doing virtually nothing towards something like a full-time committent. But for even the most active citizen the formal basis of his political activity was the invitation issued to everyone (every qualified free male Athenian citizen) by the phrase "whoever wishes". There are then three functions: the officeholders organized and saw to the complex protocols; Ho boulomenos was the initiator and the proposer of content; and finally the people, massed in assembly or court or convened as lawmakers, made the decisions, either yes or no, or choosing between alternatives.][ The administration was in the hands of officeholders, for over a thousand years][. Something like 1100 citizens (including the members of the council of 500) held office each year. They were mostly chosen by lot, with a much smaller (and more prestigious) group of about 100 elected. Neither was compulsory; individuals had to nominate themselves for both selection methods. In particular, those chosen by lot were citizens acting without particular expertise. This was almost inevitable since, with the notable exception of the generals (strategoi), each office could be held by the same person only once. Part of the ethos of democracy, however, was the building of general competence by ongoing involvement. In the 5th century version of the democracy, the ten annually elected generals were often very prominent, but for those who had power, it lay primarily in their frequent speeches and in the respect accorded them in the assembly, rather than their vested powers. While citizens voting in the assembly were the people and so were free of review or punishment, those same citizens when holding an office served the people and could be punished very severely. All of them were subject to a review beforehand that might disqualify them for office and an examination after stepping down. Officeholders were the agents of the people, not their representatives. Citizens active as office holders served in a quite different capacity from when they voted in the assembly or served as jurors. The assembly and the courts were regarded as the instantiation of the people of Athens: they were the people, no power was above them and they could not be reviewed, impeached or punished. However, when an Athenian took up an office, he was regarded as 'serving' the people. As such, he could be regarded as failing in his duty and be punished for it. There were in fact some limitations on who could hold office. Age restrictions were in place with thirty (and in some cases forty][) years as a minimum, rendering something like a third of the adult citizen body ineligible at any one time. An unknown proportion of citizens were also subject to disenfranchisement (atimia), excluding some of them permanently and others temporarily (depending on the type). Furthermore, all citizens selected were reviewed before taking up office (dokimasia) at which they might be disqualified. Competence does not seem to have been the main issue, but rather, at least in the 4th century BC, whether they were loyal democrats or had oligarchic tendencies. After leaving office they were subject to a scrutiny (euthunai, literally 'straightenings') to review their performance. Both of these processes were in most cases brief and formulaic, but they opened up in the possibility, if some citizen wanted to take some matter up, of a contest before a jury court. In the case of a scrutiny going to trial, there was the risk for the former officeholder of suffering severe penalties. Finally, even during his period of office, any officeholder could be impeached and removed from office by the assembly. In each of the ten "main meetings" (kuriai ekklesiai) a year, the question was explicitly raised in the assembly agenda: were the office holders carrying out their duties correctly? By and large the power exercised by these officials was routine administration and quite limited. The powers of officials were precisely defined and their capacity for initiative limited. They administered rather than governed. When it came to penal sanctions, no officeholder could impose a fine over fifty drachmas. Anything higher had to go before a court. Selection by lottery was the standard means as it was regarded as the more democratic: elections would favour those who were rich, noble, eloquent and well-known, while allotment spread the work of administration throughout the whole citizen body, engaging them in the crucial democratic experience of, to use Aristotle's words, "ruling and being ruled in turn" (Politics 1317b28–30). The allotment of an individual was based on citizenship rather than merit or any form of personal popularity which could be bought. Allotment therefore was seen as a means to prevent the corrupt purchase of votes and it gave citizens a unique form of political equality as all had an equal chance of obtaining government office. The random assignment of responsibility to individuals who may or may not be competent has obvious risks, but the system included features meant to obviate possible problems. Athenians selected for office served as teams (boards, panels). In a group someone will know the right way to do things and those that do not may learn from those that do. During the period of holding a particular office everyone on the team is observing everybody else. There were however officials such as the nine archons, who while seemingly a board carried out very different functions from each other. No office appointed by lot could be held twice by the same individual. The only exception was the boule or council of 500. In this case, simply by demographic necessity, an individual could serve twice in a lifetime. This principle extended down to the secretaries and undersecretaries who served as assistants to magistrates such as the archons. To the Athenians it seems what had to be guarded against was not incompetence but any tendency to use office as a way of accumulating ongoing power. Approximately one hundred officials out of a thousand were elected rather than chosen by lot. There were two main categories in this group: those required to handle large sums of money, and the 10 generals, the strategoi. One reason that financial officials were elected was that any money embezzled could be recovered from their estates; election in general strongly favoured the rich, but in this case wealth was virtually a prerequisite. Generals were elected not only because their role required expert knowledge but also because they needed to be people with experience and contacts in the wider Greek world where wars were fought. In the 5th century BC, principally as seen through the figure of Pericles, the generals could be among the most powerful people in the polis. Yet in the case of Pericles, it is wrong to see his power as coming from his long series of annual generalships (each year along with nine others). His office holding was rather an expression and a result of the influence he wielded. That influence was based on his relation with the assembly, a relation that in the first instance lay simply in the right of any citizen to stand and speak before the people. Under the 4th century version of democracy the roles of general and of key political speaker in the assembly tended to be filled by different persons. In part this was a consequence of the increasingly specialised forms of warfare practiced in the later period. Elected officials too were subject to review before holding office and scrutiny after office. And they too could be removed from office at any time that the assembly met. In one case from the 5th century BC, the ten treasurers of the Delian league (the Hellenotamiai) were accused at their scrutinies of misappropriation of funds. Put on trial, they were condemned and executed one by one until before the trial of the tenth and last an error of accounting was discovered, allowing him to go free. (Antiphon 5.69–70][) There was also a death penalty for "inadequate performance" while in office. Another interesting insight into Athenian democracy comes from the law that excluded from decisions of war those citizens who had property close to the city walls][ - on the basis that they had a personal interest in the outcome of such debates because the practice of an invading army at the time was to destroy the land outside the walls. A good example of the contempt the first democrats felt for those who did not participate in politics can be found in the modern word 'idiot', which finds its origins in the ancient Greek word , idiōtēs, meaning a private person, a person who is not actively interested in politics; such characters were talked about with contempt, and the word eventually acquired its modern meaning. According to Thucydides, Pericles may have declared in a funeral oration: We do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all. Athenian democracy had many critics, both ancient and modern. Modern critics are more likely to find fault with the narrow definition of the citizen body, but in the ancient world the complaint if anything went in the opposite direction. Ancient authors were almost invariably from an elite background for whom giving poor and uneducated people power over their betters seemed a reversal of the proper, rational order of society. For them the demos in democracy meant not the whole people, but the people as opposed to the elite. Instead of seeing it as a fair system under which 'everyone' has equal rights, they saw it as the numerically preponderant poor tyrannizing over the rich. They viewed society like a modern stock company: democracy is like a company where all shareholders have an equal say regardless of the scale of their holding; one share or ten thousand, it makes no difference. They regarded this as manifestly unjust. In Aristotle this is categorized as the difference between 'arithmetic' and 'geometric' (i.e. proportional) equality. Those writing in later centuries generally had no direct experience of democracy themselves. To its ancient detractors the democracy was reckless and arbitrary. They had some signal instances to point to, especially from the long years of the Peloponnesian War. Two coups briefly interrupted democratic rule during the Peloponnesian war, both named by the numbers in control: the Four Hundred in 411 BC and the Thirty in 404 BC. The focus on number speaks to the drive behind each of them: to reduce the size of the electorate by linking the franchise with property qualifications. Though both ended up as rogue governments and did not follow through on their constitutional promises, they began as responses from the Athenian elite to what they saw as the inherent arbitrariness of government by the masses (Plato in the Seventh Epistle does remark that the Thirty made the preceding democratic regime look like a Golden Age). Whether the democratic failures should be seen as systemic, or as a product of the extreme conditions of the Peloponnesian war, there does seem to have been a move toward correction. A new version of democracy was established from 403 BC, but it can be linked with both earlier and subsequent reforms (graphē paranómōn 416 BC; end of assembly trials 355 BC). For the first time a conceptual and procedural distinction was made between laws and decrees. Increasingly, responsibility was shifted from the assembly to the courts, with laws being made by jurors and all assembly decisions becoming reviewable by courts. That is to say, the mass meeting of all citizens lost some ground to gatherings of a thousand or so which were under oath, and with more time to focus on just one matter (though never more than a day). One downside was that the new democracy was less capable of rapid response. Another tack of criticism is to notice the disquieting links between democracy and a number of less than appealing features of Athenian life. Although democracy predated Athenian imperialism by over thirty years, they are sometimes associated with each other. For much of the 5th century at least democracy fed off an empire of subject states. Thucydides the son of Milesias (not the historian), an aristocrat, stood in opposition to these policies, for which he was ostracised in 443 BC. At times the imperialist democracy acted with extreme brutality, as in the decision to execute the entire male population of Melos and sell off its women and children simply for refusing to became subjects of Athens. The common people were numerically dominant in the navy, which they used to pursue their own interests in the form of work as rowers and in the hundreds of overseas administrative positions. Further they used the income from empire to fund payment for officeholding. This is the position set out by the anti-democratic pamphlet known whose anonymous author is often called the Old Oligarch. On the other hand the empire was, more or less, defunct in the 4th century BC so it cannot be said that democracy was not viable without it. Only then in fact was payment for assembly attendance, the central event of democracy (Similarly for the period before the Persian wars, but for the very early democracy the sources are very meagre and it can be thought of as being in an embryonic state). A case can be made that discriminatory lines came to be drawn more sharply under Athenian democracy than before or elsewhere, in particular in relation to woman and slaves, as well as in the line between citizens and non-citizens. By so strongly validating one role, that of the male citizen, it has been argued that democracy compromised the status of those who did not share it. Although metics had no direct political influence many were wealthy business owners who could, and sometimes did, influence policy by not allowing their citizen employees time off to attend the assembly, as well as having the simple expedient of wealth. Contemporary opponents of majoritarianism (arguably the principle behind Athenian democracy) call it an illiberal regime (in contrast to liberal democracy) that allegedly leads to anomie, balkanization, and xenophobia. Proponents (especially of majoritarianism) deny these accusations, and argue that any faults in Athenian democracy were because the franchise was quite limited (only male citizens could vote — women, slaves and non-citizens were excluded). Despite this limited franchise, Athenian democracy was certainly the first — and perhaps the best — example of a working direct democracy. Alexander the Great had led a coalition of the Greek states to war with Persia in 336 BC, but his Greek soldiers were hostages for the behavior of their states as much as allies. His relations with Athens were already strained when he returned to Babylon in 324 BC; after his death, Athens and Sparta led several Greek states to war with Macedon and lost. This led to the first of a number of periods in which an outside power controlled Athens; Often the outside power set up a local agent as political boss in Athens; but when Athens was independent, it operated under its traditional form of government; even the bosses, like Demetrius of Phalerum, kept the traditional institutions in formal existence. An independent Athens was a minor power in the Hellenistic age; it rarely had much in the way of foreign policy; it generally remained at peace, allied either with the Ptolemaic dynasty, or later, with Rome; when it went to war, the result (as in the Lamian, Chremonidean, and Mithridatic War) was usually disastrous. Under the Roman alliance, the more oligarchic parts of the Athenian constitution, the Areopagus and election of officials, became relatively more important, and the Assembly and selection by lot less so. After about 125 BC, the eponymous archon, and probably the others, were normally prominent men, and this oligarchic tendency appears to have been produced by a system of election. In 88 BC, there was a revolution under the philosopher Athenion, who persuaded the Assembly to agree to elect whomever he might ask to office.][ Athenion allied with Mithridates of Pontus, and went to war with Rome; he was killed during the war, and was replaced by Aristion. The victorious Roman general, Publius Cornelius Sulla, left the Athenians their lives and did not sell them into slavery; he also restored the previous government, in 86 BC. After Rome became an Empire under Augustus, the nominal independence of Athens dissolved and its government converged to the normal type for a Roman municipality, with a Senate of decuriones.
Sparta Athens Sparta Oligarchy

Ancient history is the aggregate of past events from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages or the Postclassical Era. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Sumerian Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC.

The term classical antiquity is often used to refer to history in the Old World from the beginning of recorded Greek history in 776 BC (First Olympiad). This roughly coincides with the traditional date of the founding of Rome in 753 BC, the beginning of the history of ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Archaic period in Ancient Greece. Although the ending date of ancient history is disputed, some Western scholars use the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, the closure of the Platonic Academy in 529 AD, the death of the emperor Justinian I, the coming of Islam or the rise of Charlemagne as the end of ancient and Classical European history.

The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece (508–322 BC) was a notable polis (city-state) of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias. This system remained remarkably stable, and with a few brief interruptions remained in place for 180 years, until 322 BC (aftermath of Lamian War). The peak of Athenian hegemony was achieved in the 440s to 430s BC, known as the Age of Pericles.

In the classical period, Athens was a center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Akademia and Aristotle's Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles, and many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization, and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.

Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundations of the Western Civilization. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as architecture, scientific thought, literature, and philosophy derives from this period of Greek history. In the context of the art, architecture, and culture of Ancient Greece, the Classical period, sometimes called the Hellenic period, corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC (the most common dates being the fall of the last Athenian tyrant in 510 BC to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC). The Classical period in this sense follows the Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period.

Never at War: Why Democracies Will Not Fight One Another is a book by the historian and physicist Spencer R. Weart published by Yale University Press in 1998. It examines political and military conflicts throughout human history and finds no exception to one of the claims made by the controversial democratic peace theory: well-established liberal democracies have never made war on one another. In addition to the democratic peace, Weart argues that there is also an oligarchic peace and provides a new explanation for both the democratic and oligarchic peace. The book is often mentioned in the academic debate and has received both praise and criticism.

Due to the long time period, Weart has often relied on the works of other historians but has consulted at least five works for even trivial crises involving democracies and oligarchies. Some cases have never been studied with this question in mind and he has then used primary sources which included reading works in French, German (including Alemannic German), Italian (including the Tuscan dialect), Spanish, Greek and Latin.


Ancient Greece was a Greek civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period]citation needed[ of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (ca. 600 AD). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the period of Classical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Classical Greece began with the repelling of a Persian invasion by Athenian leadership. Because of conquests by Alexander the Great, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea.

Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean region and Europe, for which reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture.

Greek mythology is the body of myths and teachings that belong to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. It was a part of the religion in ancient Greece. Modern scholars refer to and study the myths in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

Greek mythology is explicitly embodied in a large collection of narratives, and implicitly in Greek representational arts, such as vase-paintings and votive gifts. Greek myth attempts to explain the origins of the world, and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and mythological creatures. These accounts initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; today the Greek myths are known primarily from Greek literature.


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