Ancient spartan government essays

''Cynisca’s quadriga (four-horse chariot) was evidence of great wealth like that of some of her contemporaries who were victors, including tyrants in Sicily. Likewise, Cynisca’s commemorative monuments were examples of conspicuous consumption equal to those of men. Like wealthy men who owned racehorses, Cynisca did not drive them herself but employed a jockey. Indeed, she would not even have been present at the victorious event in as much as women were not permitted to attend the games. Her image, however, stood in the sanctuary. Apelleas, son of Callicles, of Megara, created a sculpture of her chariot, charioteer, and horses in bronze, and a statue of Cynisca herself. He also made bronzes of her horses that were smaller than lifesize. These were erected at Olympia. They were the first monuments dedicated by a woman to commemorate victories at pan-Hellenic competitions. The choice of Apelleas suggests that Cynisca had done some research to find a sculptor from an allied city who specialized in images of women. Apelleas was fond of depicting women praying. Thus, it is quite possible that Cynisca was portrayed expressing gratitude to the gods. The author of the epigram inscribed on the base of her statue is unknown. The poem is metrically competent; straightforward in the “Laconic” style; and of course, written in the Doric dialect.
Cynisca herself is represented as speaking: My ancestors and brothers were kings of Sparta.
I, Cynisca, victorious with a chariot of swift-footed horses, erected this statue. I declare that I am the only woman in all of Greece to have won this crown.'' (page 22)

The Spartans had lost up to 4000 hoplites and the helots revolted, a one two punch they would never recover from as Spartan citizenship was dependant on blood lines and their was no way to quickly regain manpower in their rigid society. The Spartan military had entered its long slow decline, eventualy their once cutting edge ancient weapons and tactics were even eclipsed. Nonetheless, Sparta was able to continue as a regional power for another two centuries. Neither Philip II nor his son Alexander the Great attempted to conquer Sparta itself respecting Spartan martial skill and not wanting to risk potentially high losses. It was reported that as late as 378 AD, following the disastrous defeat of the Roman imperial army at the Battle of Adrianople that a Spartan militia organized a phalanx and defeated a force of raiding Goths in battle.

Sparta’s Military Legacy
Spartan warriors have been inspired many throughout history. Admiration for the Spartans even has a name, Laconophilia. Their actions at the Battle of Thermopylae in particular have a place in the modern culture and it is perhaps the most famous last stand in history. The story about how 300 Spartans (and 700 Thespiae, who are often neglected) defended the pass at Thermopylae for 3 days against what against a massive Persian army (2 million according to Herodotus, although probably around 70,000 – 300,000 by modern estimations) has been told countless times. Modern interpretations of the Spartans have typically whitewashed some of their more brutal intuitions and portrayed them as the saviors of Western culture. This honorific, if applied to them along with the other Greek States, is not entirely undeserved though as Greek culture would become the bases for Western culture. A Persian victory over the Greeks would certainly have extinguished this light, along with ideas such as democracy, philosophy and science.


The main reason for the launch of the war was the Spartan fear of Athens's growing power and prosperity. Athens rule over most of the Mediterranean region along with Greece/Hellas, 50 years preceding the war, instigated the war.
According to Thucydides, that after Athens became the leader of the Delian League, they became the supreme power known as the Athenian Empire. They nearly drove out the Persians from their regions of Aegean and occupied supremacy over a large number of territories. Athens naval power was also growing day-by-day endangering the bordering states.
During the Persian war in 480 BC, Athens power had grown by leaps and bounds and with the help of its allies continued its attacks on the Persian territories of Ionia and Aegean. Athens also constructed walls around its empire to save them from Spartan land attack, when the Persians fled Greece. This enraged the Spartans, who took no action at that time.
In 459 BC Athens took advantage between the Megara and Corinth war siding with Megara. This helped them gain a foothold on the Isthmus of Corinth. This resulted in a war, known as the 'The First Peloponnesian War' fought between Athens and Sparta, Corinth, Aegean and other states. At the end of the war, however, Athens backed out from Greek mainland, due to an enormous attack by the Spartans. A thirty years treaty was signed between Athens and Sparta in 446 BC.

Ancient spartan government essays

ancient spartan government essays

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