Sparta’s Political and Social Organization

Due to its extreme militaristic lifestyle, Sparta’s political organization was different from that of Athens, and less democratic. In ancient times, Sparta was ruled by a monarchical system composed of two kings, whose positions was hereditary. These kings were of ancestral descent. A Senate also governed this city-state, consisting of the two already-mentioned kings and tweny eight members, whose posts were held for life. To be elected senator, they had to be sixy-year-old Spartan. The Senate had both executive and legislative functions. The other legislative body was the popular assembly, made up of all the citizens, who were older than thirty years ; assembled in the public square, their job was to either accept or reject the bills or proposals passed by the Senate. In the 6th century BC, a new political entity was created; it was composed of five magistrates called “ephor”, who were elected annually. In time the ephors’ authority grew as they came to share the supreme power with the two kings.

Spartan sociaty was organized around three social classes:

1) The Spartans, who were the dominant class and descended from the Dorians, a Greek tribe that had invaded and definitely conquered the Peloponnese peninsula, calling themselves simply “citizens” and all having the same social and political rights; being all of them warriors, they owned the land.

2) The Perioci, who were descended from the ancient Achaeans, one of the four Greek tribes that had invaded the Balkan peninsula around 11th century BC; although they did not have political rights, they have complete civil rights and freedom, being small proprietors, craftmen, and merchants. However, they were bound by law to serve in the army as archers and squirmishers in time of war.

3) The Helots, who were the subjugated aboriginal population of the Peloponnese’s Laconia valley. They were serfs who worked the land, having to give most of their harvested products to the Spartans.

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Thor is Carlos Benito Camacho, the manager and writer of this blog.