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Plutarch has recorded the following: "When someone said to him: 'Except for being king you are not at all superior to us,' Leonidas son of Anaxandridas and brother of Cleomenes replied: 'But were I not better than you, I should not be king.' As the product of the agoge, Leonidas is unlikely to have been referring to his royal blood alone but rather suggesting that he had, like his brother Dorieus, proven superior capability in the competitive environment of Spartan training and society, and that he believed this made him qualified to rule.  Sparta Tour

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Acropolis of Sparta

Sparta in Southern Greece was founded in the 10th c. B.C. in a fertile plain of Laconia, by the Dorian's, who defeated the original inhabitants of the area.

Its remoteness was an advantage to the warring Spartans and the high mountains to the east, north, and west, and the sea to the south, formed natural defenses. Two centuries later, Sparta conquered its neighbor, Messinia, and gained excellent agricultural land. It became a luxury - loving state producing fine crafts.

Music and poetry also flourished. Later, the Spartans were defeated in war, and the conquered Messenians engaged in a long running rebellion, so Sparta turned to military matters. It became a super power in Greece and the main rival of Athens and Spartan society was dominated by the need to maintain power.

All men of Spartan birth had to serve in the army. Boys of seven were taken from their families to live in army barracks. The Spartan system of education, with its emphasis on physical fitness, was mush admired in 19th - century Victorian Britain. Corporal punishment too was regarded as character - forming for schoolboys, just as it was in ancient Sparta.

Their whole lives were dedicated to learning the arts of war. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that Spartan soldiers, they differed from the rest of the Greeks in that they wore long red robs. always combed their long hair when they might be about to put their lives at risk, as when going into battle.

The scarlet color of the military cloaks became a symbol of Spartan pride - SPARTAN REGIME. Battle of Thermopylae.

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Spartan Hoplite Soldiers

Acropolis of Sparta

The cornerstone of the Spartan state was its celebrated constitution, traditionally attributed to a lawgiver called Lycurgus. Sparta's institutions were unique in the ancient world. Its class structure had ethnic and aristocratic origins: only descendants of the founder warriors had full citizenship status.

 The political structure was simple, it was headed by two kings who were supervised by Ephors and who received advise from a council of elder (Gerousia) and from a public assembly comprised of citizens aged over thirty (Apella). Non citizens in Sparta were either Perioikoi or Helots. The Perioikoi were free men who, although they did not have the rights of citizens, were allowed to trade, and serve in the army. Helots were the descendants of the original inhabitants of the area. They farmed the land and did all the heavy work for their Spartan overlords.

Sparta is a city with along history and with a modern municipality. The Municipality of Sparta is the capital of the Laconia prefecture with a population of 20.000 inhabitants. With an excellent city plan Sparta stands on the side of the ancient city built by the decree of 1834 signed by King Otto and designed by Staufehrt. The plan followed the Ippodamean example of wide avenues and big squares and was designed for 100.000 inhabitants. The economy of the city is based on agricultural production and tourism. It is surrounded by ancient sites and the centre of the city is crowned with many neoclassical buildings and monuments. Do not miss to visit the Archaeological Museum and the unique Museum of Olive and Greek Olive oil in Sparta.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM: The museum was established in 1874, in a building designed by the Greek architect Katsaros. The most important items of the museum are: Stele depicting couple of figures in relief, on both sides. On the one side perhaps there is the representation of Menelaus with Helen and on the other Agamemnon with Clytemnestra, dated to the end of the 6th century. Statue of Hoplitodromos (running Hoplite) with helmet of Attic type. It has been argued that the statue of a Spartan hoplite, the best known of the very few surviving Laconian sculptures portrays King Leonidas, leader of the Three Hundred warriors who fell heroically fighting against the Persians at Thermopile in 480 BC. According to another view, it represents Pausanias, victor of the battle of Plataeae, or even a competitor in a race for armed runners It was found in the temple Of Athena Chalkioikos at the acropolis of Sparta. It preserves the upper part of the body but hands are missing. It is dated to the second quarter of the 5th century BC.


Excavations began at the end of last century under the guidance of American and Greek archaeologists while since 1905 digging has been carried out by the British Archaeological school of Athens. New excavations have begun five years ago, mainly at the area of the theatre and the shops. The most important monuments of the side are:

The temple of Athena Chalkiokos, goddess and protector's of Sparta, on the top of the Acropolis is defined more by some indications from the excavation rather than by the  architectural ruins themselves.

The temple which was constructed on the plans of the architect Vathykles from Magnesia and Gitiadas the very talented Spartan poet and sculptor, decorated the Temple with bronze plates.  The ancient theatre of Sparta is on the southern side of the Acropolis of Sparta.. We do not know whether there was a theatre on this site in archaic times, if there was a structure of some kind, it would have been wooden, or the natural form of the slope itself may have served the purpose, as it did for contemporary Athenians as the theatre of Dionysus.  There was definitely a structure there later on, in classical times, as Herodotus mentions it in connection with events taking place in 465 BC.

The stone theatre that we see today was built in Hellenistic times (1st century BC). Slightly later, in the time of Augustus, Eurycles, the wealthy Spartan who was a personal friend of the Emperor and had close ties with Rome, presented the town with a new marble stage as well as other gifts.  

 Sparta Tour   Peloponnese Tour

The Emperor Vespasianus (AD 69-79) had donated another, larger and more splendid stage - one that, with a few modifications, was to remain in use until the end of ancient times, until the reign of Emperor Theodosius (AD 379-395). When a study wall was built round the acropolis of Sparta at the end of 3rd century AD to help it withstand Heruli raids, the theatre was included in the citadel and may have continued to function  for a time.

It was later abandoned, ruined and buried under small Byzantine houses. Now preserves the orchestra, the retaining walls of the curvature with inscriptions of the rulers of Sparta during Roman times and part of curvature of the large theatre. The scene was used to be wheeled in metal bars fixed to the ground.

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Acropolis of Sparta

Acropolis of Sparta

Acropolis of Sparta

Acropolis of Sparta


Plutarch has recorded the following: "When someone said to him: 'Except for being king you are not at all superior to us,' Leonidas son of Anaxandridas and brother of Cleomenes replied: 'But were I not better than you, I should not be king.' As the product of the agoge, Leonidas is unlikely to have been referring to his royal blood alone but rather suggesting that he had, like his brother Dorieus, proven superior capability in the competitive environment of Spartan training and society, and that he believed this made him qualified to rule.   Sparta Tour

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