Having finished a series of posts about the Spartan women, I thought it only fair to do something similar for the Spartan men. After all, they were rather unique in their own right. So I’ll kick it off with this is fun fact:
Spartan citizens could only occupy themselves with the business of war.
Like the Athenians, only the sons of citizens could claim citizen status in Sparta. Unlike the Athenians, whose citizens could pursue any number of occupations, there was only one job description for a Spartan citizen: warrior.
This was due in large part to another people group that lived within Spartan’s borders: the helots. See, the Spartans were actually descendants of Doric invaders. They conquered the land that became Sparta and turned the native population into serf-slaves. The helots weren’t too keen on that, so revolt was always a problem for their conquerors. To solve the problem, the Spartans spent all their efforts ensuring their military superiority. And they had the time to do it, because they had the helots to take care of mundane things like growing food.
But even though the purpose of the warrior citizen class was to prevent uprisings at home, their abilities came in really handy when foreign invaders encroached on their borders.
Tune in next week for more about the Spartans!