At McDowell, we are studying the Greeks in social studies. In our Social Studies class, we are learning about Sparta. Spart is a city-state on the Peloponnesus Peninsula in southern Greece. The Spartans were descended from the Dorians who invaded Greece in the Dark Age. The Spartans had human slaves called helots. Sparta had one of the most powerful militaries and they had strict discipline. Men entered the army at age 20. Men were allowed to marry but they were not allowed to live at home. They stayed in the military sharing barracks and eating their meals with other soldiers. A typical meal for the military included broth, which had pork boiled in animals blood, salt, and vinegar.
When Spartan men reached the age of 30 they were allowed to live at home, but they still continued to train. They finally retire at the age of 60.
Since the men were away at war Spartan women enjoyed more freedom than other women in other Greek city-states. They could travel and own property. They also trained for sports such as wrestling and throwing a javelin. But the women’s main goal was to raise brave, strong sons for the army. The women expected their men to either win or die in battle. Spartan soldiers must never surrender. As sad as it is Sparta never wanted to have one weak person to show the other city-states weakness so when a baby was born or got sick or had deformities they took the baby over to the other side of the mountains and left it.
The Spartans government is an oligarchy. Two kings ruled jointly, but they have little power. Their only duties are to lead the army and to hold religious ceremonies. Sparta had two other other governing bodies the assembly and council of elders. The council of elders was the most powerful in the government. They served as judges and were the only ones who could order executions or exile. They also had these people called ephors. The ephors enforced the law and managed the collection of taxes. Sparta did not welcome visitors and they prevented citizens from traveling outside the city-state so that they wouldn’t be exposed to other cultures and decide to leave Sparta.
That is what we are studying here at McDowell in our social studies class.