Sparta: The City of Fighters
As we all know, ancient Greek civilization was not in the form of a single empire, but consisted of city-states (polis) that were in conflict with each other or through diplomacy. Each polis has its own system of government and constitution. Well, on this occasion, we will discuss one of the most influential polises in Greek civilization, namely the Spartan polis.
Sparta and the Spartan Warriors
The Spartan polis was a polis in the Peloponnesian Peninsula. This polis was dominated by the Dorians who conquered Greece in the south. The conquering peoples (Doria) then occupied the fertile lowlands of Laconia. The conquered nation would later become a lower class in the Spartan caste system.
Sparta can be said to be a polis that adheres to a military aristocratic system. It is not surprising that this polis was filled with Spartan soldiers. Children as young as 7 have begun to be indoctrinated with Spartan teachings. For children who are born with disabilities, will be thrown in a cave because it is considered a burden. This policy places great emphasis on disciplined military training for its citizens.
This country is ruled by 2 kings. However, each king had different powers. There is a king who leads the country in the army and another king heads the country in religious ceremonies.
In addition to the king, Sparta also had a special body to run the government, namely the Ephor. Ephor is a working body or can be termed as a cabinet in the present context. Ephor consists of 5 people who are elected by the assembly. As for the duties of Ephor, namely taking care of domestic and foreign affairs, appointing ambassadors, and ruling over slaves. In addition, Ephor also has jurisdiction in matters of justice.
The assembly in the Spartan polis was referred to as the Apella. Apella is in charge of selecting 5 Ephors. Apella has duties in the legislative sphere, such as supervising the running of the government so that it is in accordance with the law.
In addition, there is also a body called the Gerusia, a kind of senate in the current sense. Gerusia consisted of 28 nobles who served as advisers to the king. Gerusia also has the task of preparing draft laws.
Caste in Sparta
Basically, the Dorians who came to Cape Pelopnesos were fewer in number than the people who had inhabited the area. Due to the political reason that the Dorians should rule, a military aristocratic state system was created so that the Dorian nobility would not experience a coup d'etat.
In this way, Sparta divided its people into 3 social classes, namely spatiates/citizens, periokoi, and hellots.
This class is in the highest social status. The number of Spartiates only ranged from 5-10% of the population of the Spartan polis. They were Dorians who served as nobles and high ranking officials. Only the Spartats were allowed to join the army. They also have the right to be elected and vote in occupying positions.
In terms, periokoi or perioeci means neighbor. They are the Dorians who live in the suburbs or the countryside. Most of them work as farmers or freelancers. Periokoi had no political rights and was not allowed to marry any of the Spartans.
Hellots are slaves and have no freedom. They work as farmers, laborers, or domestic workers. In contrast to periokoi who have freedom, hellots work for their masters.