EPISODE 20 THE SPARTAN YOKE
Happy new year folks, welcome back to the Spartan History Podcast, the only podcast called the Spartan History Podcast. We're turning 20 with the release of this episode and I couldn't be more pleased to be back behind the microphone. I hope you all had a safe holiday season.
This time we're taking the Spartan story into the 7th century as the city consolidates her hold on the recently acquired Messenian territories. First though, we look at the post war settlement within city and see if the aggressive land grab, that was the first Messenian war, satisfied the citizenries desire for land and enfranchisement.
Successful wars brought great wealth to the victors, the Spartan's tithed some of that wealth in honour of the gods with the construction of two important temples. These sacred places were to be a fixture within the city for centuries to come.
The freshly indentured Messenian Helot's, of proud and mighty stock in their own right, weren't sitting idle beneath the yoke of their masters. Quietly biding their time for insurrection, a crushing defeat of the Spartans by the men of Argives provides just enough impetus for the push to freedom. The subsequent uprising, known as the 2nd Messenian war, would be a fight to the death with the winner taking all.
The famous archaic Spartan poet, Tyrtaeus was contemporary with the conflict and his works are largely believed to have helped turn the tide in Sparta's favour. We finish with a look at what remains of his corpus.
I hope you all enjoy, and take good care.
The Spartans tend to evoke images of bloody battles fought on almost mythical fields, of warriors pushing back against an oriental despotism that was irreconcilable to the Greek way of life . Accomplished with spear, shield and led by the 'Bad Boy' king Leonidas, these are only a few tantalising details to a tale that begins almost a 1000 years before the legend of Thermopylae and the 300 Spartans. The gaps in between are the focus of this podcast and I intend to flesh them out in their entirety.
Understanding the Spartans and their role in the greater scope of ancient Greek history requires rewinding the clock back to the bronze age with the siege, fall and extirpation of Troy and the Trojans as a people. Names like Hector, Helen, Achilles and Agamemnon will come up often as we scour Homer's epics for the earliest mentions of the Spartan story. So lets turn first to Troy and begin a chronological look at the ancient people of Sparta, in an exciting odyssey into the Past.