EPISODE 25: SPARTIATES
Welcome back folks to the Spartan History Podcast. Stepping back into the solo format to once again put another facet of pre-classical Sparta under the microscope. This time it is the ruling class, the Homoioi or Spartiates as they referred to themselves.
This section of society, dedicated entirely to the pursuit of warfare, were propped up by the helot class who managed their vast land holdings. There was a complex system of land tenure within Sparta which was designed to provide for each the cost of his citizenship, that is the monthly contribution of produce to the dining halls every Spartiate was obliged to dine at.
We'll break down the system of land ownership and how it relates to the mess halls. Along with this I'll describe in brief the marital practices within the upper echelons of the Spartan world.
Famed for their equality, we'll finish this episode by looking at the massive differences between the individual Homoioi and see why that word is better translated as 'similars,' rather than 'equals.'
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.
Narrator and Creator - Steve Whitehead