The Sons of Heracles
When one says the name Sparta, thoughts of tough warriors, a disciplined life and short catchy phrases tend to come to mind. For most, popular culture is responsible for our view of Sparta. Though, much of what is presented has been over exaggerated and like a lot of early modern work idealises elements contributing to what is known as the Spartan Mirage.
Sparta would emerge not from grand origins of a Bronze Age palace site, but the unification of four nearby villages on the Peloponnese. A merging of settlements, in what appears to be a recovery of sorts from the Bronze Age collapse, which would see the humble beginnings of this future power house.
There are a number of theories in how the Spartan’s ancestors came to control the area. The Spartans themselves would look to events tied up in the mythological past to explain their origins and claim to the lands they controlled.
The way in which the settlement of Sparta expanded would influence how their society would operate. They would take a path very different to other Greek city states which would see them become one of the preeminent Polis’ but also having to face challenges unique to themselves.
This will be the first of two episodes that will look at the rise and what made these Laconic, Lacedaemonians who they are.
Map of Sparta (includes the 5 villages or tribes)
Map of the Peloponnese