Definitions for spartaˈspɑr tə
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an ancient Greek city famous for military prowess; the dominant city of the Peloponnesus prior to the 4th century BC
An ancient city-state in southern Greece, noted for its strict military training.
Origin: From Doric Σπάρτα (Attic Σπάρτη).
Sparta, or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. Around 650 BC, it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece. Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the overall leader of the combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was the principal enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, from which it emerged victorious, though at great cost. Sparta's defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Sparta's prominent role in Greece. However, it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC. It then underwent a long period of decline, especially in the Middle Ages, when many Spartans moved to live in Mystras. Modern Sparta is the capital of the Greek regional unit of Laconia and a center for the processing of goods such as citrus and olives. Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which completely focused on military training and excellence. Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates, Mothakes, Perioikoi, and Helots. Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, and Spartan phalanges were widely considered to be among the best in battle. Spartan women enjoyed considerably more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical world.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
or Lacedemon, the capital of ancient Laconia, in the Peloponnesus, on the right bank of the Eurotas, 20 m. from the sea; was 6 m. in circumference, consisted of several distinct quarters, originally separate villages, never united into a regular town; was never surrounded by walls, its walls being the bravery of its citizens; its mythical founder was Lacedemon, who called the city Sparta from the name of his wife; one of its early kings was Menelaus, the husband of Helen; Lycurgus (q. v.) was its law-giver; its policy was aggressive, and its sway gradually extended over the whole Peloponnesus, to the extinction at the end of the Peloponnesian War of the rival power of Athens, which for a time rose to the ascendency, and its unquestioned supremacy thereafter for 30 years, when all Greece was overborne by the Macedonian power.
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