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.
Military Dictionary and Gazetteer
Also called Lacedæmon, the capital of Laconia and the chief city of Peloponnesus, was situated on the right bank of the Eurotas (now Iri), about 20 miles from the sea. Sparta was never surrounded by walls, since the bravery of its citizens and the difficulty of access to it were supposed to render such defense needless. In the mythical period, Argos was the chief city in Peloponnesus, and Sparta is represented as subject to it. The Dorian conquest of Peloponnesus, which, according to tradition, took place eighty years after the Trojan war, made Sparta the capital of the country. The oldest inhabitants of the country maintained themselves at Amyclæ, which was not conquered for a long time. From various causes the Spartans became distracted by intestine quarrels, till at length Lycurgus gave a new constitution to the state. This constitution laid the foundation of Sparta’s greatness. She soon became aggressive, and gradually extended her sway over the greater part of Peloponnesus. In 743 B.C. the Spartans attacked Messenia, and after a war of twenty years subdued this country. In 685 the Messenians again took up arms, but at the end of seventeen years were again completely subdued, and their country from this time forward became an integral part of Laconia. After the close of the second Messenian war, the Spartans continued their conquests in Peloponnesus. They defeated the Tegeans, and wrested the district of Thyreæ from the Argives. At the time of the Persian invasion they were confessedly the first people in Greece; and to them was granted by unanimous consent the chief command in war. But after the final defeat of the Persians, the haughtiness of Pausanias, king of Sparta, disgusted most of the Greek states, and led them to transfer the supremacy to Athens (477). From this time the power of Athens steadily increased, and Sparta possessed little influence outside of the Peloponnesus. The Spartans made several attempts to check the rising greatness of Athens, and their jealousy of the latter led at length to the Peloponnesian war (431). This war ended in the overthrow of Athens, and the restoration of the supremacy of Sparta over the rest of Greece (404). But the Spartans did not retain this supremacy more than thirty years. Their decisive defeat by the Thebans, under Epaminondas, at the battle of Leuctra (371), gave the Spartan power a shock from which it never recovered; and the restoration of the Messenians to their country two years afterward completed the humiliation of Sparta. Thrice was the Spartan territory invaded by the Thebans, and the Spartan women saw for the first time the watch-fires of an enemy’s camp. The Spartans now finally lost their supremacy over Greece; and about thirty years afterward the greater part of Greece was obliged to yield to Philip of Macedon. The Spartans, however, kept haughtily aloof from the Macedonian conqueror, and refused to take part in the Asiatic expedition of his son, Alexander the Great. The power of Sparta continued to decline until the beginning of the reign of Cleomenes III. (236), whose reforms for a time infused new blood into the state, and for a short time he carried on war with success against the Achæans. But Aratus, the general of the Achæans, called in the assistance of Antigonus Doson, king of Macedonia, who defeated Cleomenes at the decisive battle of Sellasia (221), and followed up his success by the capture of Sparta. Sparta now sank into insignificance, and was ruled by a succession of native tyrants, till at length it was compelled to abolish its peculiar institutions, and to join the Achæan League. Shortly afterward it fell, with the rest of Greece, under the Roman power. The Spartans were a race of stern, cruel, resolute, rude, and narrow-minded warriors, capable of a momentary self-sacrificing patriotism, but utterly destitute of the capacity for adopting or appreciating a permanently noble and wise policy.
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The numerical value of Sparta in Chaldean Numerology is: 1
The numerical value of Sparta in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3
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