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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

022 - Sparta Ascendant

In this episode, we discuss the early history of the polis of Lacadaemon (Sparta), including their expansion in the southern Peloponnesus with the 1st and 2nd Messenian Wars (that brought about the formation of the helot system of slavery); Spartan society's social-class tensions and civil strife that led to reform, supposedly by the semi-mythical lawgiver Lykurgas in the 8th century BC, but more likely a gradual process during the 7th and 6th centuries BC; its military growing pains as Sparta suffered a series of losses to their neighbors, Argos (in the Argolid) and Tegea (in southern Arcadia), before eventually defeating them; the life of Chilon, one of the Seven Sages, and his role in making amendments to the Spartan constitution and in guiding foreign policy; and Sparta's ultimate rise to hegemony over their Peloponnesian and Isthmian neighbors, resulting in what modern scholars call the "Peloponnesian League"

ca. 900-800 BC - The syncoecism of the four villages on the west bank of the Eurotas River  
Pitane, Limnes, Mesoa, and Cynosoura) resulted in the formation of Lacadaemon (Sparta)
ca 800-750 BC - A fifth village, the old Mycenaean town of Amyclae, found three miles from the other villages is incorporated into the polis of Sparta
ca. 780-750 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Charilaus (the nephew of the semi-mythical lawgiver Lykurgas who supposedly reformed Sparta)
ca. 760-740 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Teleklos
ca. 750-725 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Nicander
ca. 740-720 BC - A Spartan victory in the First Messenian War brought about the annexation of Messenia and the subjugation of its people as Helotes (Helots), which transformed Sparta into a slave-holding state like no other Greek polis
ca. 740-700 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Alkamenes
ca. 725-675 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Theopompos
706 BC - Illegitimate Spartans, known as "Parthenai", who were the sons of Spartan women and non-Spartan men, were exiled from Sparta and founded Taras in southern Italy
ca. 700-665 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Polydoros
ca. 675-650 BC - The poets Alcman and Tyrtaeus flourished at Sparta
ca. 675-645 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Anaxandridas
669 BC - The Spartan army was defeated by Pheidon and the Argives at Hysiae
ca. 668-650 BC - The Helots revolted with the backing of Arcadia, Argos, Elis, and Pisa, which resulted in the Second Messenian War, but the Spartans were able to put down the revolt thanks to the martial vigor of the warrior-poet, Tyrtaeus; some Messenians were able to flee to Sicily, where they gained control of Zancle and renamed it Messene
ca. 665-640 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Eurycrates
ca. 645-625 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Zeuxidamas
ca. 640-615 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Anaximander I
ca. 625-600 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Anaxidamos
ca. 615-590 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Eurycratides
ca. 600-575 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Archidamos I
ca. 590-560 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Leon
583 BC - Sparta may have assisted with the overthrow of the Kypselid tyranny at Corinth
ca. 575-550 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Agasicles
572 BC - Sparta may have helped Elis regain control over Olympia from Pisa
ca. 560 BC - The "Battle of the Fetters" resulted in a devastating Spartan loss to Tegea
ca. 560-525 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Anaxandridas II
556 BC - Sparta helped to overthrow the Orthagorid tyranny at Sicyon
ca. 550-515 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Ariston
ca. 550 BC - Sparta finally subdued Tegea, but instead of conquering them, they enacted diplomacy, marking the beginnings of Peloponnesian League
547 BC - The Spartans entered into an alliance with the Lydians against the Persians, but they never provide aid as they still have Argos to deal with
546 BC - The "Battle of Champions" resulted in a Spartan defeat of Argos and the annexation of the region of Kynuria from Argive control
525-522 BC - The Spartans and Corinthians jointly depose the Samian tyrant, Polycrates
520-490 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Kleomenes
515-491 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Demaratos
515-512 BC - Kleomenes' half-brother, Dorieus, tried to found the colony of Cinyps on the Libyan coast but he was ultimately driven out by the Carthaginians

Supplementary Resources (Videos, Photos, Other Podcasts)

Map/Southern Peloponnesus


Photo/Modern-Day Eurotas River


Photo/Ruins of Ancient Sparta w/Mt Taygetos in the Background

Photo/Recreation of Ancient Sparta

File:Ancient Sparta.jpg


Video/The Spartans (History Den)

Photo/Marble Bust of Lykurgas

Photo/Modern Statue of Lycurgus at the Law Courts of Brussels

Photo/Image of Chilon

File:Spartan running girl.jpg

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