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Unformatted text preview: 2/7/12 transcript09.html Introduction to Ancient Greek Histor : Lec
O 4, 2007<< G S , .I' .A , S ' , , . O A , polei S S polei , .T , W , I , P S W , S .S , ' S S ' poli ' S poli ,L P ofe o Donald Kagan: W , poli , poli -G , S S .N e 9 T an c ip , S .S , ' poli S G S poli S .N , , , poli .S , G .T .I , , S P -- ' , G . S , ' , , I , , .W , .A , .A , .S T , A ' I .B M S , D , S ,
/transcript09.html , , I , I' P G D G P , D , P G . M A P . ' .B D ' , S ' G , C:/Users/JIMMIN~1/AppData/Local/Temp/Rar$EX10.302/ 1/13 2/7/12 transcript09.html in different degrees of subordination, who are presumably Achaean Greeks who have lost out in the competition and who are under the Spartans. It looks like from a very early time--you hear about people called helots and how to define a helot is not simple. Helots in a certain sense are slaves, but they are not the kind of slaves we are accustomed to think about who belong to a particular master. They are slaves who belong to the state, to the poli as a whole and then to further complicate matters when we come upon them functioning, although they work and they belong to the state they are assigned to a particular part of the farmland of the region occupied by Sparta, which is called Laconia. They are assigned to that piece of land, which piece of land, will also be assigned to a particular Spartan citizen so de fac o the helots are working the plot that provides the food for a particular Spartan, not for the Spartans in general. So, that's moderately complicated, but the helots are going to be a very critical part of the story and of understanding what makes Sparta tick. Now, there are also, from the first time we hear of the Spartans, there are people living in Laconia, some of them in the neighborhood of Sparta, but one of their fundamental defining characteristics is that they do not live in the city of Sparta, they are not citizens of Sparta, they are not what the citizens of Sparta are called, Spartiates. It looks as though they're probably Dorians, although we can't be sure about that, but it looks as though they are. These people are called pe ioikoi and their name means people who live around Sparta, that means anywhere in the territory controlled by the Spartans, but not in the city and as we shall see they are free. They are not slaves or serfs or helots. Each pe ioikoi, presumably, has a farm that he works for himself. The pe ioikoi also are engaged in trade such as it is in Sparta, which is very, very small relatively speaking and also in industry again which is not a big deal, but somebody has to be working the bronze and the iron and making the pots, and these people would be pe ioikoi, because the Spartans, when we finally see them in the developed state of Sparta, won't be doing any of that stuff. When Sparta is Sparta, the Spartiates do only one thing. Well, I guess not, they do two things; they fight and they prepare to fight. That's it; they are soldiers. They do nothing else. They have no economic function whatsoever. Now, it wasn't always so, there is--well, before I tell you the story as we tell it today based on modern interpretations, let me tell you what the Greeks and the Spartans said about it. They said at one point back there in those early days, there was a man called Lycurgus, who brought laws to Sparta and set up the regime of Sparta as we will know it in the sixth and the fifth centuries. And he did it, and there's a lot of arguing about what his date was, but if you take the ancient Greek sources seriously, maybe in the ninth century B.C., this was done and so it was forever thereafter. Well, not only is this date not widely believed, hardly any scholar would take that seriously, and then people do argue about when would the changes have taken place, and if there was a Lycurgus, when he would have introduced these laws. A skeptic of nineteenth-century historian put it this way, he said, Lycurgus was not a man he was only a god. That is to say, he was somebody invented by the Spartans as somebody who put together this. I myself--you know me. I'm credulous by trade and I believe in the higher naivet . I think there might have been a guy named Lycurgus, and I think there's a pretty clear--if there was such a man he probably proposed some laws which became important to the Spartans. But I am not so completely credulous as to believe the system was established by one man, way back when, and it didn't change, because there's a good deal of evidence to suggest the contrary that there are developments that happened that make Sparta what it will be ultimately. The first sort of historical event that we know about, and we think we know about Sparta was towards the end of the eighth century, perhaps in the years between 725 and 700. There was a war in which the Spartans conquered the neighboring territory to the west of Laconia, which is called Mycenae. I hope you're becoming
C:/Users/JIMMIN~1/AppData/Local/Temp/Rar$EX10.302/ /transcript09.html 2/13 2/7/12 transcript09.html ;I P ' M G , T .Y ' P M .T .I , ; .S , S S M . W , S , S S , , S .S , , I S I G .A T A M ; . ' , 675, .F , S I M ' , , .T M .T , .T S , ' , S ' ' G ' S S S .I .T ' , , B S M M , ; S , . , R . , , N O S T Y , , T .A , , .I' T . ' S , S , G . , I S G .T ' C W .B S , P .T , , ' , ' .T , .T , ' . S M 650 .T , W , ' 625 ; ' ' , ' ,T S , , , T .T M M W .I , A , G W , .N . ' M , .T
/transcript09.html 3/13 C:/Users/JIMMIN~1/AppData/Local/Temp/Rar$EX10.302/ 2/7/12 transcript09.html had the not been assisted b some of the neighbors of Sparta. Argos, ou will remember, from the time of Pheidon, the have been an enem and a competitor of the Spartans, and so the Argives are quick to join and help the helots in their rebellion against Sparta, but so too do a number of cities to the north of Sparta, from the region called Arcadia, also join in with the helots and even so far as the northwestern corner of the Peloponnesus, a town called Pisa near Ol mpia also joins the coalition against the Spartans. So ou can imagine that the Spartans push forward created opposition and the helots took advantage of that, and joined with the other states to put Sparta in danger. The ancient tradition sa s the Spartans reall were in terrible danger and it was a ver , ver hard fight and what happened was going to turn out to be the first of a pattern. When the helots were defeated in battle the didn't quit, the didn't stop fighting, the retreated to the safest place the could find and there in M cenae there is ver rugged mountain called Ithome which is a kind of a natural fortress and which the helots fortified still more. So, the could sta up there on that mountain and fight off Spartan attacks for quite a long time. Remember, the Spartans are hampered in this war b having to cope with neighboring cities battling them as well. B the time that is over, ou move towards the ultimate arrangement of life in the Sparta that we will come to know. One set of scholars, the probabl are as numerous as an , would suggest that it's onl after the second M cenaean War that the Spartan constitution that I will describe for ou comes into being. Probabl we shouldn't even imagine that it was all the laws were laid out, all the customs were established in one fell swoop, but rather that there was a basic set of things that was laid out and then over time other changes were made that produced what we're talking about. So, that's wh I think we can't accept the traditional L curgus stor ; that he came down, set up the laws, even if we do accept that L curgus who was a kind of a law giver. Now, before I describe it in detail, let me make a general statement about it. What is established in this constitutional ultimate reform is to make Sparta like no other state in the Greek world, and then perhaps--well, like hardl an other state in all of histor , and to make it the subject of attention and interest, and of usual admiration, although not alwa s, throughout the millennia. You will find when people know about the Greeks and the know about Sparta, I'm talking about of course in the West, philosophers and others are struck just as Plato and Aristotle were b certain things about the Spartan wa of life that make them take it seriousl and admire it. Rousseau was a great admirer of Sparta for a variet of reasons. But one of the things that I don't want ou to lose sight of is that Sparta becomes a slave holding state like no other Greek state. Now, there was slaver all over the ancient world. There was no societ that we know of in the ancient world that was without slaver and Greece was no different, but in the period we're talking about there were not ver man slaves among the Greek states as a whole, and there was certainl nothing like what the Spartans did. To have a s stem of life that allowed the Spartan citi ens not to work in order to live; no other Greek state would have that. If ou want to think about Greek slaver in the seventh centur B.C., think about what I told ou about Hanson's reconstruction of the development of the poli . Think about farmers who themselves worked the fields, and are assisted in their work in the fields b one or two slaves that the owned. That's not the Spartan s stem. The Spartan s stem will be Spartans at home, training constantl for their militar purposes, never working an fields, never engaging in trade or industr , others doing that for them. Something that in a small wa begins to resemble slaver as we think of it in the antebellum south in the United States, where great armies of slaves are doing all the work and where the plantation owners, the Spartans don't do an work at all, but in the south to maintain the kind of a militar aristocrac of a certain kind. Please don't push that analog too far and I hope I haven't misled ou b suggesting it. But wh I do is because it ma help us understand the Spartans a little bit better. I remember m old colleague who taught histor of American slaver and so on, John Blassingame, said
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2012 for the course ECON 159 taught by Professor Benjaminpolak during the Fall '08 term at Yale.
- Fall '08