Social decline of Sparta : Social Development

Social decline of Sparta

plutarchThe quest for genetic purity may have been Sparta’s Achilles heel.

When I encountered Plutarch’s Lives a decade or two ago, I was surprised to find an old history lesson embedded there. I was surprised because Plutarch is not what I would call a reliable source. He presents Romulus and Remus (who were supposedly raised by wolves and are the mythical founders of Rome) as historical figures, for instance, and discusses their lives. I was surprised because what Plutarch says about ancient Sparta had been summarized in my old junior high textbook (The Ancient and Medieval World) and presented as fact.

You may be familiar with how—according to the classic description of ancient Sparta—sickly children were taken and placed outdoors to die. Plutarch describes it this way:

A father had not the right of bringing up his offspring, but had to carry it to a certain place called Lesché, where the elders of the tribe sat in judgment upon the child. If they thought it well-built and strong, they ordered the father to bring it up, and assigned one of the nine thousand plots of land to it; but if it was mean-looking or misshapen, they sent it away to the place called the Exposure, a glen upon the side of Mount Täygetus; for they considered that if a child did not start in possession of health and strength, it was better both for itself and for the state that he should not live at all.

It is clear from historical sources that Sparta was an intensely militaristic state. It famously fought and won the Peloponnesian War against Athens and was important in assisting the Greeks to hold off the expansionist Persian Empire. But the famous city state declined in importance after losing the battle of Leuctra in 371 B.C. In his Politics, Aristotle refers to this battle—“a single blow”—and the reason for Sparta’s decline:

the state did not succeed in enduring a single blow, but perished owing to the smallness of its population. They have a tradition that in the earlier reigns they used to admit foreigners to their citizenship, with the result that dearth of population did not occur in those days, although they were at war for a long period; and it is stated that at one time the Spartiates numbered as many as ten thousand.

You might also like

Ottoman Janissaries and the Decline of State Bureaucracy
Ottoman Janissaries and the Decline of State Bureaucracy
The Fall of the Caliphate (Ottoman Empire)
The Fall of the Caliphate (Ottoman Empire)
The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire
The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire
The Fall of the Ottoman Empire (2/2)
The Fall of the Ottoman Empire (2/2)

That Cat Look Mighty Hungry To Me

by mBlaine

So I listened to Ray's show again on Thursday. – By the way, the other show to listen to on KGO is Len Tillum on the weekends. ('I'm a lawya.') I gotta ask that guy for a job one of these days. – But yeah, Ray's show on Thursday wasn't as intense as the night before. There were some good callers. Especially those two women right in a row – the old Brooklyn gal running down the articles in the Nation. She just rocked. Then immediately after her, that woman who was steaming about the effects of the Silicon Valley stock crash reverberating around the world. – At first I couldn't make out what she was saying

80 Theses For A New Peace Camp

by fortheweary

80 Theses for a New Peace Camp
A Manifesto From Gush Shalom
Uri Avnery for Gush Shalom
1. The peace process has collapsed—and taken down with it a large part of the Israeli peace camp.
2. Transient circumstances, such as personal or party political matters, failures of leadership, political self-interest, domestic and global political developments—all these are like foam over the waves. Important as they may be, they cannot adequately explain the peace process's total collapse.
3. The true explanation of this collapse can only be found beneath the surface, at the roots of the historical conflict between the two nations.
4. The Madrid-Oslo process failed because the two sides were seeking to achieve conflicting goals.
5. The goals of each of the two sides emanated from their basic national interests. They were shaped by their hi…

Praeger The Islamic World in Decline: From the Treaty of Karlowitz to the Disintegration of the Ottoman Empire
Book (Praeger)

How to understand Piketty: read him yourself  — Oxford Student
The first is to applaud Piketty's work, construct some grand theory of social decline such as a new gilded age or a transition to oligarchy, and back his proposals for new taxes and regulation of wealth.

Zim: Health and education bounce back  — Mail & Guardian Online
The scale of the social decline required an equally large-scale national response.

Holyrood Message  — Greenock Telegraph
And this despite the government stating that reversing economic, physical and social decline of communities where market forces alone won't suffice is a top priority.

New Iron App helps bridge the gap between gaming and education  — WalesOnline
The past century has seen the town suffer from relative economic and social decline but there is undoubtedly an economic and cultural renaissance underway.

Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1822 - 1913
Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1822 - 1913
Decline of the Ottoman Empire
Decline of the Ottoman Empire