Discuss the characteristics of the Spartan economy.  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Spartans enjoyed the luxuries of a very strong economy for many years. The Spartan economy was based on agriculture and domination of its neighbors. Spartans depended on the conquered peasants from the outskirts of their territory to grow enough food for the entire population.  These peasants were called helots and had no political rights.  The helots were tied to the land like serfs but were very important to Sparta.  They were able to produce enough crops to sustain the entire population.  The Spartans were suspicious of foreign influence on their culture so they did not engage in trade.  The Spartans also had access to quarries, mines, and forest as natural resources.  Spartan males did not engage in the production of goods as they were required to serve as soldiers until they were sixty years old.  The Spartans used the perioikoi, the artisans of their conquered people, to manufacture the goods that were needed. It was also the perioikoi that engaged in trade with other city-states when necessary.  The perioikoi were also not afforded citizenship rights but were permitted to acquire wealth.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team