What were Sparta's achievements?

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mrkirschner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The image of Sparta as a brutal, illiterate, unenlightened civilization is rooted more in Athenian propaganda then in truth.  While the Spartans are mostly remembered for their heroism on the field of battle, this is a very narrow-minded understanding of their true legacy to the Western world.  Sparta was actually more important to warfare because of its innovative diplomatic techniques than its military strategies.  

Sparta is actually the capital of province of Laconia.  Laconia was a very prosperous community that utilized its resources and abundance of fertile land to its economic advantage.  The province was the first to enact land reforms aimed at creating equality of class.  The city of Sparta itself was a place of tree lined roads and architecture that made it a tourist attraction for generations to come.

The education system of Sparta should be considered a stunning achievement. While most view the agoge as strictly a military preparation mechanism, it actually taught Spartans to be a philosophical, literate society. The great Athenian philosopher Plato credits Sparta as the birthplace of Greek philosophy.  In the agoge, girls received a formal education, which was unprecedented in Greek city-states.

Another striking accomplishment of Sparta was its treatment of women. Women were afforded political, social, and economic rights that were not possible in other areas of Greece.  Women could own property, make business transactions, and be involved in the politics of Sparta.  

While Athens is often credited with establishing the first democracy, Spartan democracy actually predates the reforms of Solon by at least fifty years.  The Spartan voting methods were free from corruption and did not lack in transparency.  This is because voting was measured by how loud a crowd screamed for different candidates.  

Summary: Accomplishments of Sparta:

  • Strong economic system

  • Expert diplomacy

  • Rights for women

  • Strong education system

  • World’s first democracy
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