Polis, plural poleis literally means city in Greek. It can mean a body of citizens, in modern historiography, polis is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, and thus is often translated as city-state. The term city-state, which originated in English, does not fully translate the Greek term. The poleis were not like other primordial ancient city-states like Tyre or Sidon, which were ruled by a king or a small oligarchy, the term polis, which in archaic Greece meant city, changed with the development of the governance center in the city to signify state. Finally, with the emergence of a notion of citizenship among landowners, the ancient Greeks did not always refer to Athens, Sparta and other poleis as such, they often spoke instead of the Athenians, Thebans and so on. The body of citizens came to be the most important meaning of the polis in ancient Greece. The Greek term that meant the totality of urban buildings. Plato analyzes the polis in The Republic, whose Greek title, Πολιτεία, the best form of government of the polis for Plato is the one that leads to the common good.
The philosopher king is the best ruler because, as a philosopher, in Platos analogy of the ship of state, the philosopher king steers the polis, as if it were a ship, in the best direction. Books II–IV of The Republic are concerned with Plato addressing the makeup of an ideal polis, in The Republic, Socrates is concerned with the two underlying principles of any society, mutual needs and differences in aptitude. Starting from these two principles, Socrates deals with the structure of an ideal polis. According to Plato, there are five main classes of any polis, merchants, sailors/shipowners, retail traders. Along with the two principles and five classes, there are four virtues. The four virtues of a just city include, courage, with all of these principles and virtues, it was believed that a just city would exist. Publication of state functions, laws and major fiscal accounts were published, conurbation, Absorption of nearby villages and countryside, and the incorporation of their tribes into the substructure of the polis.
Many of a polis citizens lived in the suburbs or countryside, most cities were composed of several tribes or phylai, which were in turn composed of phratries, and finally génea. They had the right to vote, be elected into office, and bear arms, metics could not vote, be elected to office, bear arms, or serve in war. They otherwise had full personal and property rights, albeit subject to taxation, chattel in full possession of their owner, and with no privileges other than those that their owner would grant at will
In Greek mythology, Eurysthenes was one of the Heracleidae, a great-great-great-grandson of Heracles, and a son of Aristodemus and Argia. Together they received the land of Lacedaemon after Cresphontes and Aristodemus defeated Tisamenus, instead the honor was granted to their son and grandson, for which reason the two lines were called the Agiads and the Eurypontids. Karl Otfried Müller collected and evaluated the various fragments of the story from classical authors, according to Müller, the state of Elis in Arcadia, allies of the Aetolians, provided a guide for passage through Arcadia after crossing the Gulf of Corinth from Naupactus. Arcadia gave them a point from which to attack anywhere else in the Peloponnesus. Their presence was contested by a united Peloponnesian Achaean army under Tisamenus and they were commanded to evacuate to Athens, but many did not, much of the region remained unconquered. Nevertheless, the three commanders divided that which they did not yet possess, following the signs of the gods, Aristodemus received Sparta.
There is a question as to whether he ever was actually in possession there, one tradition says that he was and was therefore the first king of Sparta. A second asserts that he died before taking possession and that the Dorians brought his infant twin sons to Sparta as kings under a regent, Aristodemus was assassinated at Delphi by the Atreids. He had not even had time to designate a successor, the mother did not know which was the elder. The oracle at Delphi resolved the problem by suggesting that both be made kings, which is the origin of the dual monarchy. Theras, the mothers, brother was made regent, there was still a necessity of designating the elder. They chose the one the mother fed and cleaned first, the untimely death of Aristodemus with other events has served as some basis for dating the reigns of the first ten kings of Sparta in the line known by state definition as the Agiad. Eratosthenes date is therefore 1104 BC and this must be the year of Aristodemus military activity in Arcadia, his fatherhood and his assassination.
Eurysthenes was therefore born in 1104 BC, which was the first year of his reign, pausanias states that the end of the First Messenian War was the first year of the 14th Olympiad. The date must have been 724/723 BC if the first year of the first Olympiad was 776/775 BC, kings Polydorus of the Agiads and Theopompus of the Eurypontids were reigning at that time, roughly in mid-reign. The end of the war must be 379 years from the return of the Heraclids, according to Isaac Newton, a classical scholar, the ten kings reigned an average of 38 years each, which can be used as an estimator of the dates. Eurysthenes would have ruled in 1104–1066 BC, with a margin of error. List of kings of Sparta Procles Müller, Karl Otfried, the history and antiquities of the Doric race
Tyndareus had a brother named Hippocoon, who seized power and exiled Tyndareus. He was reinstated by Heracles, who killed Hippocoon and his sons, tyndareus’ other brother was Icarius, the father of Penelope. Tyndareus’ wife Leda was seduced by Zeus, who disguised himself as a swan and she laid two eggs, each producing two children. When Thyestes seized control in Mycenae, two exiled princes and Menelaus came to Sparta, where they were received as guests, the princes eventually married Tyndareus daughters and Helen respectively. Helen was the most beautiful woman in the world, and when it was time for her to marry, many Greek kings, among the contenders were Odysseus, Ajax the Great, Diomedes and both Menelaus and Agamemnon. All but Odysseus brought many and rich gifts with them, Tyndareus would accept none of the gifts, nor would he send any of the suitors away for fear of offending them and giving grounds for a quarrel. Odysseus promised to solve the problem in a manner if Tyndareus would support him in his courting of Penelope.
This stratagem succeeded and Helen and Menelaus were married, Tyndareus resigned in favour of his son-in-law and Menelaus became king. Some years later, Paris, a Trojan prince came to Sparta to marry Helen, Menelaus attempted to retrieve Helen by calling on all her former suitors to fulfil their oaths, leading to the Trojan War
Helen of Troy
In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, known as Helen of Sparta, or simply Helen, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and was a sister of Castor and Clytemnestra. In Greek myths, she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world, by marriage she was Queen of Laconia, a province within Homeric Greece, the wife of King Menelaus. Her abduction by Prince Paris of Troy brought about the Trojan War, elements of her putative biography come from classical authors such as Aristophanes, Cicero and Homer. In her youth, she was abducted by Theseus, a competition between her suitors for her hand in marriage sees Menelaus emerge victorious. An oath sworn beforehand by all the suitors requires them to military assistance in the case of her abduction. When she marries Menelaus she is very young, whether her subsequent involvement with Paris is an abduction or a seduction is ambiguous. The legends recounting Helens fate in Troy are contradictory, Homer depicts her as a wistful figure, even a sorrowful one, who comes to regret her choice and wishes to be reunited with Menelaus.
Other accounts have a treacherous Helen who simulates Bacchic rites and rejoices in the carnage, Paris was killed in action, and in Homers account Helen was reunited with Menelaus, though other versions of the legend recount her ascending to Olympus instead. A cult associated with her developed in Hellenistic Laconia, both at Sparta and elsewhere, at Therapne she shared a shrine with Menelaus and she was worshiped in Attica and on Rhodes. Her beauty inspired artists of all time to represent her, frequently as the personification of ideal beauty, Christopher Marlowes lines from his tragedy Doctor Faustus are frequently cited, Was this the face that launchd a thousand ships/And burnt the topless towers of Ilium. However, in the play this meeting and the ensuing temptation are not unambiguously positive, closely preceding death, images of her start appearing in the 7th century BC. In classical Greece, her abduction by—or elopement with—Paris was a popular motif, in medieval illustrations, this event was frequently portrayed as a seduction, whereas in Renaissance painting it is usually depicted as a rape by Paris.
The fact that rape and kidnapping were interchangeable terms lends additional ambiguity to the story, the etymology of Helens name continues to be a problem for scholars. Georg Curtius related Helen to the moon, Émile Boisacq considered Ἑλένη to derive from the noun ἑλένη meaning torch. It has suggested that the λ of Ἑλένη arose from an original ν. Linda Lee Clader, says none of the above suggestions offers much satisfaction. Inversely, others have connected this etymology to a hypothetical proto-indo-european sun goddess, in particular, her marriage myth may be connected to a broader indo-european marriage drama of the sun goddess, and she is related to the divine twins, just as many of these goddesses are. The origins of Helens myth date back to the Mycenaean age, the first record of her name appears in the poems of Homer, but scholars assume that such myths invented or received by the Mycenaean Greeks made their way to Homer
In Greek mythology, Atreus was a king of Mycenae in the Peloponnese, the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, and the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Collectively, his descendants are known as Atreidai or Atreidae and his twin brother Thyestes were exiled by their father for murdering their half-brother Chrysippus in their desire for the throne of Olympia. They took refuge in Mycenae, where they ascended to the throne in the absence of King Eurystheus, Eurystheus had meant for their stewardship to be temporary, but it became permanent after his death in battle. According to most ancient sources, Atreus was the father of Pleisthenes, the word Atreides refers to one of the sons of Atreus—Agamemnon and Menelaus. The plural form Atreidae or Atreidai refers to both sons collectively, in English, the form Atreides is often used and this term is sometimes used for more distant descendants of Atreus. The House of Atreus begins with Tantalus, Tantalus was a son of Zeus who enjoyed cordial relations with the gods until he decided to slay his son Pelops and feed him to the gods as a test of their omniscience.
But Demeter, who was distracted due to the abduction by Hades of her daughter Persephone, the gods threw Tantalus into the underworld, where he spends eternity standing in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reaches for the fruit, the branches raise his intended meal from his grasp, whenever he bends down to get a drink, the water recedes before he can drink. Thus is derived the word tantalising, the gods brought Pelops back to life, replacing the bone in his shoulder with a bit of ivory, thus marking the family forever afterwards. Pelops married Hippodamia after winning a race against her father, King Oenomaus, by arranging for the sabotage of his would-be-father-in-laws chariot. The versions of the story differ, as Myrtilus died, he cursed Pelops and his line, further adding to the houses curse. Pelops and Hippodamia had many sons, two of them were Atreus and Thyestes, depending on myth versions, they murdered Chrysippus, who was their half-brother. Because of the murder, Hippodamia and Thyestes were banished to Mycenae, Atreus vowed to sacrifice his best lamb to Artemis.
Upon searching his flock, Atreus discovered a golden lamb which he gave to his wife and she gave it to Thyestes, her lover and Atreus brother, who convinced Atreus to agree that whoever had the lamb should be king. Thyestes produced the lamb and claimed the throne, Atreus retook the throne using advice he received from Hermes. Thyestes agreed to give the back when the sun moved backwards in the sky. Atreus retook the throne and banished Thyestes, Atreus learned of Thyestes and Aeropes adultery and plotted revenge. He killed Thyestes sons and cooked them, save their hands and he tricked Thyestes into eating the flesh of his own sons and taunted him with their hands and feet
Heracles, born Alcaeus or Alcides, was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson and half-brother of Perseus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of clans who claimed to be Heracleidae. In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well. Extraordinary strength, courage and sexual prowess with both males and females were among the characteristics commonly attributed to him, together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae. His iconographic attributes are the skin and the club. These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a figure who used games to relax from his labors. By conquering dangerous archaic forces he is said to have made the safe for mankind.
Many popular stories were told of his life, the most famous being The Twelve Labours of Heracles and his figure, which initially drew on Near Eastern motifs such as the lion-fight, was widely known. Heracles was the greatest of Hellenic chthonic heroes, but unlike other Greek heroes, the core of the story of Heracles has been identified by Walter Burkert as originating in Neolithic hunter culture and traditions of shamanistic crossings into the netherworld. Heracles role as a hero, whose death could be a subject of mythic telling, was accepted into the Olympian Pantheon during Classical times. Around him cries of the dead rang out like cries of birds scattering left, in Christian circles a Euhemerist reading of the widespread Heracles cult was attributed to a historical figure who had been offered cult status after his death. The ancient Greeks celebrated the festival of the Heracleia, which commemorated the death of Heracles, what is believed to be an Egyptian Temple of Heracles in the Bahariya Oasis dates to 21 BCE.
A reassessment of Ptolemys descriptions of the island of Malta attempted to link the site at Ras ir-Raħeb with a temple to Heracles, several ancient cities were named Heraclea in his honor. A major factor in the tragedies surrounding Heracles is the hatred that the goddess Hera. A full account of Heracles must render it clear why Heracles was so tormented by Hera, Heracles was the son of the affair Zeus had with the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus made love to her after disguising himself as her husband, thus, Heracles very existence proved at least one of Zeus many illicit affairs, and Hera often conspired against Zeus mortal offspring as revenge for her husbands infidelities. His twin mortal brother, son of Amphitryon, was Iphicles, Hera did this knowing that while Heracles was to be born a descendant of Perseus, so too was Eurystheus
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta. The war is one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated through many works of Greek literature, most notably through Homers Iliad. The Iliad relates four days in the year of the decade-long siege of Troy. Other parts of the war are described in a cycle of epic poems, episodes from the war provided material for Greek tragedy and other works of Greek literature, and for Roman poets including Virgil and Ovid. Zeus sent the goddesses to Paris, who judged that Aphrodite, as the fairest, in exchange, Aphrodite made Helen, the most beautiful of all women and wife of Menelaus, fall in love with Paris, who took her to Troy. Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and the brother of Helens husband Menelaus, led an expedition of Achaean troops to Troy and besieged the city for ten years because of Paris insult. After the deaths of heroes, including the Achaeans Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris.
The Achaeans slaughtered the Trojans and desecrated the temples, thus earning the gods wrath, few of the Achaeans returned safely to their homes and many founded colonies in distant shores. The Romans traced their origin to Aeneas, one of the Trojans, in 1868, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann met Frank Calvert, who convinced Schliemann that Troy was a real city at what is now Hissarlik in Turkey. On the basis of excavations conducted by Schliemann and others, this claim is now accepted by most scholars, whether there is any historical reality behind the Trojan War remains an open question. The events of the Trojan War are found in works of Greek literature. There is no single, authoritative text which tells the events of the war. Instead, the story is assembled from a variety of sources, the most important literary sources are the two epic poems traditionally credited to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, composed sometime between the 9th and 6th centuries BC. Each poem narrates only a part of the war, the Iliad covers a short period in the last year of the siege of Troy, while the Odyssey concerns Odysseuss return to his home island of Ithaca, following the sack of Troy.
Other parts of the Trojan War were told in the poems of the Epic Cycle, known as the Cyclic Epics, the Cypria, Little Iliad, Iliou Persis and Telegony. Though these poems survive only in fragments, their content is known from an included in Proclus Chrestomathy. The authorship of the Cyclic Epics is uncertain, both the Homeric epics and the Epic Cycle take origin from oral tradition. Even after the composition of the Iliad and the Cyclic Epics and details of the story that are only found in authors may have been passed on through oral tradition and could be as old as the Homeric poems
Lycurgus of Sparta
Lycurgus was the legendary lawgiver of Sparta who established the military-oriented reformation of Spartan society in accordance with the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. All his reforms were directed towards the three Spartan virtues, military fitness, and austerity and he is referred to by ancient historians and philosophers Herodotus, Plato, Polybius and Epictetus. The following account comes almost exclusively from Plutarchs Life of Lycurgus and it is said that Lycurgus had risen to power when his older brother, the king, had died. With his father deceased, he was offered the throne, Lycurgus brother, had died with a pregnant wife. When this child was born, Lycurgus named the child, however, the young kings mother and her relatives envied and hated Lycurgus. Among other slanders, they accused Lycurgus of plotting the death of Charilaus, Lycurgus gave up all of his authority and went to the island of Crete. In Crete, Lycurgus met Thaletas the poet, Thaletas made his living as a musician at banquets, but in reality Thaletas was a teacher of civilization.
Eventually, Lycurgus persuaded Thaletas to go to Sparta with his songs to prepare the people for the new way of life that he intended to introduce later, Lycurgus carefully studied the forms of government in Crete and picked out what might be useful for Sparta. He travelled to Ionia to study the difference between the pleasure-loving Ionians and the sober Cretans, as study the difference between the sick and the healthy. Apparently he took this comparison to the Spartans, training one puppy in a manner and leaving the other to eat. The Spartans were taken by the discipline of Crete and liberties of Ionians at the same time, in Ionia, Lycurgus discovered the works of Homer. Lycurgus compiled the scattered fragments of Homer and made sure that the lessons of statecraft, after Lycurgus had been absent for a while, the Spartans wrote and begged Lycurgus to come back. As they admitted, only Lycurgus was really a king in their heart, although others wore a crown and he had the true foundation of sovereignty, a nature born to rule, and a talent for inspiring obedience.
Even the Spartan kings wanted Lycurgus to return because they saw him as one who could protect them from the people, Lycurgus had already decided that some fundamental changes would have to be made in Sparta. When he returned, he did not merely tinker with the laws, however, Lycurgus went to the Oracle at Delphi to ask for guidance. The Oracle told Lycurgus that his prayers had been heard and that the state which observed the laws of Lycurgus would become the most famous in the world, with such an endorsement, Lycurgus went to the leading men of Sparta and enlisted their support. He began with his closest friends, these friends widened the conspiracy by bringing in their own friends, when things were ripe for action, thirty of them appeared at dawn in the marketplace, fully armed for battle. According to the found in Plutarchs Lives and other sources
Mycenaean Greece was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece. It represents the first advanced civilization in mainland Greece, with its states, urban organization, works of art. Among the centers of power emerged, the most notable were those of Pylos, Midea in the Peloponnese, Thebes, Athens in Central Greece. The most prominent site was Mycenae, in Argolid, to which the culture of this era owes its name. Mycenaean and Mycenaean-influenced settlements appeared in Epirus, Macedonia, on islands in the Aegean Sea, on the coast of Asia Minor, the Levant and Italy. Their syllabic script, the Linear B, offers the first written records of the Greek language, Mycenaean Greece was dominated by a warrior elite society and consisted of a network of palace states that developed rigid hierarchical, political and economic systems. At the head of society was the king, known as wanax. Various theories have proposed for the end of this civilization. Additional theories such as natural disasters and climatic changes have suggested.
The Mycenaean period became the setting of much ancient Greek literature and mythology. The Bronze Age in mainland Greece is generally termed as the Helladic period by modern archaeologists, after Hellas, the Greek name for Greece. This period is divided into three subperiods, The Early Helladic period was a time of prosperity with the use of metals, the Middle Helladic period faced a slower pace of development, as well as the evolution of megaron-type dwellings and cist grave burials. Finally, the Late Helladic period roughly coincides with Mycenaean Greece, the transition period from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age in Greece is known as Sub-Mycenaean. Moreover, it revealed that the bearers of Mycenaean culture were ethnically connected with the populations that resided in the Greek peninsula after the end of this cultural period. Various collective terms for the inhabitants of Mycenaean Greece were used by Homer in his 8th century BC epic, the Iliad, in reference to the Trojan War. The latter was supposed to have happened in the late 13th – early 12th century BC, Homer used the ethnonyms Achaeans and Argives, to refer to the besiegers.
These names appear to have passed down from the time they were in use to the time when Homer applied them as terms in his Iliad. There is an reference to a-ka-wi-ja-de in the Linear B records in Knossos, Crete dated to c.1400 BC
The Spartan army stood at the center of the Spartan state, whose citizens were trained in the discipline and honor of the warrior society. Subject to military drill from early manhood, the Spartans were one of the most feared military forces in the Greek world. At the height of Spartas power – between the 6th and 4th centuries BC – it was accepted that one Spartan was worth several men of any other state. According to Thucydides, the moment of Spartan surrender on the island of Sphacteria. He said that it was the perception at the time that Spartans would never lay down their weapons for any reason, be it hunger. The iconic army was first developed by the semi-mythical Spartan legislator Lycurgus, a Spartan mans involvement with the army began in infancy when he was inspected by the Gerousia. If the baby was found to be weak or deformed he was left at Mount Taygetus to die and it should be noted, that the practice of discarding children at birth took place in Athens as well. Those deemed strong were put in the regime at the age of seven.
Under the agoge the young boys or Spartiates were kept under intense and their education focused primarily on cunning and war tactics, but included poetry, music and sometimes politics. Those who passed the agoge by the age of 30 were given full Spartan citizenship, the term spartan became synonymous with fearlessness and cruel life, endurance or simplicity by design. The first reference to the Spartans at war is in the Iliad, like the rest of the Mycenaean-era armies, it was depicted as composed largely of infantry, equipped with short swords and Dipylon-type. This was the Golden Age of Warfare, each opposing army tried to fight through the other line on the right side and turn left, wherefore they would be able to attack the vulnerable flank. When this happened, it as a rule caused the army to be routed, the fleeing enemy were put to the sword only as far as the field of battle extended. The outcome of one battle would determine the outcome of a particular issue. In the Golden Age of War defeated armies were not massacred, they fled back to their city and it wasnt until after the Peloponnesus War that indiscriminate slaughter and depredations were countenanced among the Greeks.
Mycenaean Sparta, like much of Greece, was engulfed in the Dorian invasions, during this time, Sparta was merely a Doric village on the banks of the river Eurotas in Laconia. However, in the early 8th century BC, Spartan society was transformed, the reforms, which were ascribed by tradition to the possibly mythical figure of Lycurgus, created new institutions and established the military nature of the Spartan state. This constitution of Lycurgus remained essentially unchanged for five centuries, by the beginning of the 7th century BC, Sparta was, along with Argos, the dominant power in the Peloponnese
Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece. In antiquity the city-state was known as Lacedaemon, while the name Sparta referred to its settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia. Around 650 BC, it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece, given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the overall leader of the combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was the enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, from which it emerged victorious. Spartas defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Spartas prominent role in Greece, however, it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC. It underwent a period of decline, especially in the Middle Ages. Modern Sparta is the capital of the Greek regional unit of Laconia, Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which completely focused on military training and excellence.
Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates, perioikoi, Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, and Spartan phalanges were widely considered to be among the best in battle. Spartan women enjoyed more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical world. Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in the West following the revival of classical learning and this love or admiration of Sparta is known as Laconism or Laconophilia. At its peak around 500 BC the size of the city would have been some 20,000 –35,000 free residents, plus numerous helots, olliers theory of the Spartan mirage has been widely accepted by scholars. The ancient Greeks used one of three words to refer to the location of the Spartans. The first refers primarily to the cluster of settlements in the valley of the Eurotas River. The second word was Lacedaemon, this was used sometimes as an adjective and is the name commonly used in the works of Homer. Herodotus seems to denote by it the Mycenaean Greek citadel at Therapne and it could be used synonymously with Sparta, but typically it was not.
It denoted the terrain on which Sparta was situated, in Homer it is typically combined with epithets of the countryside, lovely and most often hollow and broken. The hollow suggests the Eurotas Valley, Sparta on the other hand is the country of lovely women, a people epithet. The name of the population was used for the state of Lacedaemon