SPARTAN HISTORY

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SPARTAN HISTORY

Post  dundek on Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:20 am

Of the early history of Sparta we rely on very few legends. It is said to have been founded by Lacedaemon, the son of Zeus and Taygete, who married Sparta, the daughter of Eurotas.
From Homer we also know that the "koili Lacedaemon" (hollow Lacedaemon), the territory between the mount Taygetos and Menelaos and Helen, 520 BC, attic red figure amphoraParnon, had as king Menelaos, the younger brother of Agamemnon and husband of Helen, which was abducted by Paris to Troy and thus starting the long and painful famous war.
Around 1200 BC, by the marriage of the daughter of Menelaos Ermione with the son of Agamemnon Orestes, the kingdoms of Argos and Sparta were united. The findings from excavations testify that at this time, unlike the later Sparta, a rich culture had developed here.
Around 1100 BC, the Dorians came and conquered the territory (Archaeology favors a date for Dorian settling around 950 BC).
Tradition has it, that the Heraclidae brothers, descendants of the hero Hercules, Kresphontes, Temenos and Aristodemos tried to conquer Peloponnese. Aristodemos was hit by lighting and died at Naupactos, leaving behind his twin sons Eyresthenes and Prokles. His brothers crossed the gulf and landed at Achaia. There was a battle with the forces of the monarch of Peloponnese, Tisamenes, and they were victorious. When the Dorian phalanx came in the territory of Lakonia and Messene, it was guided by Kresphontes, who inhabited the rich plain of Pamesos. There was a constant quarrel between the Dorian chiefs, Kresphontes and Theras, to share the territory.
Theras, the brother of Aristodemos wife, who was guardian to her twin children after the death of her husband, wanted to take the rich Messene, but Kresphontes and his brother Temenos, who was ruling Argos, played a trick on him. They arranged to throw in the water two small tiles, with the names of Kresphontes and Theras written on them and the one which would surface in the water, would win Messene, the other the less rich Laconia.
Kresphontes tile was baked in the fire, while Theras was left in the sun and when both were thrown into the water, Theras tile went to the bottom and Kresphontes tile floated and thus he took Messene.
During Sparta's history, the habitation center in the Eurotas valley had changed many times, but the Dorian city which was comprised from five villages, occupied the territory of today's city of Sparta. We know only the names of the four, Pitane, Limnai, Mesoa, Kinosoura. The fifth was probably the conglomeration of the villages, which Spartans conquered later, Pilane, Selacia, Aigitida, Phari, Amikles.
Sparta in the 8th and 7th century BC was open to foreigners. She had good relations with Samos, which helped her in the war with Messenia, and also with Cyprus, Rhodes, Cyrene, etc. She was a highly cultured city, with her own architects, who build the famous temple, the brazen house of Athena. The arts were highly developed with celebrated sculptors in wood, potters, metal workers, weavers, leather workers, many of them foreigners. Spartan musicians, dancers and singers were renowned. Sparta was also famous for the purple dyed clothes. From 720 BC to 576 BC, she had 46 Olympic winners out of 81 total victors. But during the 6th century the arts progressively started to decline. Lykurgos laws eventually strained Sparta.

dundek

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