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see SpartaSparta
, city of ancient Greece, capital of Laconia, on the Eurotas (Evrótas) River in the Peloponnesus. Spartan Society

Sparta's government was headed by two hereditary kings furnished by two families; they were titular leaders in battle and in religion.
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, Greece.



the farm population of ancient Sparta, conquered by the Dorians.

Like the Thessalian penestai and the Cretan klarotai, the Helots were considered to be the property of the state, and they were bound to the cleruchial land sections owned by individual Spartans, who were members of the Spartan community. The Helots differed from slaves in that they owned the means of production needed to work the land and had their own farms. The owners of the land sections could neither sell nor kill Helots. The payment in kind (apophora) established by the state, which the Helots paid to their masters, amounted to approximately half of the crop; the remaining portion belonged to the Helots. The Helots greatly outnumbered their Spartan conquerors. They were not included in the Spartan community and did not enjoy any rights whatsoever. Unbridled exploitation and constant terror by the Spartans caused uprisings among the Helots, the most important of which was the so-called Second Messenian War (during the seventh century B.C.). In order to prevent Helot uprisings, the Spartans introduced the system of Kryptiai, who led periodic punitive expeditions against the Helots.


Lotze, D. “MetaxÝ eleuthérōvkái dúlōn.” Studien für Rechlsslellung unfreier Landbevölkerungen bis zum 4 Jh. v. Chr. Berlin, 1949.


References in periodicals archive ?
Had the Athenians limited their demands to Nisaea and Pegae, for example, and done this in private, perhaps the Spartan negotiators would have taken the risk of political embarrassment at home for the sake of rescuing the garrison on Sphacteria, securing the return of Pylos, and preventing future aid from Athens to rebels among the Helots.
That ferocity paid dividends in the form of the crypteia, a practice in which Spartan youths were turned loose on the unfortunate helots at night, going out and killing as many as was necessary to keep their population under control.
We don't remember the men of Thespiae or the Helots, but then they didn't have the formidable Spartan propaganda machine working for them.
Piety, as Thucydides shows, can certainly lead to moderation, as evidenced by the Spartan restraint against the helots at Ithome, who were supposedly protected by an oracle.
15) The non-Spartan inhabitants of Laconia and Messenia can be divided into two groups: helots and perioikoi.
Since most of us would have been similarly craven if we too had been Soviet helots amid Uncle Joe's old age, we should doubtless temper our distaste for Shostakovich's pusillanimity.
Gradually, those Spartans took over most of the peninsula--including Messenia, from which most of Sparta's helots (slaves) came.
But the sixty or so men who died in this cruelty pales before the 2,000 helots massacred by their Spartan overlords--not because they had done anything wrong, but only because they might have represented potential rebels.
From there the Athenians could foment rebellion among the large population of Spartan helots (slaves), threatening the survival of the Spartan regime.
There is much for Britain to do, if we want to avoid being Greek helots in America's "Holy Roman Empire".
Due to the lack of Spartiates the Spartans also forced helots, soldiers from the cities that they had oppressed, to become hoplites and fight for them.