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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 ?
This was not a random, deserted headland, as Thucydides has the two Athenian generals sneeringly say; it was territory in the heart of Messenia, among the helot population that was such a constant worry to Sparta.
Meanwhile, the massacre of the Helots has taken an unexpected turn: Klaros is revealed to be a skilled fighter, and along with Damar and Terpander, fights back and kills all the Spartans except Arimnestos, who escapes.
In the novel, the gynocentric viewpoint is further emphasized by the connection to the earth goddess worship of the enslaved Helots.
They cover political and hegemonic structures; social institutions; religious institutions and practice; the historiography and representations of helots, Spartans, and barbarians; and Spartan exceptionalism.
In his review of Bougainville's work (a review not published until 1875) Diderot approved of this account as far as it went but, predictably, launched into a much more vitriolic attack on the Jesuits and their works accusing them of using the Indians as the Spartans used the helots.
And the same character can "come forward" as more than one politician in the same play: in one chorus of Euripides' Cyclops Silenus and his satyrs "are represented as helots under Spartan rule," but Silenus also "polymorphically 'comes forward' as Alcibiades" in the same stasimon (65).
For instance, she asks whether we might regard Diodorus's accounts of the Sicilian revolts as reliable; whether we should classify the helots of Spartan society as slaves and understand descriptions of their triumphs as products of partial Athenian writers who wished to portray Spartan culture in the most negative light possible; and why modern historians have failed to give due consideration to the rebellions when ancient writers so obviously regarded them as extraordinary events.
In particular, the relationship of instructors and trainees is something like the relationship between Spartans and Helots.
He is the Acarnanian attendant of the Spartiate warrior Dienekes, and thus a man of low status in Sparta but, unlike the helots, at least notionally free.
The last class of the fallen were Greeks but unfree: Sparta's serfs or Helots, who died alongside their masters.
Helots and their masters in Laconia and Messenia: histories, ideologies, structures, Cambridge, 2003; para la posibilidad de campesinos degradados como fuente tambien de hilotismo: LURAGHI, N.