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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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
If a helot harbored any ambitions beyond slavery, Burkhardt noted, "he was put to death and his master punished for not having kept the overweening fellow in place." Moreover, the helot population was culled on a regular basis to keep their numbers in check.
These three categories, citizens, denizens and helots, serve to illustrate how the denial of citizenship to major groups weakens migrants as actors, especially helots, who are normally illegal migrants who are denied any entitlement to rights.
You are the modern Helot. You sow but another reaps.
There are helots and commanders; there is living boredom and
There are also studies of the Helots, slaves' role in the economy, the supply of slaves, resistance by slaves, archaeological evidence and slavery in the far wider Hellenistic world.
Neither Israelis nor Americans would be satisfied living under endless occupation, modern helots for powerful rulers next door.
And what they are trying to do is calculate what the absolute minimum might be that the Palestinians can accept to label a state while leaving the largest part of the pie to the Israelis, together with absolute control over a client nation of helots that they can then abuse at will.
This becomes very clear if one considers the neo-Apartheid regimes in Arabian peninsula, whose economies are sustained by (mainly--though not exclusively--) Muslim helots. The Muslimness of these workers is not sufficient to allow them to overcome the institutionalized social exclusion common to Westphalianmodel states.
For example, images of the squalor the enslaved Helots endure are abundant in the text and the reader is continually called upon to reflect on the Helots' oppression and poverty: "Infine un villaggio di Iloti, capanne farte di sterco, odore di miseria, quaiche guaito di cane, ma lento, sfatto, qui anche i cani paiono sforzarsi per vivere"(23).
Will collective punishment make them moderate, law-abiding helots? History is not on the side of this immorality.