Sparta: Ancient Greek City State

This article will briefly cover the ancient Greek city-state, Spartan culture, Spartan Warriors, modern Sparta, and coinage.


This article will briefly cover the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta, Spartan culture, Spartan Warriors, modern Sparta, and coinage.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece is many people’s favorite area of history to study. Unfortunately, the actual locations sometimes get lost in the mix with all the myths and stories surrounding them. Ancient Greece comprised a mixture of city-states that shared cultural and religious similarities. Ancient Greece started around 1200 BCE – 900 BCE and lasted in one form or another until 600 CE.

These cities would have different aspects that would make them unique from one another. Sparta was one of these cities and, In many ways, the opposite of Athens. It didn’t care for philosophy or art. They instead opted to hold onto their power and influence in the region through their military strength.


Ancient Sparta

Ancient Sparta was located in Laconia. Laconia was the general region, and Sparta was the central city. The original name for Sparta as we know it today was Lacedaemon. This meant that Sparta as a city-state was mainly located within the southeast area of ancient Greece. Much of Sparta’s energy and economy went toward producing the best soldiers possible.

Ancient Sparta’s strict treatment of children and the focus on war eventually led to a population crisis where the number of Non-Citizens outnumbered the Spartan Citizens.nThis made Sparta unable to defend itself properly internally and externally. It was eventually annexed into the Achain league and then into the Roman Empire.

Spartan culture and coinage
Spartan warriors train children to fight in the ancient Greek city of Sparta

Spartan Culture

Sparta was descended from the Dorians. This made Dorian Greek the most common Greek dialect within Sparta. Within the Spartan culture, military strength was held above everything else. This can be observed in young boys’ agoge training. Agoge training young boys underwent to become Spartans was brutal, and many wouldn’t survive into adulthood.

Spartan women enjoyed more rights and freedom than the average woman. They wore more revealing dresses and were allowed to walk about the city. They would also voice their opinions openly, unheard of in many other parts of the Ancient world. However, it wasn’t all good. Sparta’s economy was held up by a massive amount of Helots (state-owned slaves) used in every aspect of the Spartan Economy.


The Spartans

The Spartans were some of the most feared warriors in ancient Greece. They were raised from birth to be a weapon for the city of Sparta. Children born with birth defects would be rejected and left in the wild to die simply because they were unfit for one reason or another to complete the Spartan childhood training.

Sparta led many wars when it came to the ancient Greeks joining together to fight an outside force. The most widely known story of this is the battle of Thermopylae. As the myth goes, 300 Spartans held back the Persian army trying to invade Greece, giving the other city-states time to unite and push the Persian army back.


Modern Sparta

Sparta is a city today that is not ruled by Two kings as it was in ancient times. Instead, Sparta is a functioning democracy with a population of 16,239 residents. Modern Sparta began construction near the ancient site on October 20th, 1834 CE, and was predominately built in a neo-classical style.

Today it remains a beautiful site with many tourist attractions, although it is less visited than Athens. The Taygetus mountain range in the background makes it an impressive landscape to see in person. Many of the beautiful ruins of Ancient Sparta can be visited year-round, including the Spartan Acropolis and theatre.

Ancient Sparta Ruins with Modern Sparta in backround
Greece. Sparta. Remains of ancient Sparta – ruins of theater and the Taygetus Massif (Mt. Taygetos) in the background.

Spartan Coinage

Coins from Sparta are extremely sought after. As a city-state, they had very little interest in money and thus minted a minimal amount of coins when compared to their rival, Athens. Spartan coinage also was made up of minimal denominations making it more difficult to give change.

Published by Invest in History Co.

We specialize in high-quality gold and silver coins. Focusing on Middle East, Eastern European, and Ancient coins. We carry Roman, Greek, Parthian, Phoenician, Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Jewish, Islamic, and many other culture's coins.