Essay by SymoneHigh School, 12th gradeC+, March 2004

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Evaluate the importance of the following in the Spartan System of government;





All aspects of the Spartan government was arranged into a hierarchy, with a mixed constitution, later praised as being the 'Ideas System'. This system was based on 'Eunomia' or 'Good Order', each part of the constitution played checks and balances on the other. Initially the two Kings and the Gerousia were the most important powers in Spartan government, but over time the Ephors gained a lot more supremacy and dominance. However, the Kings, Gerousia, Ephors, and Apella all play a different role within Spartan society.

Kings were the Supreme commander of the Spartan army. One King led the campaign, while the other stayed in Sparta. "These large powers were always limited by the double nature of kinship." This originated in 507BC, when 2 kings disagreed over the expedition against Athens. The kings had the right to declare war on the battlefield and could decide between life and death.

The kings were supervised by the Ephors and had a bodyguard of 100 men. However, the kings could be heavily punished if their campaign failed.

The Kings were intermediaries between the gods and men and held their office as the gods pleased. If things went wrong, the kings were blamed and the ephors looked to the sky every 9 years for approval or disapproval. Each month they offered sacrifices to Apollo as Herodotus recounts, "on the first and seventh days of each month each king is given a full grown animal to offer in sacrifice in the temple of Apollo". Before a campaign, the gods also sacrificed to Zeus and if it was favourable they kept their sacrifices for the campaign.

Erenburg claims that the Kings "had supreme power as leaders in war, priests...