Religion, Death and Burial in Spartan Society Essay

1004 WordsMar 1, 20115 Pages
Religion, death and burial Religion played a central role in Spartan society in the ancient world. In addition to being well known for their fierce fighting force, Spartans were well known amongst other Greek city-states for their devotion and serious attitude towards religion and the gods. Because of their strict devotion to religious practises, they were often mocked by other Greek states. The gods were to be obeyed completely and were to be respected completely by all Spartans, though in theory, this relationship between the Spartans and the gods was believed to have been based on mutual respect. Religion was seen as a way of combining the gods with everyday social and political/governmental aspects of Spartan society, so much so…show more content…
It is evident as to why the Dioscuri were so important to Sparta, as their society heavily revolved around warfare. The kings acted as the most significant priests throughout Spartan society, and served an important role as representatives of the gods. Both of the kings were believed to be lineal descendants of Heracles and, as a result, both of divine heritage. The kings were expected to frequently offer sacrifices to the gods to ensure the triumph of their city and army. Regular Spartiates could also sacrifice and make offerings to the gods within their own homes, as often as they pleased. Not only kings, but all Spartan political components such as the Ephors and Gerousia had some role of applying religious duties as part of their occupation. If a Spartan king was not victorious in a battle, or did not take part in a battle at all, he could be forgiven entirely if he had a reasonable religious excuse. An example of this is provided by Herodotus, who related the well-known story of the Athenian runner Pheidippides, who was sent to Sparta to call for help for the pending battle of Marathon. According to Herodotus, The Spartans, though moved by the appeal, and willing to send help to Athens, were unable to send it promptly because they did not wish to break their law. It was the ninth day of the month, and they sit they could not take the field until the moon was full. Religion throughout Spartan society greatly

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