Spartan Politics

1217 WordsJul 26, 20135 Pages
Sparta had a Political organisation unlike many other Greek states at that time that drew upon elements of all types of Government structures. The Spartan constitution contained elements of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy and was described by ancient writers as a mixed constitution. The four elements were made by the two kings (monarchical), Gerousia (oligarchic), the Five Ephors (limited Democratic) and the Ekklesia (democratic). This system all came about from the work of the law-giver named Lycurgus who is acclaimed to have received the Rhetra from the Delphic Oracle and impose it upon Sparta, However even his existence is under debate between historians past and present such as Xenophon and Plutarch. The monarchical component of…show more content…
Although the kings were the supreme commanders of the armies the Ephors had control over many aspects that would have undermined the Kings authorities. The Kings were not able to declare war unless the Ephors had issued orders for mobilizing the Spartan army according to Xenophon. They also had the power to direct generals to particular campaigns and constantly acted as overseers always having two Ephors accompany the King into battle. They were responsible for the education of the Spartan youth and maintaining discipline throughout the community this was achieved through there power to be able to fine people on the spot for many things including even being lazy. Their jobs also entitled them to join the Gerousia in conducting criminal trials and were privileged even more in being the only magistrates to be able to hold a civil trial. They also controlled the Krypteia and state finances. According to Aristotle among all the duties two chair the meetings for both the Gerousia and Ekklesia which would have given them considerate power over the other governmental systems. Aristotle claims that the Ephors were not a perfect government system and had flaws because even poor men could be elected, this made some open to bribery, but this was mitigated by limitation of membership to a year. Plutarch once quoted Lycurgus about the Gerousia saying members had
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