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Sparta Essay

1739 words - 7 pages

The Spartan constitution created by Lycurgus was a distinct way to run a society of people. “ This theory of government was adopted by Plato, Diogenes, Zeno and all those who are praised for their attempts to make some statement about these matters… (Plut. Lyc. 31).” When looking at Plato’s Republic there are many similarities to the unique Spartan city-state. Ideas that were similar included, elimination of wealth, the ideas about woman, children, and marriage, and the training for the military soldiers. Another aspect that could have aided Plato’s Republic from the Spartan society was the council of Elders that represented the people. This system would allow the people to become more ...view middle of the document...

242).” These ideals relate to Lycurgus’s elimination of wealth in that “he accustomed citizens to have no desire for a private life, nor knowledge of one, but rather to be like bees always attached to the community, swarming together around their leader, and almost ecstatic with fervent ambition to devote themselves entirely to their country (Plut. Lyc. 25).” This devotion to their country was not found by the rewards of gold and silver, for there was none to be found in either the Spartan city-state or Plato’s Republic, “Silver and gold we neither have nor are permitted to have… (Plat. 244).” The currency of these two government types was eliminated, “… there was no coined money. Thus gradually cut off from things that animate and feed it, luxury atrophied of its own accord (Plut. Lyc. 9).” This ultimately eliminated greed from the peoples’ minds making the Republic a stronger and equal ideal state because they knew not of “wealth, I said, and poverty: the one is the parent of luxury and indolence, and the other of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent (Plat. 243).”
The ideas about women and children almost reflected each other in the two theories of government found in Spartan society and Plato’s Republic. First, women were to be educated similarly to men. “ And If, I said, the male and female sex appear to differ in their fitness for any art of pursuit, we should say that such pursuit or art ought to be assigned to one or the other of them; but if they difference consists only in women bearing and men begetting children, this does not amount to a proof that woman differs from a man in respect of the sort of education she should receive; and we shall therefore continue to maintain that our guardians and their wives ought to have the same pursuits (Plat. 280).” Though women may differ in strengths of weaving and nurturing or the weakness of physical lifting “the gifts of nature are alike diffused in both; all the pursuits of men are the pursuits of women also…(Plat. 281).” “Men and women alike possess the qualities which make a guardian… (Plat. 281)” suggesting that Plato’s Republic saw women as influential people in society. Women were seen more as equal in the community and led to less strife about women’s roles in society. An example of such equality was the idea of nudity that presented itself in both types of government. It “encouraged simple habits and enthusiasm for physical fitness, as well as giving the female sex a taste of masculine gallantry, since it too was granted equal participation in both excellence and ambition (Plut. Lyc. 14).” This equality of women strengthened the Republic because “the same education which makes a man a good guardian will make a woman a good guardian (Plat. 282).” Second, the treatment of children was similar to that of the Spartan society in Plato’s Republic. There was marriage between fit partners, “the best of either sex should be united with the best (Plat. 286)”, but other fit men or...

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