The remains of Sparta, the great polis of ancient Greece.

I often find people surprised by the appearance of Sparta, which provides a stark contrast to the huge temples and Acropolis of Athens. Greek historian Thucydides wrote the following about Sparta:

Suppose the city of Sparta to be deserted, and nothing left but the temples and the ground-plan, distant ages would be very unwilling to believe that the power of the Lacedaemonians was at all equal to their fame. Their city is not built continuously, and has no splendid temples or other edifices; it rather resembles a group of villages, like the ancient towns of Hellas, and would therefore make a poor show.

Sparta was a unique city-state of ancient Greece, with a social system and constitution which showed huge focus on military excellence and training. Known for its military superiority, Sparta showed prominence in the combined Greek forces of the Greco-Persian Wars, and was the enemy of Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE). Although Sparta lost its eminent role in Greece after losing to Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra (371 BCE), it retained political independence until 146 BCE, after the Roman conquest of Greece.

Photos courtesy & taken by Ronny Siegel.

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