As the great rival of Athens in ancient Greece, Sparta prided itself on the iron-hearted warrior culture that remained the backbone of their civilization. Ancient Sparta was mostly a military city-state. The Spartans believed that their purpose was to become strong soldiers and protect their homeland even with their lives. A Spartan should be strong in body, healthy in mind and brave in character.
In the southeast of the largest Greek peninsula, the Peloponnese, there was once a powerful Sparta. This state and its territory were located in the province of Laconia, in the picturesque valley of the river Evroth. Its official name, which is most often mentioned in international treaties, is Lacedaemon. It is from this state that such concepts as Spartan have come.
Ancient Sparta was Athens's main economic and military rival. The city-state and the surrounding area were located on the Peloponnese peninsula, south-west of Athens. Administratively, Sparta (also called Lacedaemon) was the capital of the province of Laconia.
The adjective Spartan in the modern world has come from energetic warriors who have an iron heart and steel restraint. The inhabitants of Sparta were famous not for arts, science, or architecture, but for brave warriors, for whom the concept of honor, courage and strength was put above all. Athens of that time, with their beautiful statues and temples, was a stronghold of poetry, philosophy and politics, thus dominating the intellectual life of Greece.
One of the principles that guided the inhabitants of Sparta was that the life of every person, from birth to death, is wholly owned by the state. The Spartans, unlike the inhabitants of other Greek cities, did not attach much importance to food and dress. In their opinion, the food should not serve to satisfy, but only to saturate the warrior before the battle.
But when the time came for the battle, the Spartans changed dramatically: they put on the best outfits, and with songs and music walked towards death. From birth, they were taught to perceive each day as their last, not to be afraid and not to retreat. Death in battle was desirable and equated with the ideal ending of the life of a real man.
The army of Sparta, despite its relatively modest strength, was well trained and disciplined. Each warrior was filled with determination to victory or death - to return with a loss was unacceptable, and was an indelible disgrace for life. Wives and mothers, sending their husbands and sons to war, solemnly handed them a shield with the words: "Return with a shield or on it". Over time, the militant Spartans captured most of the Peloponnese, greatly expanding the boundaries of possessions. A collision with Athens was inevitable. The rivalry reached its climax during the Peloponnesian War, and led to the fall of Athens. But the tyranny of the Spartans caused hatred of the inhabitants and mass uprisings, which led to a gradual liberalization of power.
Sparta in the 480 years before our chronology was in a state of war with Persia. The name of the king Leonid is associated with the immortal feat of the Spartans, when a battle took place in Thermopile gorge, which has remained in history for centuries. It happened in 480 BC. Oe., when the hordes of the Persian king Xerxes tried to seize the narrow passage connecting Central Greece with Thessaly. At the head of the troops, including the Allied forces, stood King Leonid.
Sparta at the time held a preeminent position among friendly states. But Xerxes, taking advantage of the betrayal of the disgruntled, walked around the Thermopile gorge and went to the rear of the Greeks. Warriors of Sparta Upon learning of this, Leonid, who fought along with his warriors, dismissed the allied units, sending them home. And he himself with a handful of soldiers, whose number was only three hundred people, stood in the way of the twenty-thousand Persian army. Fermopilskoe gorge was a strategic for the Greeks. In case of defeat, they would have been cut off from Central Greece, and their fate would have been predetermined.
Within four days, the Persians could not break the incomparably smaller enemy forces. Heroes of Sparta fought like lions. But the forces were unequal. Fearless warriors of Sparta died all and sundry. Together with them, to the end fought their king Leonid, who did not want to quit his comrades. The name of Leonid forever in history. The chroniclers, including Herodotus, wrote: Many kings have died and have long been forgotten. But Leonid is known and honored by all. His name will always be remembered by Sparta, Greece. And not because he was a king, but because he completely fulfilled his duty to his homeland and died as a hero.
The history of Sparta is interesting not only from the point of view of military achievements, but also factors of political and life structure. Courage, dedication and desire to win the Spartan warriors - these are the qualities that made it possible not only to restrain the constant attacks of enemies, but also to expand the limits of influence. Sparta and its inhabitants, educated on the principles of restraint and the rule of force, were the antithesis of the educated and coddled rich life of Athens, which in the end led to the collision of these two civilizations.
How to visit Sparta
We at Monterrasol Travel welcome you to see Sparta during multiday private car tour. Contact us if you would like to customize your tour to Sparta.
We have developed several tours that visiting this beautiful place. But, if you have a special conditions or any from these tours fit you, please do not hesitate to contact us, we can organize a tour exactly as you would like. And remember, we have no problems to take you from almost any place where you stay, hotel or private accommodation.
This off-season balanced tour is aimed for people who interesting in the history of Greece, to walk that ancient historical places where are roots of culture of our civilization. During this tour we will visit 6 places that are on the list of UNESCO. Many other we going to visit places now expecting to be on UNESCO list; such places are prepared, available for public for fraction of cost, and are on so called UNESCO tentative list.
This 14 days tour will allow you to meet amazing south Balkans countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and of course beautiful Greece. The route will pass through Trebinje, Podgorica, Durres, Ioannina, Nafpaktos, Olympia, Sparta, Nafplio and other towns. We will see old castles, monasteries, archaeological sites, and amazing coastal line. At summer time we will stop on beaches to take a rest, refresh and enjoy the crystal clear water.
This off-season tour is for people who would like to get to know deeply the history of Greece and walk that ancient historical places where are roots of culture of our civilization. Around the world such places are on the list of UNESCO. And many other places now expecting to be on UNESCO list; such places are prepared, available for public for fraction of cost, and are on so called UNESCO tentative list.
During this tour we going to visit main UNESCO places and UNESCO tentative list places, located in Greece mainland. Greece is so rich with history that visit all UNESCO places in one tour will take very long time. Because of that we, Monterrasol Travel, created this tour to be able to visit the main UNESCO places in one tour.
In this tour we will travel 15 days by Adriatic coast of Montenegro and Albania, and discover Greece mainland and Peloponnese. Meet during the tour ancient monasteries and castles, enjoy amazing beaches, touch stones of old places in 3 countries.
Discover Greece in big 15 days tour. During this all seasons Greece tour from Igoumenitsa, we will visit most of main attractions of Greece mainland and Peloponnese peninsula. Prepare yourself for beautiful beaches, old castles and monasteries, , and ancient archaeological places. Visit Delphi oracle, say hello to Sparta and king Leonidas.
tour destinations: Corinth, Diros, Epidaurus, Kalamata, Methoni, Monemvasia, Mycenae, Mystras, Nafplio, Porto Kagio, Sparta
Greek Peloponnese round tour in 15 days. Visit all main attraction of Peloponnese peninsula and see castles, ancient places, beaches. Travel Peloponnese with Monterrasol and visit Sparta, Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Monemvasia, Methoni and other places.
Balkan route from Dubrovnik to Athens in 16 days. Visit Bosnia, Montenegro, pass hills of Albania, and discover fortresses and ancient towns of Greece. Bosnian old towns and monasteries, Montenegro oldest monastery, hills of Albania, and discover greek fortresses, beaches, monasteries and archaeological sites.
This off-season tour is focused on people who would like to get to know deeply the history of Greece and walk that ancient historical places where are roots of culture of our civilization. Around the world such places are on the list of UNESCO. And many other places now expecting to be on UNESCO list; such places are prepared, available for public for fraction of cost, and are on so called UNESCO tentative list.
During this tour we going to visit most of UNESCO places and UNESCO tentative list places, located in Greece mainland. Greece is so rich with history that visit all UNESCO places in one tour will take very long time. Because of that we, Monterrasol Travel, created this tour to be able to visit the most of UNESCO places in one tour.
From 1 Feb 2019 we load on our site the description of new place: Monemvasia, Greece. We have visited this beautiful place few times and we definitely like to be there, and we are welcome you to have a trip there with us!
Monemvasia is a town and a municipality in Laconia, Greece. The town is located on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The island is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200m in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 meters above sea level, up to 300 m wide and 1 km long, the site of a powerful medieval fortress. The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the medieval period.