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The Classical Age
Guide: Sparta

This collection of resources explores the culture and customs of the ancient Greek society of Sparta. A critical thinking module is included to help students compare the militaristic values of Sparta to those of its famous rival, Athens. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Geography impacts a civilization's ability to communicate and unify
  • Centralization allows for culture to flourish and disseminate
  • Oral history and tradition perpetuate cultural norms and religion
  • Societal celebrations and norms can glorify and support warfare
  • Political structure influences the economic stratification of a society
  • Democratic systems value the rights and opinions of citizens
  • Internal rivalry leads to competitive rather than collaborative systems
  • Art and architecture depict society's values and histories
  • Philosophy, or the love of wisdom, contributes to the betterment of society through academic research, reasoning, and discovery
  • Strong leadership leads to success of political and military campaigns
  • Cultural diffusion can lead to romanticism of past civilizations and culture

Key Questions

  • How did the Spartan state manage the lives of its citizens? How did the state ensure its military strength?
  • In what ways were the lives of Spartans less free than those of Athenians? In what ways were they more free? Why were art and culture less developed at Sparta than they were at Athens?
  • How did the lives of the Helots differ from those of Spartan citizens? Why were the Helots so important to the functioning of Spartan society?
  • Why do you think Sparta was able to become a powerful rival of Athens?


  1. Overview: Sparta
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Spartan Government and Citizenship
  6. Lesson: 2-Spartan Society and Economy
  7. Lesson: 3-Spartan Daily Life and Culture
  8. Lesson: Closing
  9. Key Question: Athenian and Spartan Families
  10. Background Essay: Athenian and Spartan Families (Background Essay)
  11. Dilemma Perspective: Athenian and Spartan Families (Perspective 1)
  12. Dilemma Perspective: Athenian and Spartan Families (Perspective 2)
  13. Doing More: Doing More
  14. Glossary Terms: gerousia
  15. Glossary Terms: perioikoi
  16. Photos & Illustrations: Greece: men harness chariot for race
  17. Photos & Illustrations: Spartan culture: warrior statue
  18. Reference Articles: Ephors
  19. Reference Articles: Helots
  20. Reference Articles: Sparta
  21. Letters & Narratives: Plutarch: training regime of Spartan boys, Life of Lycurgus (ca. 75 CE)

MLA Citation

"Sparta." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2158354. Accessed 23 Aug. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2158354

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