Much less evidence survives about Sparta than Athens, but we do know that it was a military state. Sparta was surrounded by mountains which protected it from invaders.
Sparta was the only city state which had a full time army. The Spartan men were well known for being brave and fierce, and they spent their whole lives training and fighting.
Spartans lived in harsh conditions, without luxuries, to make them tough fighters.
Physical training and fitness was considered to be an important part of a Spartan child’s education. Girls did not fight in wars but they took part in physical activities because Spartans believed fit and strong women would have healthy babies that would be good soldiers. Boys went to live at an army barracks at the age of 7.
Sparta had its own system of government which was very different from the other city states. Rule was shared between two kings, the Gerousia and the Assembly.
Most citizens Spartans were either Perioeci (citizens who paid taxes, served in the army and were protected by Spartan laws) or Helots (people from lands conquered and ruled by Sparta who had no rights).
Spartan citizens were given land which was farmed for them by the Helots. The Helots were treated as serfs (slaves) and had to give half their crops to their Spartan master.
Find out more about the Helots
Find out what Athens and Sparta were really like
Sparta's powerful army is ready for war. Athens knows that it cannot defeat this army ... but it has a Navy and Sparta does not. The year is 430 BC. Poliphus and his family from Athens and Sparcus and his family from Sparta are thinking about the future. They each have different points of view!! Cool site!