History assessment draft
Lycurgus has been interpreted to be a man, god, or figment of historical authors' imagination. Although his personal existence is in question it is believed that he left a collection of reforms to improve Spartan society. These reforms – which he allegedly collected from an oracle at the shrine of Apollo at Delphi – have made a significant blue print of the conception of what Spartan society was. Although, as we look at the evidence we begin to see that these reforms were not as significant as the ancient historians has led us to believe. What the evidence actually shows is a Spartan society that had culture and commerce, which shows that the reforms where a change ...view middle of the document...
This again challenges the significant impact that this reform had due to there being an imbalance of equality. Thucydides is partially reliable as he is a primary source. He wrote in the time of the Peloponnesian war and was a general in the Athenian army. This means that his accounts are first hand; the only problem with him as a source is his bias. Being an Athenian at the time of the Peloponnesian wars means he was subject to a negative bias due the fact that the war was Athens against Sparta. Although his statements of Sparta are bias the source I have chosen is useful due to its objective statement of ‘the rich’, which outlines the fact that there was inequality in Sparta.
In relation to wealth within Spartan society, Lycurgus had declared a reform that the Spartans were not to participate in the economy and that foreign exchange was not allowed. However, the evidence shows us that Spartans did participate in the economy and did allow foreign exchange at points in time but there is a slow decline of economic activity. This challenges the significance of the reform and shows that it was not a revolutionary event. The Spartans were renowned for there pottery and there is archaeological evidence that the Spartan citizens themselves where craftsmen and could have produced these pots.
As said by Brian Brennan there is evidence of potteries in the Kynosoura and Mesoa quarters of the town. A kiln was discovered by Chr. Christou in the Mesoa quarter of the city and has been dated around 600 BC. This kiln is evidence of the Spartans actively participating in craftsmanship. It is alleged that the periokoi were to make these pots but the word means “the dwellers around” therefore a kiln would not be placed within the city walls if the periokoi were to be the craftsmen of the pots. The source of the Kiln is reliable as Chr. Christou is a well-known archaeologist and is mentioned both by Paul cartledge for is excavation and Brian Brenan this making his finding of the kiln a reliable source. The usefulness of this source is great due to the evidence it gives us of Spartan Craftsmanship
Having evidence of craftsmanship of the Spartans Lycurgus’s reforms is challenged and is not as significant as praised by the ancient writers. Lycurgus put a ban on foreign trade as it was seen as corrupt to the Spartan society. Although as stated by j Fine the Spartans did in fact allow foreign trade.
“Excavations at Sparta, supplemented by literary references, have revealed that in these generations ivory, scarabs from Egypt, amber from the north, and luxurious dresses and gold from Lydia were imported.” (Fine, J (1983), The ancient Greeks)
This source is reliable as John V. A. Fine was Emeritus Professor of Classics at Princeton University. Fine is qualified and has completed a prestigious, specialised education in America. He is qualified to make sound judgements and has stated infallible evidence in his findings.
Fine’s statement also supports the ideas of...