TWO kings! Two royal families (Agiads, Eurypontids), [Archagetai] both claiming descent from HERAKLES, the cultural hero and ancestor of the Dorians. Kings served for life, and the office was hereditary; but kings had to be trained in the Agoge too.

Kings were:


The "Old Men": 28 Spartiates over the age of 60 (that is, beyond the age for military service) + the two kings (= 30). The Gerontes (Senators) were elected by the Assembly of Spartiates for life. In fact they controlled much of the public business and decided on what the Assembly could discuss (the PROBOULEUTIC function); they could also veto actions taken by the Assembly


5 Spartiate "Overseers", elected (?) annually by the Assembly. The only source on this point says that they were "selected" (haireisthai). Any Spartiate could be EPHOR. They had financial, judicial, and administrative powers--even over the Kings and Gerontes! Two Ephors always went with a king on campaign to control arrogance and to protect the interests of the whole State. They manage a kind of teen-Gestapo called the KRYPTEIA ('Secret Service').


the Spartiate Assembly, men above 18; could only vote YES or NO, (by making noise); were subject to veto. Could only meet on summons, and only discuss what was submitted to them.

See: H. Michell, Sparta (Cambridge 1952), Chapters 4-6.


January 26, 2010 1:48 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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