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Geography OF sPARTA

Discussion surrounding the geographical setting, natural features and resources of Ancient Sparta
by

Anna Ralic-Hanrahan

on 6 October 2012

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Transcript of Geography OF sPARTA

The Geographical Setting of Sparta Sparta was located in the southern part of the Peloponnesian peninsula, in the Eurotas River valley, in the area known as Laconia. The area is one of the most fertile in Greece. Geography & Topography The Mountains...
Sparta was surrounded on 3 sides by rugged mountains: Mt Taygetus to the west, the Parnon ranges to the east, and (the Arcadian mountains to the north. Sparta developed at the Northern end of the Eurotas valley, about 200 metres above sea level, and was connected to the sea at Gytheon, 42 kms to the south.
Gytheion was the main Spartan harbour.
Provided fish & shellfish.
Xenophon reports that the Spartan fleet was based here.
First & foremost a land power - the Spartan navy was inferior to that of Athens. The Harbour Usually cold in winter.
Hot in summer.
Snow would cover the slopes of Mt Taygetus in winter.
Rainfall was light but adequate. Climate What did this mean?
The 3 mountain ranges made it difficult for any army to cross.
They provided natural protection against invaders, but were also a barrier against influences from other city-states.
Isolated Sparta from the rest of Greece.
Additionally, the rugged sea coast in the South made a sea approach unattractive. Mount Taygetus - the west First occupied by a Mycenaean people.
Mycenaean people were displaced by invading Dorian tribes.
Dorians took control of the land & made the natives helots (slaves).
Approx. 750 BC Sparta needed more land & so invaded Messene.
Messenians were reduced to the status of helots.
After this, the joint territory of Laconia & Messenia was called Lacedaemon. The Growth of Sparta Laconia and Messene had many natural resources, including:
Iron and lead
Crops e.g. barley & wheat
Fruit orchards e.g. figs, olives and grapes
Plains good for grazing sheep & goats (cheese, skins, hair, wool & fat)
Pigs & hens
Game animals
Bees (honey & wax)
Timber & stone from the mountains ( building supplies)
Fish and shellfish from Gytheion
Dye extracted from shellfish used in textiles. Resources Four of Sparta's villages were located on the Eurotas River.
Fifth village named Amyclae was located 5 km South (towards the sea)
Provided Sparta's water supply
Would flood in spring with influx of water & mud from melting snow caps
Ensured that the plains remained fertile & able to supply Spartans with food. The Eurotas River Describe Sparta's location within Greece.
Name two geographical features in the region of Sparta. Revision Questions
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