The Lacedaemonian Constitution: Oligarchy And Democracy

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The Lacedaemonian Constitution By: Jarred Salha Athens & Renaissance Florence Research Seminar Professor Horowitz December 8, 2009 “The Lacedaemonian Constitution” Sparta has always been admired for its dedication to ideas, discipline and stability. One of the concepts which Greeks admired was the Spartan constitution, which was a combination of oligarchy, monarchy and democracy. Historians have addressed the question of whether the Spartan constitution was effective, and worthy of admiration, in two primary ways: the application of its laws and their effect, and the process by which the governing body was assembled. It is generally agreed that the constitution was a success because Sparta accomplished…show more content…
These officials presided over murder cases and possessed the power to condemn, fine or banish.[xi] Additionally, they were responsible for carrying out the day-to-day running of the city. The Council of Elders was by no means the supreme body of the Spartan constitution.[xii] Though the members of this council were elected for being men of good virtue, in order to be eligible to become an Elder Spartans had to be over sixty year of age. As these Elders were elected for life, they were exempt the most effective form of democratic censures, re-election.[xiii] According to Aristotle, this was problematic. He believed that judges of important causes should not hold office for life because “the mind grows old as well as the body.”[xiv] Additionally, the Elders method of election was flawed. Instead of appointing the worthiest candidates to the position, candidates were allowed to canvas for the position.[xv] Despite its defects, the Council of Elders…show more content…
Aristotle, Politics and Poetics, trans. Benjamin Jowett and Thomas Twining (New York: The Viking Press, 1957). Aristotle. The Politics of Aristotle, Translated by Benjamin Jowett. (London: Colonial Press, 1900). Plato. The Laws of Plato. Translated by Thomas L. Pangle. (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 1988). Plato, The Republic, Translated by G. M. A. Grube (United States: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1928). Xenophone. Xenophons in Seven Volumes, 7. Translated by William Heinemann. (Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1984). Xenophon, Xenophon’s Minor Works, trans. J. S. Watson (London: George Bell & Sons, 1908) Secondary Bradford, Ernle. Thermopylae: The Battle for the West. (New York: Da Capo Press, 1980.) Cartledge, Paul. Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History. (New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979.) ---. The Spartans: An Epic History. Channel 4 Books, 2002. ---. Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World. (New York: Vintage Books; A Division of Random House, Inc., 2006). David, Ephraim. Sparta Between Empire and Revolution (404-243 B.C.). (Salem, New Hampshire: The Ayer Company,

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