Spartan religion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This chapter explains that Spartan religion was distinctive in relation to the religious systems of the other Greek poleis, and in particular to that of Athens. The Spartans believed in the existence of supernatural beings, that is in gods and heroes, who intervened in human affairs. Sacred space was enhanced and enlarged as Sparta grew in power and prosperity. The two colossal archaic statues of an armed Apollo, holding a spear in one hand and a bow in the other, protected the five villages that constituted the polis of Sparta. The Spartans had a distinctive ethos that was based on a collective mentality, similarity of lifestyle, communal institutions, and martial values. The three most important Spartan festivals, the Karneia, Hyakinthia, and Gymnopaidiai, were all in honour of the youthful god Apollo. Spartan women indeed participated in religious activities, but in ways that were peculiarly appropriate to and adapted for the Spartan ethos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Sparta
Publisherwiley
Pages425-451
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781119072379
ISBN (Print)9781405188692
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities

Keywords

  • God Apollo
  • Greek poleis
  • Sacred space
  • Spartan ethos
  • Spartan festivals
  • Spartan religion

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