Infrastructure, Social Structure and Superstructure of Ancient Sparta Analytical Essay by jpgaltmill

Infrastructure, Social Structure and Superstructure of Ancient Sparta
An examination of the infrastructure and social structure of ancient Sparta and how it led to the Spartan culture's eventual collapse.
# 153770 | 1,706 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Dec 16, 2013 in Anthropology (Cultural) , History (Greek and Roman)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


The paper relates that Spartan culture is a great example of how a society's infrastructure will directly affect both its social structure and superstructure. Furthermore, the paper relates that Spartan culture also serves as a warning that any society that becomes too rigid in its structure and too static in its values will not last long when confronted with more agile and adaptable cultures. This paper explores why Sparta became the Hellenic army par excellence, how this worked to create a very specific social structure founded on martial values, and, finally, how that social structure would ultimately be the undoing of the culture.

From the Paper:

"Like most Greek states of the Archaic and Classical Era, the Spartan city-state was a militaristic one. Sparta, however, took the idea to its extreme. In order to become the best soldiers, Spartan citizens had to dedicate their entire lives to the occupation. In fact to be a soldier - a hoplite - was the full infrastructure of Spartan society. While most Greek city-states looked down on labor, physical work, and even working for profit, they still had to work for a living, produce something. "The Spartans alone had no need to earn a living and devoted themselves exclusively to military training" (Kagan, 2004).
"Burckhardt describes the Greeks as a people who came to believe that competition and conflict - the struggle or agon- was one of the highest values in life. "This way of life was incompatible with any economic activity; the agon occupied the whole of existence" (Burckhardt, 1998). While this can be found in their love of sports like wrestling, and the Olympic Games in general, and even in the pride they took in outfitting triremes or their own armor, one citizen trying to outdo the other, these activities were all centered around the individual. But in Greek culture the individual was always subordinate to the state, and the agon between states is war."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Burckhardt, Jacob, The Greeks and Greek Civilization, St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10010, 1998.
  • Kagan, Donald,The Peloponnesian War, Penguin Books, 80 Strand, London, WC2R 0RL, England, 2004.
  • Prins, Harald& McBride, Bunny, Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge,
  • Runciman, W.G.,Greek Hoplites, Warrior Culture, and Indirect Bias, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 4 No. 4, Dec. 1998.
  • Talbert, Richard, The Role of the Helots in the Class Struggle at Sparta, Historia: ZeitschriftfurAlteGeschichte

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Infrastructure, Social Structure and Superstructure of Ancient Sparta (2013, December 16) Retrieved December 07, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Infrastructure, Social Structure and Superstructure of Ancient Sparta" 16 December 2013. Web. 07 December. 2023. <>