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Sparta Sparta one of the powerful city-states retains this name for good reasons The Spartans faced the problems of overpopulation and land hunger Their solution was to conquest to gain more land Almost defeated the Messenian war cost Sparta a high price A half-century of war so hard fought had ground the military life deep into Spartan consciousness It seemed to them they never dare relax especially when there were so few Spartans and so many helots Surely if the Spartans ever relaxed even slightly the helots would rise at once To provide for their economic needs the Spartans divided the land of Messenia among all citizens Helots worked the land raised crops provided the Spartans their living and occasionally served in the army The Spartans kept the helots in line by means of systematic terrorism hoping to beat them down and keep then quiet This is how the situation stood for Sparta at the end of the Messenian Revolt Controlling the territory of a population that outnumbered their population ten to one it was only a matter of time before the Messenian population would over-run their conquerors So the Spartans invented a new political system as dramatically revolutionary as Athenian democracy in the north they turned their state into a military state Fighting was not a trade for weaklings as the Spartans practiced it For that reason the Spartans dedicated their lives to warfare Spartan youngsters were inspected at birth to see if they were physically sound If they were not they were abandoned in the hills and left to die At the age of seven they were taken from their mothers and were brought up in barracks They were taught to endure cold hunger and pain without complaint At twenty after thirteen years of training the Spartan became a soldier The Spartan soldier spent his life with his fellow soldiers The soldier was allowed to be married but did not live
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