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Greek Mythology > People, Places, & Things > Lykurgos (3)
Labdakos to Lethe Leto to Lysizonos
Whether Lykurgos was a real man or just a mythological symbol does not really matter; his influence on the Spartans was nothing less than miraculous.
The Spartans were descendants of the Dorians, and when they settled on the Greek mainland and the Peloponnesian Peninsula in the eleventh century BCE, they displaced the aboriginal inhabitants and assumed the roles of governors and landlords; the Spartans were dominating and very discriminating towards to pre-Dorian Greeks; although the Spartans were greatly outnumbered by their surfs (helots) they were the economic and political masters of Lakonia (Laconia).
When the Spartans tried to annex the neighboring tribe known as the Messenians (735-716) they were hard pressed to win a decisive victory; this was a major turning point for the development of the Spartans; the Spartans were severely outnumbered by the helots and the Messenians and for them to retain their domination of these potentially rebellious surfs the Spartans needed a new approach to their government and military; Lykurgos (or the spirit of Lykurgos) came to the rescue.
The Spartans cast aside all frivolous and non-military activities and devoted all their time and resources to military affairs; men and boys were trained in military tactics; women were given more responsibility in day-to-day decision making; the weak and deformed were quickly, and mercilessly, culled from the population; every aspect of the government was redirected towards maintaining and perpetuating the military; this entire re-structuring of the Spartan government and economy was credited to one man, Lykurgos.
His name may also be rendered as Lykourgos or Lycourgos.
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