Lycurgus of Sparta

Lycurgus (/laɪˈkɜːrɡəs/; Greek: Λυκοῦργος, Lykoûrgos, Ancient Greek: [lykôrɡos]; fl. c. 820 BC) was the quasi-legendary lawgiver of Sparta who established the military-oriented reformation of Spartan society in accordance with the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. All his reforms promoted the three Spartan virtues: equality (among citizens), military fitness, and austerity.[1]

He is referred to by ancient historians and philosophers Herodotus, Xenophon, Plato, Polybius, Plutarch, and Epictetus. It is not clear if Lycurgus was an actual historical figure; however, many ancient historians[2] believed that he instituted the communalistic and militaristic reforms – most notably the Great Rhetra – which transformed Spartan society.

Lycurgus of Sparta
Statue of Lycurgus of Sparta, at the Law Courts of Brussels, December 30, 2013
Nineteenth-century statue of Lycurgus at the neoclassical Palais de Justice in Brussels, Belgium



Early life

Most information about Lycurgus comes from Plutarch's "Life of Lycurgus" (part of Parallel Lives), which is more of an anecdotal collection than a real biography. Plutarch himself remarks that nothing can be known for certain about Lycurgus, since different authors give different accounts of almost everything about him.[3] The actual person Lycurgus may or may not have existed – it is possible that "Lycourgos" was an epithet of the god Apollo as he was worshiped in very early Sparta, and that later legend transformed this aspect of the god into a wise human lawgiver[4][5] – but as a symbolic founder of the Spartan state he was looked to as the initiator of many of its social and political institutions; much, therefore, of Plutarch's account is concerned with finding the "origin" of contemporary Spartan practices. The dates of Lycurgus have been given by ancient and modern authorities as being as early as the tenth century BC and as late as the sixth century BC. Some scholars think the most plausible date is indicated by Thucydides, who said that in his time the Spartan constitution was over four hundred years old; this would imply a date for Lycurgus, or at least for the reforms attributed to him, of the last quarter of the ninth century BC.[4][5][6][7]

It is said that Lycurgus had risen to power when his older brother, the king, had died. With his father deceased, he was offered the throne. Lycurgus' brother, however, had died with a pregnant wife. When this child was born, Lycurgus named the child, Charilaus ("joy of the people") and transferred his kingship to the baby. After that, Lycurgus was said to be a man who could lay down the supreme power easily out of respect for justice, so it was easy for Lycurgus to rule the Spartans in his capacity as the guardian of his nephew Charilaus. However, the young king's mother and her relatives envied and hated Lycurgus. Among other slanders, they accused Lycurgus of plotting the death of Charilaus.


Lycurgus finally decided that the only way that he might avoid blame in case something should happen to the child would be to go travelling until Charilaus had grown up and fathered a son to secure the succession. Therefore, Lycurgus gave up all of his authority set out on a celebrated, though no doubt legendary, journey. His first destination was Crete, like Sparta a Dorian land, where he studied the laws of Minos. Spartan and Cretan institutions did indeed have common characteristics, but, though some direct borrowing may have occurred, such similarities are in general more likely to be because of the common Dorian inheritance of Sparta and Crete rather than because some individual such as Lycurgus imported Cretan customs to Sparta.[8] Traveling after that to Asia Minor, homeland of the Ionian Greeks, he found it instructive to compare the refined and luxurious life style of the Ionians with the stern and disciplined culture of the Dorians. Some say that Lycurgus subsequently traveled as far as Egypt, Spain, and India.[9] In Ionia, Lycurgus discovered the works of Homer. Lycurgus compiled the scattered fragments of Homer and made sure that the lessons of statecraft and morality in Homer's epics became widely known. According to Plutarch, the Egyptians claim that Lycurgus visited them too,[a] and that he got from the Egyptians the idea of separating the military from the menial workers, thus refining later Spartan society, in which Spartans were not allowed to practice manual crafts.[10]

Return to Sparta

After Lycurgus had been absent for a while, the Spartans wrote and begged Lycurgus to come back. As they admitted, only Lycurgus was really a king in their heart, although others wore a crown and claimed the title. He had the true foundation of sovereignty: a nature born to rule, and a talent for inspiring obedience. Even the Spartan kings wanted Lycurgus to return because they saw him as one who could protect them from the people.

Lycurgus had already decided that some fundamental changes would have to be made in Sparta. When he returned, he did not merely tinker with the laws, but instead followed the example of the wisest ephors to implement incremental change.

First, however, Lycurgus went to the Oracle at Delphi to ask for guidance. The Oracle told Lycurgus that his prayers had been heard and that the state which observed the laws of Lycurgus would become the most famous in the world. With such an endorsement, Lycurgus went to the leading men of Sparta and enlisted their support.

He began with his closest friends, then these friends widened the conspiracy by bringing in their own friends. When things were ripe for action, thirty of them appeared at dawn in the marketplace, fully armed for battle. At first, Charilaus thought they meant to kill him, and he ran for sanctuary in a temple, but eventually he joined the conspirators when he found out that all they wanted was to make sure there would be no opposition to the reforms Lycurgus had in mind.


According to the legend found in Plutarch's Lives and other sources, when Lycurgus became confident in his reforms, he announced that he would go to the oracle at Delphi to sacrifice to Apollo. However, before leaving for Delphi he called an assembly of the people of Sparta and made everyone, including the kings and Gerousia, take an oath binding them to observe his laws until he returned. He made the journey to Delphi and consulted the oracle, which told him that his laws were excellent and would make his people famous. He then disappeared from history. One explanation was that being satisfied by this he starved himself to death instead of returning home, forcing the citizens of Sparta by oath to keep his laws indefinitely.[11] He later enjoyed a hero-cult in Sparta.[12][13]


Lycurgus as legislator
Lycurgus as legislator.

Lycurgus is credited with the formation of many Spartan institutions integral to the country's rise to power, but more importantly the complete and undivided allegiance to Sparta from its citizens, which was implemented under his form of government.

Lycurgus is said to have been the originator of the Spartan "Homoioi," the "Equals," citizens who had no wealth differentiation among them, an early example of distributism, insofar as the citizens (not the Helots) were concerned. This radical lifestyle differentiated the Spartans once again from other Greeks of their time.

A new council between the people and the kings

The first reform instituted by Lycurgus involved establishing a Gerousia of twenty-eight men, who would have a power equal to the two royal houses of Sparta. The people had the right to vote on important questions, but the Gerousia decided when a vote would be taken. As Plutarch puts it, a Gerousia "allays and qualifies the fiery genius of the royal office" and gives some stability and safety to the commonwealth, like the ballast in a ship. Before, Sparta had oscillated between the extremes of democracy and tyranny: anarchy and dictatorship. With the addition of the Gerousia, which resisted both extremes, the government became stable and the people and their rulers respected each other.

Land reforms

To accomplish this equality, Plutarch, in his Life of Lycurgus, attributes to Lycurgus a thoroughgoing land reform, a reassignment and equalizing of landholdings and wealth among the population,

For there was an extreme inequality among them, and their state was overloaded with a multitude of indigent and necessitous persons, while its whole wealth had centered upon a very few. To the end, therefore, that he might expel from the state arrogance and envy, luxury and crime, and those yet more inveterate diseases of want and superfluity, he obtained of them to renounce their properties, and to consent to a new division of the land, and that they should all live together on an equal footing; merit to be their only road to eminence...

— Plutarch, Lycurgus[14]

To support this new land division, Lycurgus was said to have divided the country all around Laconia into 30,000 equal shares, and the part attached to the city of Sparta in particular into 9,000; all shares were distributed among the Spartans. Helots (the population of the territories the Spartans had captured in their wars in Laconia) were attached to the land, not to individual owners; hence, all slaves were property of the state.


To further support equality, Lycurgus, according to Plutarch, forbade the use of gold and silver, using the strategy of introducing money called pelanors[15][16] made of iron which had been weakened by it being cooled in a vinegar bath after being turned red-hot, and calling in all gold and silver, in order to defeat greed and dependence on money.[14] The new money, besides being almost intrinsically worthless, was bulky, and hence hard to transport. This move was seen by Plutarch also as a way of isolating Sparta from outside trade, and developing its internal arts and crafts, so as to prevent foreign influences and the decadence of markets.

Common mess halls

Another way to create equality was the Spartan institution of the sussita/syssitia, the practice that required all Spartan men to eat together in common mess halls.[17] Plutarch describes the institution as consisting of companies ("syssitia", or "eating-together" groups) of about fifteen men, each bound to bring in and contribute each month a bushel of meal, 8 gallons of wine, 5 pounds of cheese, 2 and a half pounds of figs, and a small amount of money to buy meat or fish with. When any member made a personal sacrifice to the gods, he would send some portion to the syssition, and when any member hunted, he sent part of the animal he had killed, to share with his messmates. Personal sacrifices of this sort and hunting were the only excuses that allowed a man to justify eating at his own home, instead of with the mess hall (syssition): otherwise, men were expected to eat daily with their syssition comrades. Even kings were apparently expected to take part in a mess hall, and were not to eat privately at home with their wives. Spartan women apparently ate together with and spent most of their time with each other, and not their husbands or sons older than seven (see below on the "agoge").

Education of children

He was also credited with the development of the agoge. The practice took all seven-year-old boys from the care of their fathers and placed them in a rigorous military regiment.[18]

Other measures

Lycurgus himself was said to be mild, gentle, forgiving, and calm in temper, even when attacked; he was thought to have been extraordinarily sober and an extremely hard worker, all qualities that other Greeks admired in the Spartans; in this sense he was also the "founder" of the admirable qualities displayed by contemporary Spartans of later ages.

Later changes to the institutions

Lycurgus gives his laws to the people before his death
Lycurgus gives his laws to the people before his death.

Some further refinements of the Spartan constitution came after Lycurgus. It turned out that sometimes the public speakers would pervert the sense of propositions and thus cause the people to vote foolishly, so the Gerousia reserved the right to dissolve the assembly if they saw this happening.

A hundred and thirty years after the death of Lycurgus, a council of five ephors took executive power from the kings. When King Theopompus, in whose reign the ephors were established, was scolded by his wife for leaving his son less royal power than he had inherited, he replied: "No, it is greater, because it will last longer." With their decision-making power reduced, the Spartan kings were freed of the jealousy of the people. They never went through what happened in nearby Messene and Argos, where the kings held on so tight to every last bit of power that in the end they would end up losing it all.


According to Plutarch, Lycurgus traveled to Crete, Asia Minor and possibly to Egypt before he drew up his constitution.[19]

The Cretan constitution was said to have influenced that of Lycurgus for Sparta.[20]

(...) he first arrived at Crete, where, having considered their several forms of government, and got an acquaintance with the principal men among them, some of their laws he very much approved of, and resolved to make use of them in his own country; a good part he rejected as useless.

— Plutarch, Lycurgus[19]

Another inspiration for his constitution was the Ionian way of life, that attached more importance to pleasurable life. [b] Plutarch also gives some credence to the idea Lycurgus visited Egypt and was influenced by their way of separating the soldiers from those who did manual labor. [a]


Lycurgus bas-relief in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber
Bas-relief of Lycurgus, one of 23 great lawgivers depicted in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lycurgus is depicted at the Palais de Justice in Brussels.

He is also depicted in several U.S. government buildings because of his legacy as a lawgiver. Lycurgus is one of the 23 lawgivers depicted in marble bas-reliefs in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. The bas-relief was sculpted by Carl Paul Jennewein.[21] Lycurgus is also depicted on the frieze on the south wall of the U.S. Supreme Court building.[22]

See also


  1. ^ a b "The Egyptians say that he took a voyage into Egypt, and that, being much taken with their way of separating the soldiery from the rest of the nation, he transferred it from them to Sparta, a removal from contact with those employed in low and mechanical occupations giving high refinement and beauty to the state. Some Greek writers also record this." Source: Plutarch
  2. ^ "From Crete he sailed to Asia, with design, as is said, to examine the difference betwixt the manners and rules of life of the Cretans, which were very sober and temperate, and those of the Ionians, a people of sumptuous and delicate habits, and so to form a judgment; just as physicians do by comparing healthy and diseased bodies." Source: Plutarch


  1. ^ Forrest, W.G. A History of Sparta 950–192 B.C. Norton. New York. (1963) p. 50
  2. ^ Plutarchus, Mestrius. Parallel Lives. Chs. Lycurgus and Lycurgus and Numa Compared. Plutarch lists Eratosthenes, Apollodorus of Athens, Timæus, and Xenophon, among others as sources.
  3. ^ Plutarch, Lycurugus, 1.1
  4. ^ a b Burn, A.R. (1982). The Pelican History of Greece. London: Penguin. pp. 116–117.
  5. ^ a b Bury, J.B.; Meiggs, Russell (1956). A History of Greece to the death of Alexander the Great (3 ed.). London: Macmillan. pp. 135–136.
  6. ^ Thucydides 1.18.1
  7. ^ Hammond, N.G.L. (1967). A history of Greece. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 103.
  8. ^ Grant, Michael (1987). The rise of the Greeks (1st American ed.). New York: Scribners. pp. 96, 195.
  9. ^ Smith, William (1857). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. 2. Boston: Little, Brown. p. 850.
  10. ^ Lycurgus, in Plutarch on Sparta, Penguin Classics, 1988, p. 12
  11. ^ see the biography of Lycurgus in Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans
  12. ^ A commentary on Herodotus books I–IV By David Asheri, Alan B. Lloyd, Aldo Corcella, Oswyn Murray, Alfonso Moreno p. 127 ISBN 0-19-814956-5
  13. ^ Pausanias 3.16.6
  14. ^ a b Plutarch, The Life of Lycurgus (written 75, trans. John Dryden 1683), The Internet Classics Archive
  15. ^ The Spartan Iron Currency Encyclopaedia of Money
  16. ^ Mitchel, Humfrey The Phoenix Classical Association of Canada (1947)
  17. ^ Forrest, W.G. A History of Sparta 950–192 B.C. Norton. New York (1963) p. 45
  18. ^ Forrest, W.G. A History of Sparta 950–192 B.C. Norton. New York (1963) p. 51
  19. ^ a b Plutarch, Biography of Lycurgus
  20. ^ Pausanias 3. 2, 4.
  21. ^ "Relief Portraits of Lawgivers: Lycurgus." Architect of the Capitol Archived 2006-10-26 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Courtroom Friezes: North and South Walls: Information Sheet" Supreme Court of the United States


External links

790s BC

This article concerns the period 799 BC – 790 BC.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάς, romanized: Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (c. AD 600). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean Basin and Europe. For this reason, Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered the cradle of Western civilization.Classical Greek culture gave great importance to knowledge. Science and religion were not separate and getting closer to the truth meant getting closer to the gods. In this context, they understood the importance of mathematics as an instrument for obtaining more reliable ("divine") knowledge. Greek culture, in a few centuries and with a limited population, managed to explore and make progress in many fields of science, mathematics, philosophy and knowledge in general.

Ancient Olympic Games

The ancient Olympic Games were originally a festival, or celebration of and for Zeus; later, events such as a footrace, a javelin contest, and wrestling matches were added. The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: Ὀλύμπια, Olympia, "the Olympics"; also Ὀλυμπιάς, Olympias, "the Olympiad") were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states and one of the Panhellenic Games of ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. The first Olympics is traditionally dated to 776 BC. They continued to be celebrated when Greece came under Roman rule, until the emperor Theodosius I suppressed them in AD 393 as part of the campaign to impose Christianity as the State religion of Rome. The games were held every four years, or olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies.

During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their cities to the games in safety. The prizes for the victors were olive leaf wreaths or crowns. The games became a political tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the games, and in times of war, priests would offer sacrifices to the gods for victory. The games were also used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean. The Olympics also featured religious celebrations. The statue of Zeus at Olympia was counted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sculptors and poets would congregate each olympiad to display their works of art to would-be patrons.

The ancient Olympics had fewer events than the modern games, and only freeborn Greek men were allowed to participate, although there were victorious women chariot owners. As long as they met the entrance criteria, athletes from any Greek city-state and kingdom were allowed to participate, although the Hellanodikai, the officials in charge, allowed king Alexander I of Macedon to participate in the games only after he had proven his Greek ancestry. The games were always held at Olympia rather than moving between different locations as is the practice with the modern Olympic Games. Victors at the Olympics were honored, and their feats chronicled for future generations.

Archaic Greece

Archaic Greece was the period in Greek history lasting from the eighth century BC to the second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC, following the Greek Dark Ages and succeeded by the Classical period. During this period, Greeks settled across the Mediterranean and Black sea, as far as Marseilles in the west and Trapezus (Trebizond) in the east; and by the end of the archaic period were part of a trade network which spanned the entire Mediterranean.

The archaic period began with a massive increase in the Greek population and a series of significant changes which rendered the Greek world at the end of the eighth century entirely unrecognisable compared to its beginning. According to Anthony Snodgrass, the Archaic period in ancient Greece was bounded by two revolutions in the Greek world. It began with a "structural revolution" which "drew the political map of the Greek world" and established the poleis, the distinctively Greek city-states, and ended with the intellectual revolution of the Classical period.The Archaic period saw developments in Greek politics, economics, international relations, warfare, and culture. It laid the groundwork for the Classical period, both politically and culturally. It was in the Archaic period that the Greek alphabet developed, that the earliest surviving Greek literature was composed, that monumental sculpture and red-figure pottery began in Greece, and that the hoplite became the core of Greek armies. In Athens, the earliest institutions of the democracy were implemented under Solon, and the reforms of Cleisthenes at the end of the Archaic period brought in Athenian democracy as it was during the Classical period. In Sparta, many of the institutions credited to the reforms of Lycurgus were introduced during the period, the region of Messenia was brought under Spartan control, helotage was introduced, and the Peloponnesian League was founded, making Sparta a dominant power in Greece.

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Costache Aristia

Costache or Kostake Aristia (Romanian pronunciation: [kosˈtake arisˈti.a]; born Constantin Chiriacos Aristia; Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Κυριάκος Αριστίας, Konstantinos Kyriakos Aristias; transitional Cyrillic: Коⲛстантiⲛꙋ Aрiстia, Constantinŭ Aristia; 1800 – April 18, 1880) was a Greek-born poet, actor and translator, also noted for his activities as a soldier, schoolteacher, and philanthropist. A member of the Greek colony, his adolescence and early youth coincided with the peak of Hellenization in both Danubian Principalities. He first appeared on stage at Cișmeaua Roșie in Bucharest, and became a protege of Lady Rallou. She sponsored his voyage to France, where Aristia became an imitator of François-Joseph Talma.

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Under the Regulamentul Organic regime, Aristia blended Eterist tropes and Romanian nationalism. He became a follower of Ion Heliade Rădulescu, and helped set up the Philharmonic Society, which produced a new generation of Wallachian actors—including Costache Caragiale and Ioan Curie. He contributed to the effort of modernizing the language, though his own proposals in this field were widely criticized and ultimately rejected. Aristia was made popular by his translation of Vittorio Alfieri's Saul, which doubled as a nationalist manifesto, and earned accolades for his rendition of the Iliad; however, he was derided for eulogizing Prince Gheorghe Bibescu. He also contributed to cultural life in the Kingdom of Greece, where, in 1840, he published his only work of drama.

Aristia contributed to the Wallachian Revolution of 1848, when he served as leader of the National Guard and arrested rival conservatives. During the backlash, he was himself a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire, and was finally expelled from Wallachia. He returned in 1851, having reconciled with the conservative regime of Barbu Dimitrie Știrbei, and remained a citizen of the United Principalities. He kept out of politics for the remainder of his life, concentrating on his work at Saint Sava, and then at the University of Bucharest, and on producing another version of the Iliad. Among his last published works are Bible translations, published under contract with the British and Foreign Bible Society.

Gelos (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Gelos (Γέλως) is the divine personification of laughter. According to Philostratus the Elder, he was believed to enter the retinue of Dionysus alongside Comus. Plutarch relates that Lycurgus of Sparta dedicated a small statue of Gelos to the god, and elsewhere, mentions that in Sparta there was a sanctuary of Gelos, as well as those of Thanatos, Phobos "and other [personifications of] experiences of this kind".Risus was the Latin rendition of the name Gelos. A festival in honor of Risus (i. e. Gelos) in Thessaly was described by Apuleius, but it is unknown whether it was an actual event or writer's invention.

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Karl Marx

Karl Marx (German: [ˈkaɐ̯l ˈmaɐ̯ks]; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary.

Born in Trier, Germany, Marx studied law and philosophy at university. He married Jenny von Westphalen in 1843. Due to his political publications, Marx became stateless and lived in exile with his wife and children in London for decades, where he continued to develop his thought in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and publish his writings, researching in the reading room of the British Museum. His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto, and the three-volume Das Kapital. His political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic and political history and his name has been used as an adjective, a noun and a school of social theory.

Marx's theories about society, economics and politics – collectively understood as Marxism – hold that human societies develop through class struggle. In capitalism, this manifests itself in the conflict between the ruling classes (known as the bourgeoisie) that control the means of production and the working classes (known as the proletariat) that enable these means by selling their labour power in return for wages. Employing a critical approach known as historical materialism, Marx predicted that, like previous socio-economic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system: socialism. For Marx, class antagonisms under capitalism, owing in part to its instability and crisis-prone nature, would eventuate the working class' development of class consciousness, leading to their conquest of political power and eventually the establishment of a classless, communist society constituted by a free association of producers. Marx actively pressed for its implementation, arguing that the working class should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic emancipation.Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and his work has been both lauded and criticised. His work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labour and its relation to capital, and subsequent economic thought. Many intellectuals, labour unions, artists and political parties worldwide have been influenced by Marx's work, with many modifying or adapting his ideas. Marx is typically cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science.


Laconophilia (also known as Laconism) is love or admiration of Sparta and of the Spartan culture or constitution. The term derives from Laconia, the part of the Peloponnesus where the Spartans lived.

Admirers of the Spartans typically praise their valour and success in war, their "laconic" austerity and self-restraint, their aristocratic and virtuous ways, the stable order of their political life, and their constitution, with its tripartite mixed government. Ancient Laconophilia started to appear as early as the 5th century BC, and even contributed a new verb to Ancient Greek: λακωνίζειν (literally: to act like a Laconian). Praise of the Spartan city-state persisted within classical literature ever afterward, and surfaced again during the Renaissance.


Lawgiver may refer to:

A person who draws up, introduces, or enacts a code of laws for a nation or people, such as:

Culture hero, a type of mythological figure

Legislator, a person who writes and passes laws

The Lawgiver, a 2012 novel relating to Moses, by Herman Wouk.

Lawgiver (Judge Dredd), a fictional gun from the Judge Dredd comics and films

The Lawgiver, a Planet of the Apes character

List of ancient Greeks

This an alphabetical list of ancient Greeks. These include ethnic Greeks and Greek language speakers from Greece and the Mediterranean world up to about 200 AD.

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The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing their nation. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, (i.e., political system form of government, and constitution), of the country. They can also be military leaders of a war of independence that led to the existence of the country.

Marriage in ancient Greece

The institution of marriage in ancient Greece encouraged responsibility in personal relationships. Marriages were usually arranged by the parents; professional matchmakers were reluctantly used. Each city was politically independent, with its own laws affecting marriage. Orphaned daughters were left to uncles or cousins. For the marriage to be legal, the woman's father or guardian gave permission to a suitable male who could afford to marry. Wintertime marriages were popular. The couple participated in a ceremony which included rituals such as veil removal but the couple living together made the marriage legal.

Merry-Joseph Blondel

Merry-Joseph Blondel (25 July 1781 – 12 June 1853) was a French history painter of the Neoclassical school. He was a winner of the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1803. After the salon of 1824, he was bestowed with the rank of Knight in the order of the Legion d'Honneur by Charles X of France and offered a professorship at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts: a position in which he remained until his death in 1853. In 1832, he was elected to a seat at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris,Blondel was a student of the Neoclassical master Baron Jean-Baptiste Regnault and from 1809, a lifelong friend of the painter Ingres.For much of Blondel's painting career, he was occupied with public commissions for paintings and frescoes in important buildings, including palaces, museums and churches. Blondel completed major commissions for the Palace of Fontainebleau, the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre Museum, the Brongniart Palace (also known as the Paris Bourse), the Luxembourg Palace, and the churches of St.Thomas Aquinas and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette.

Blondel's 1814 painting La Circassienne au Bain became infamous during the early part of the 20th century for being the subject of the largest claim for financial compensation made against the White Star line, for a single item of luggage lost by a passenger on the RMS Titanic.


Parashurama (Sanskrit: परशुराम, IAST: Paraśurāma, lit. Rama with an axe) is the sixth avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism. Born as a brahmin, Parashurama carried traits of a Kshatriya and is often regarded as a Brahmin-Kshatriya. He carried a number of Kshatriya traits, which included aggression, warfare and valor; also, serenity, prudence and patience. He, along with only Hanuman and Indrajita, is considered to be one of the very few Atimaharathi warriors ever born on the Earth. Like other incarnations of Vishnu, he was foretold to appear at a time when overwhelming evil prevailed on the earth. The Kshatriya class, with weapons and power, had begun to abuse their power, take what belonged to others by force and tyrannize people. Parashurama corrects the cosmic equilibrium by destroying these Kshatriya warriors.He is also referred to as Rama Jamadagnya, Rama Bhargava and Veerarama in some Hindu texts.

He is worshipped as the mool (primordial) purusha by Niyogi, Bhumihar Brahmin, Chitpavan Brahmin, Tyagi, Mohyals, Anavil and Nambudiri Brahmin communities.

Sonchis of Sais

Sonchis of Saïs or the Saïte (Greek: Σῶγχις ὁ Σαΐτης, Sō̂nkhis o Saḯtēs; fl. 594 BC) was an Egyptian priest who is mentioned in Greek writings as relating the account of Atlantis. His status as a historical figure is a matter of debate.

The Platonic dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written around 360 BC, relate (through the voice of Critias) how the Athenian statesman Solon (638–558 BC) traveled to Egypt and in the city of Sais encountered the priests of the goddess Neith. A very aged priest tells him that 9000 years earlier, Athens had been in conflict with the great power of Atlantis, which was then destroyed in a catastrophe.Plato's dialogue does not mention a name for the priest, but Plutarch (46–120 AD), in his Life of Solon identified the aged priest as Sonchis:

Near Nilus' mouth, by fair Canopus' shores, and spent some time in study with Psenophis of Heliopolis, and Sonchis the Saïte, the most learned of all the priests; from whom, as Plato says, getting knowledge of the Atlantic story, he put it into a poem, and proposed to bring it to the knowledge of the Greeks.

Plutarch gives a more detailed description on the Greek philosophers who visited Egypt and received advice by the Egyptian priests in his book On Isis and Osiris. Thus Thales of Miletus, Eudoxus of Cnidus, Solon, Pythagoras, (some say Lycurgus of Sparta also) and Plato, traveled into Egypt and conversed with the priests. Eudoxus was instructed by Chonupheus of Memphis, Solon by Sonchis of Saïs and Pythagoras by Oenuphis of Heliopolis.

Udriște Năsturel

Udriște Năsturel, first name also Uriil, Uril, Ioriste, or Oreste, last name also Năsturelovici (1596 or 1598 – ca. 1658), was a Wallachian scholar, poet, and statesman, the brother-in-law of Prince Matei Basarab through his sister Elena Năsturel. Together, the three staged a cultural revival centered on Bucharest and Târgoviște. Năsturel had risen through the ranks of Wallachian bureaucracy and had served Radu Mihnea's government in Moldavia, being kept as Logothete by Matei Basarab. In office, he had an international correspondence and went on diplomatic travels through Central Europe, while also overseeing the printing presses. He was the titular boyar of Herăști, known in his day as Fierești and Fierăști, where he built a palace that stands as a late example of Renaissance architecture, and earned him a regional fame.

Năsturel was primarily an advocate of Old Church Slavonic, the courtly language. He was one of its last exponents in Romanian literature, and taught it to students at the school in Târgoviște. His favorite forms of expression were the essay and the rhyming preface, but he also perfected a Slavonic answer to the blason, which remained influential for two centuries and was, by some accounts, the first known poem by a Romanian. Năsturel, who made mention of the people's Latin origin, also used the Romanian vernacular, in which he notably produced a translation of Barlaam and Josaphat. In his original works, his themes and his linguistic obscurities show a Baroque streak, while his core ideology has been linked to Renaissance humanism. An Eastern Orthodox theologian and a ktitor within the Wallachian Metropolis, he was nevertheless attracted to Counter-Reformation ideas, and published Catholic-inspired propaganda against Calvinism. Năsturel was versed in both Renaissance Latin and classical scholarship, putting out a Slavonic rendition of The Imitation of Christ.

Udriște's first-born, Mateiaș, was adopted by the princely couple and groomed as heir to the throne, but died in 1652, before reaching maturity. This event inspired the Logothete to write his last poem, a conventional epitaph. His sister died in 1653, and his brother-in-law a year later. Năsturel survived the rise of Constantin Șerban, being for a while reappointed as Spatharios, although he was cousins with the rebel leader Hrizea. A new Prince, Mihnea III, identified Năsturel as one of the boyars standing in the way of his political projects, and included him in his murderous purge. The Spatharios was strangled at Curtea Veche, and his body was desecrated in the streets of Bucharest. He was survived by another son, Radu Toma, who held major political offices under George Ducas. His direct line of descent was maintained until the 1874 death of Constantin Năsturel-Herescu.

The works of Plutarch
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Greek lawgivers

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