Sparta's Government

Sparta’s Government
Sparta was governed as a mixed constitution and was made up of the diarchy, oligarchy and democracy. It consisted of the dual kingship, the gerousia, the ephors and the ekklesia. The Spartan constitution aimed to achieve eunomia.
The diarchy was a dual kingship, which consisted of two hereditary kings, one from the Agiad family and one from the Euryptonid family. The dual kingship was one of the most ancient of Spartans institutions and survived throughout its history. A Spartan king had to fulfil many roles including having a voice in foreign affairs debates and also having judicial powers in the case of marriage of an unbetrothed heiress. They also dealt with matters to do with public roads and adoption of sons. Herodotus states that they also had the power of declaring war on whom they please, “no Spartan army may attempt to oppose their decision, under pain of outlawry.” Though the kings did have limitations as they were unable to finalise peace treaties, however they were able to establish conditions and arrangements for the ratification by the assembly. These limitations on the two kings’ power implied that eunomia was not being upheld, as they did not possess much effective power, rather they had honorary positions of authority.
The oligarchy was composed of a group of 28 men over 60 years of age called the gerousia. The gerousia was the council of elders and were elected for life by the citizens in the assembly – the ekklesia. The gerousia had considerable influence and prestige and they had many roles and powers. The general assembly of the Spartan citizens had the right to vote on state matters but the gerousia along with the kings could ignore the vote if it was not to their liking. The gerousia prepared the business and agenda for the assembly and they also had many judicial functions. They tried cases that involved the kings and had the right to impose penalties like loss of citizen rights, death or even exile. Aristotle...