THE ORIGINS OF THE SPARTAN PERIOIKIA: INTERNAL COLONIZATION

Abstract

The article deals with the so-called «internal colonization» as one of the ways of the genesis of perioikic settlements from the point of view of the formation of the perioikia as a specific form of dependency in ancient Sparta. The three ўрпйкЯбй, or colonies, which were founded by the Spartans in Laconia and were in the classical period supposed by the ancient tradition to have the status of perioikoi, are analyzed in detail: Lepreon, Cythera and Gerontrae. It is especially noticed that in all three cases the main and prevailing part of settlers belonged to the dependent population. So, in the case of Lepreon, those were the freed helots, whereas in case of Cythera and Gerontrae, apparently, the perioikoi.
The predominant participation in the internal colonization of the dependent categories of the population and, above all, the perioikoi, is confirmed, as it seems, by the social composition of the colonists who took part in the founding of the Spartan colonies outside the borders of Laconia itself. Thus, the Spartan perioikoi definitely participated in the foundation of Heraclea Trachinia in 426 BC. e. and, most likely, in colonial expeditions to Libya and Sicily led by prince Dorieus at the end of VI century BC., whereas the Spartiates in both cases acted as the oikistes only and were very few in numbers. As for the foundation of Taras, the most famous Spartan colony outside the Greece proper, here also the bulk (if not all) of the colonists did not belong to the Spartan citizenry.   
Therefore, it is concluded that the so-called «internal colonization» could not be an «archetype», the original way of genesis of perioikic settlements and, accordingly, the Spartan perioikia as a specific form of dependency. Rather, it represented a socio-political imitation of the primary way of the genesis of perioikic dependency – the forcible appropriation by the Spartiate community of the territory as a result of military expansion.

About the authors

A. Yu. Eremin

Samara National Research University

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7045-4310

Candidate of Historical Sciences, assistant professor of the Department of World History, International Relations and Document Science

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