The Spartan relationship with those that they conquered was designed to maintain their superior strength as a fighting power. To do this they needed an underclass of workers who could maintain the living standards of their society. Those that they subjugated within the Peloponnese were called Helots, and they fulfilled this role. To consider whether this relationship could be described in terms of class struggle it is necessary to identify who the Helots were, their particular role in Spartan life, their reaction to this role, their treatment by the Spartans and its eventual effects.
Excepting for a few Achaean centres, when the Mycenaean period ended in about 1200 BCE it was followed by a severe depopulation of the Peloponnesian peninsula. In about 1000BCE, the Dorians, a northern migrant-warrior tribe invaded and settled Laconia. This occupation of the land happened over a long period, with any pre-Dorian population being…
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