Sparta Social Hierarchy

Sparta was an ancient independent city and was a great rival of one most popular Greek city Athens.  Located in the Peloponnesus peninsula, Sparta was a city that lied on the south west side of Athens.  Spartans were very popular and powerful warriors and Sparta was ruled by the oligarchy form of government for most of the time. According to the government of Sparta, every person of the state had to live in the state and for the state throughout their life and totally belong to it.

As far as the social hierarchy was concerned, Spartans followed a very unusual system. In their social system, the division of people in classes was totally dependent on their physical strength and no-one by birth belonged to any particular class. The following given information will explain more about the social hierarchy of the Spartans:

sparta Social hierarchyAncient Spartan Hierarchy

  • Kings and the Council of Elders
  • Aristocrats
  • Perioeci Class
  • Helots

Kings and the Council of Elders

On the top of the pyramid of the Spartan hierarchy came the two kings who ruled the city together.Besides the 2 main kinds, there were 28 other members who were known as the council of elders. This council of elders helped the kings manage the governance and responsibilities. These members were elected by the people and their main responsibility was to conduct court for criminal justice. They also helped advice the kings in various matters related with the state. They practiced oligarchy to rule the people in which the power structure was shared by a small group of people who generally belonged to aristocratic class.


After the king and the council of elders, came the Aristocrats who were thehighest level people among the other citizens. In the Sparta civilization, everyone was required to appear for a graduation test at the age of 20, after they had learned all the tact and techniques of warfare. Those who cleared the test were considered as the citizens of the state and were given the title of aristocrats. The Aristocrats were the richer class of people who owned lands and were also responsible for military operations.

Perioeci Class

In the ancient Spartan hierarchy, the Perioeci was the middle level class of people. These individuals were responsible for crafting and farming and this class therefore this class constituted of those who were craftsmen, artisans and farmers. Besidesfulfilling their responsibilities as the Perioeci class, the people were required to pay taxes and were also given the opportunity to serve for the armed forces of the city.This class didn’t have any other political rights.


At the bottom of the pyramid came the class of the Helots. The Helots were the slaves who resulted after committing some crime or by speaking against the tradition of the Spartans.   The Spartans gave these individuals the status of Helots because they were rebellious by nature and needed to be controlled.  Also, sometimes those who crossed limits were murdered by the other Spartans.