The Babylonian Woe
Sparta, of all the Greek States, is one that resisted most of all, in ancient times, the encroachments of international money power, and the circulation of precious metals, and all those demoralizing factors deriving therefrom. However, from those laws promulgated by Lycurgus in Sparta, reputedly during the ninth Century B.C., but, as according to the archaeologists, the early sixth century B.C.,(1) it would seem that all those evils deriving from giving such international money power free rein, had already been experienced, and had brought about that reaction amongst the people generally that enabled Lycurgus to take those measures by which he expunged forever the main causes of the sickness of greed and self-interest which ate at the heart of the Doric overlord class of the Peloponnese. To him(2) are ascribed those laws directed towards this purpose such as are described by Plutarch:
Not contented with this (redistribution of land) he resolved to make a division of their movables too, that there might be no odious distinction or inequality left among them; but finding it would be very dangerous to go about it openly, he took another course and defeated their avarice by the following stratagem: he commanded that all gold and silver coin should be called in, and that only a sort of money of iron should be current, a great weight and quantity of which was very little worth. So that to lay up twenty or thirty pounds, there was required a pretty large closet, and to remove it, nothing less than a yoke of oxen. With the diffusion of this money, at once a number of vices were banished from Lacedaemon for who would rob another of such coin? Who would unjustly detain or take by force or accept as a bribe, a thing which was not easy to hide or a credit to have, or indeed of any use to cut in pieces. For when it was red-hot they quenched it in vinegar, and by that means spoilt it and made it almost incapable of being worked.
In the next place he declared an outlawry of all superfluous arts; but here he might have spared his proclamation; for they of themselves would have gone after the gold and silver, the money which remained being not so proper payment for curious work, for being iron it was scarcely portable, neither if they should take the means to export it, would it pass among the other Greeks who ridiculed it. So now there was no means of purchasing foreign goods and small wares, no itinerate fortune teller, no harlot monger, or gold or silver smith, engraver or jeweller set foot in a country which had no money; so that luxury deprived little by little of that which fed and fomented it, wasted to nothing, and died away of itself. For the rich had no advantage here over the poor as their wealth and abundance had no road to come abroad by, but were shut up at home doing nothing.(3)
Plutarch, of course, lived in a city and in an age when all wealth was assessed in terms of precious metals by weight. Needless to say, in order to have the cooperation of the real ruler, local money creative power, towards the publication of his works, he wisely followed that trend which undoubtedly had been instigated in Athens of making a mockery of Spartan customs, a trend which is still followed to this day by many so called scholars. Sparta, early in the Millennium had come to understand the real significance of precious metal money, as being part of an international confidence game. Sparta also realized the destructive forces inherent in the activities of its controllers and the foreign luxury traders they encouraged and financed in order to debilitate the people, and so make absolute their own secret hegemony, such as destroyed all racial pride in that people on whom they were battening, and thus destroying their will to resist through creating obsession with pleasure. The evidence is in the findings of the British School at Athens from their excavations at the site of the city of Sparta:
The excavations of the British School at Athens at the site of the city of Sparta reveal a flourishing state of the arts and manufactures in Laconia carried on, if not wholly by Laconian workmen themselves, at least by foreign artists who were welcome and encouraged to ply their crafts without any of the dark suspicion of strangers that was so marked in latter times.(4)
The so-called Spartan way of life derived from the necessity of the Spartans to always be prepared for total war from abroad, as their final rejection of international money power made certain would come, and to be always prepared for war from within; i.e., insurrection; an equal certainty deriving from the same causes.
The first Messenian War (736-716 B.C.) was entered into by King Theopompus of Sparta for the usual reasons for any war in a state indicated by archaeological findings as being under the thumb of international money power: instigation by that money power in favour of its arms industry and its other long range purposes. The long drawn out character of the war indicated that the Messenians had equal access to international arms industry with Sparta. Armies are not raised and maintained in long drawn out wars without finances acceptable in international trade and ready access to the best of weapons and equipment; and it is clear the Messenians were not short of such... This war served that purpose most desirable to money power of reducing the power of kings: The first and second Messenian wars were both followed by constitutional crises. The first settlement was a victory of the Spartan peers over the kings and a curbing of royal prerogatives and powers.(5) Such would have been typical of the progress of international money power in its usual insidious takeover of any state or civilization. ...The crisis after the second Messenian war was at least within the ranks of the Spartans themselves, a democratic one, if that very dubious word can be used.(6) The long drawn out character of the second Messenian War indicated the same underlying factor of the original war of conquest: international money-power extending its favours to both sides, to the insurgents and to Sparta. The final edicts of Lycurgus as a result of the constitutional crisis that followed the second Messenian war, certainly indicate he was aware of the loss of sovereignty that came to any state that based its money system on the product of the international bullion brokers, and which meant dependence on their good graces; the more especially if such state had no mines of its own.
The Second Messenian war which was doubtless to have established total Democracy, that is, total rule of the international banking fraternity, failed so far as such purpose was concerned. Lycurguss answer to a man who insisted he create a democracy in the state was First create a democracy in your own house. Certainly an apt answer!
The complaint of Theognis, admirer of Sparta, visitor from Megara, whos e political aim was directed towards the prevention of the recurrence of a Tyranny at Megara, should not be forgotten, and bore light on the conditions at Sparta, as well, and that gave rise to Lycurgus:
Tradesmen reign supreme, the bad lord it over their betters,
This is the lesson that all must thoroughly master...(7)
Of the reforms of Lycurgus, their cause, and those forces they were directed against, there is no doubt whatsoever, and verification through the findings of archaeology such as the work of Dr. Blakeway in Laconia reestablishes the time as being, as remarked above, after the second Messenian war, namely between 600 B.C. and 550 B.C.
He has demonstrated from archaeological evidence that between 600 B.C. and 550 B.C., foreign imports into Sparta practically ceased. Corinthian pottery which had been common in Sparta in the early or Proto-Corinthian period is exceedingly rare after c.600 B.C. Ivory, amber, Egyptian scarabs, and Phoenician goods likewise cease before 550 B.C. and the same is true of gold and silver jewellery.(8)
There is no doubt that early in the sixth century B.C., the Spartans totally excluded the international money market, such as controlled the rest of Greece through silver and gold money, and the bankers practices relating thereto. They also excluded foreign trade as being equally destructive of the order of life they wished to preserve.
The notion created by Plutarch of that national currency of iron as being something ridiculous and requiring also an ox-cart may be dismissed as part of the steady stream of propaganda no doubt being created in Athens against everything of ancient days, particularly the customs special to Sparta. If it is true that the pelanors were of such weight as ruled out their being readily passed from hand to hand, then it may reasonably be assumed that they denoted wealth in much the same manner as the stone rings of Uap and the ancient Indus Valley civilization;(9) more in the nature of a reserve, the circulating money being the leather notes referred to by Suidas as circulating in Lacedaemon, just as the circulating money of Uap was shell strings, similar to Tekaroro of the Gilbert Islands.(10) It may equally have been a system whose origins were lost in remote ages; perhaps bearing relationship to that system existing in Europe during the 4th Millennium B.C.,(11) when it is clear that the spondylus shell had greater significance than that ascribed to it as Prestige Possession, and was part of a world wide use of shells as money.
Sparta was indeed fortunate to possess considerable reserves of iron ore, the principal deposits being at the Malean Cape and the Taenarian Promontory.(12) Thus, both for her money and for her arms, she was therefore independent, and needed no assistance from abroad. The Laws of Lycurgus excluding international money and trade, directly continued the fomentation of that warlike spirit and racial and national pride bred in the Spartans out of the trials of the long drawn out Messenian wars; and which brought them in as saviours at Thermopylae, and, indeed, of Carthage at the end of the first Punic War (255 B.C.) when the army of Regulus encamped before the city was destroyed by Xantippus the Spartan.
The very fact that the power of the kings had been undermined by the first Messenian War, although their position as absolute leaders of the people in war still existed, became a blessing in disguise. History has shown that the point to which international money power immediately gravitates when penetrating any people living in natural order, is the top, the king himself, either directly, or through the priesthood. Given his sanction and connivance in respect to their schemes, then peoples whose very souls have leaned towards the king as to the Lords anointed, are easily subdued, and their minds filled with arithmetical calculations and obsession with their animal needs, instead of that great glory of a oneness with the Deity, a oneness with the harmony of the universe, and their being lords of their own world with dominion over all other life...
One of the first steps of such money power towards total assumption of rule has been the eradication of kings and kingly power. Even though a king might be lead into connivance with the bankers schemes, through lack of understanding, he always could still awaken and discover his mistake, and realizing the sword was still in his hand, take measures to regain his prerogative. Therefore he had to be disposed of, or reduced to paid and willing servant.
In Sparta there seems to have been another obstacle to the promoters of that Phony democracy advocated by international money power, namely the Ephorate whose existence was undoubtedly linked to that national money power of Sparta as instituted, or reinstituted under the protection of Lycurgus. Of the Ephors it may be said their main objectives were: first the maintenance of home defence and limiting of Spartan dominion to Messenia and Laconia (i.e. no imperial entanglements).(13) Second, the fostering of a steady policy which lead to intervention in the struggle at Athens with the Peisistratids, and the expulsion of the family; third an unrelenting hostility to the pretensions of royal power in the state... ...The Ephorate was a profoundly democratic institution that feared and fought against tyranny both within and without the borders of Lacedaemon.(14)
Accepting the tyrant as front man of those alien agents of international money power, the trapezitae, in which category the Peisistratids certainly fell, then the meaning of the policies of the Ephorate becomes clear; with the limiting of Spartan dominion to Messenia and Laconia, was the establishment of an area from which Spartans could derive total economic freedom, sufficient to maintain themselves, and that which above all maintained their way of life and its source, their national monetary system.
The intervention at Athens and the total opposition to the Peisistratids was obvious policy in view of the unrelenting pressure of Athenian money power as a branch of International Money Power, against Sparta, city that had made mockery of the power of the counting houses of the world financial centres, and had set up example in the world which would become inspiration to others. The hostility to kingly power by the Ephorate, would be guided by what they doubtless saw was the need, if their national life was to be maintained, of making sure that kings in no way had the power to surrender themselves, and the people they represented, to the blandishments of international money power, whose opportunity, alas! has always been a weak and ill-instructed king. However the remark of Archidamos, King of Sparta at the commencement of the Great Peloponnesian war reveals, even at that day, 428 B.C. how the corruptive forces outpouring from Babylonia, with its immediate agents, had certainly reentered Sparta to some degree.
And war is not so much a matter of armaments as of the money that makes armaments effective.(15)
In his speech to his own people Archidamos also warns them of the 6000 talents war chest supposedly held by the Athenians in the Acropolis. Both of these statements show no understanding of that in which a king should above all be instructed, National Monetary Emission, and prove how right were the Ephors in the controls with which they surrounded kingship... Archidamos privately was close friend of Pericles, scion of the Alkmeonidae, whose destiny, Greek history shows, to have always been closely linked to that of international money power.
During the period when the national currency of Sparta maintained its integrity, it might be safe to say that the Spartan, in so far as it is possible for true freedom to exist, was a free man. Indeed the helots were more than likely more free by a long way than are the labouring classes of this day; and certainly more free than those classes of the semi-mass production lines of the other Greek Cities, whose monetary systems were almost all, whether fiduciary and of state issue or not, at the mercy of the bankers, and therefore the manipulators of the value of bullion and slaves, wherever it was they maintained their centre; generally assumed to be Babylonia and its outposts, Lydia, and Naucratis in the Nile Delta, and Phoenicia, and Athens, and Cyzicus and Colchis and many other cities in key positions to trade with the world beyond...
A monetary system, simple, inviting neither peddlers of luxury, panders or pornographers to make mockery of the lives of the people, issued and regulated by a benevolent state, and undoubtedly with its units paid into circulation with care and attention to the result on the national well-being and strength, bred a sturdy independent people completely contemptuous of the gold madness raging elsewhere. They were an example by which other great peoples came to profit, outstandingly the Romans. They lived with a feeling of great superiority to the Athenians, who, while having a plentiful currency, except during the periods of exhaustion of the Laureion silver mines, were exposed to all the evils of control over their political life by alien money power through the trapezitae.
History gives much information about the means whereby money was collected and raised and spent, but nothing as to those shadowy figures who institute its units in the first place, and, as in the case of the bankers democracies, inject them into the circulation.
As to when international money power reentered Sparta, there is little enough evidence. But the outlook of King Archidamos suggested it had made quite some progress by the date of the commencement of the Peloponnesian war, and it may be safely said that to win that war, out of which could come nothing but gain to international money power, Sparta had to make almost total concession. The final victory over Athens and her Empire, which ended the war, achieved the purposes of the international bullion and slave traders as surely as final defeat would so have done. As it will be remembered, the relaxation and luxury that inundated Rome after the second Punic war, as a result of the concessions that had been made to international bullion and slave traders in order to be able to re-arm after Cannae, and ultimately drive Hannibal out of Italy, and defeat him in his own territory, within 25 years dragged the Romans down(16) to a debauched money mad mob, though still mighty through the employment at arms of the defeated peoples.
Similarly, after the Peloponnesian War, like causes had done the same for Sparta, and it was but 25 years later, in 371 B.C., the Spartan Phalanx, softened to the core, crumbled into bloody ruin at Leuctra, to Epaminondas the Theban and never again recovered the élan that had made it the victor of a hundred battles, for the Spartans now, more than any, were consumed by the corrupting diseases of money madness and its attendant liberalism.
That by 360 B.C., the ancient money system that had been the factor behind the morale of the Spartan of Thermopylae was little more than a memory, is revealed by the following quotation taken from Alexander Del Mar:
The crime of Gylipus, B.C. 360 and the decree offered upon its exposure, viz. That no coin of gold or silver be admitted into Sparta, but that they should use the money that had formerly obtained, shows that as this decay of the state and weakening of credit went on, gold or silver coins, at or near their bullion value, gradually crept into circulation as money. The failure of the decree to pass is conclusive that the iron numerical system was no longer practicable.(17)
In other words, the damage to that which had been Sparta and its people done by the ruler who first of all turned a blind eye to dealings in the precious metals, the regrowth of international trade, and no doubt the holding of deposits in Athenian Banks, and who failed to deal with ferocity with those who interfered with the pelanors either by counterfeiting or speculation, was irreparable. It seemed this time the clock could not be turned back...
Thus while Sparta finally collapsed before the unremitting pressure of the Athenian, or better put, the international money market, seeming to yield its ancient strength and the sources of its independence, the Athens that carried on, as well, partly for reasons as elsewhere given, was but a shadow of itself with the approach of the exhaustion of the mines, and thence the failure of the base of its money power and the confidence essential to its maintenance... Moreover, still in the hands of the bankers as a centre of trade for trades sake, Athens was become but a name. As with Rome by the time of the Civil Wars, its original people had disappeared into that mass of freed slaves, and immigrants from elsewhere, the sojourners, who were now a large part of the Athenian population, and for whose leaders Xenophon the journalist obviously fronted when he proposed that special taxes should be lifted from foreigners who at the same time were not to be required to do military service.(18) (Here it might be remarked that it is perhaps unfortunate that should still survive the writings of a paid propagandist, so similar to the writings of some of his brethren today, when so little remains of Greek literature relative to the total output.)
Of Spartan money as reinstituted under the patronage of Lycurgus, Ernest Babelon, famous French Numismatist of the 19th Century, wrote:
A long time after the use of money had been spread throughout the Hellenic world, Sparta continued as through tradition, to make use of ingots of iron as a means of exchange. These bars were known under the description of (gâteau de pâtisserie). Each one weighed an Aeginetic Mina, and to carry only six of them, that is to say about 536 Kg., a wagon drawn by two oxen was required. This information supplied to us by Xenophon and Plutarch agrees with that from central Italy where cumbersome bars of bronze were carried in carts; 'Aes Grave plaustris quidam convehentes, said Titus Vivius. All kinds of stories circulated on the subject of the famous Pelanors of Sparta that seem to have remained in use until the Persian Wars. It was said, for instance that the iron used in the manufacture of this money was unsuitable for any other purpose and was rendered brittle by an operation consisting of heating it until red-hot, then quenching it in vinegar. In the conservative capital of Laconia it appears that these ingots of iron were the sole money in use and all citizens were forbidden under penalty of death to possess any other money... When Epaminondas died he was so poor that nothing was found in his house in the way of wealth other than an old iron . At Thebes the native land of Epaminondas where money was known and struck at an early date, found in the residence of the hero could have no more than a superstitious character.
This surprises us less especially as since the 7th century, Pheidon, King of Argos, when he struck the first silver money of Aegina, and introduced a standard system of weights and measures into the Peloponnese, withdrew the former iron spits from circulation that had served as money until then, and consecrated a certain number of samples, in Ex-voto, in the sanctuary of Hera at Argos. At the time of Aristotle they could still be seen in the Temple.(19)
Babelon, most learned scholar as he was, however reflects the complacent attitude of the bankers of the end of the last century, which was founded on the idea, such had been their luck during the previous century, that their millennium had finally come. With him, money was precious metal, and precious metal was money. Although of interest, his information, a repetition of Xenophon the journalist and Plutarch, offers not much more light. Though over two thousand years had gone by, precious metal money and its promoters still ruled, despite a dozen great kingdoms and empires having risen at its behest and having fallen at its behest Did Babelon see the shadow which lurked behind the throne, he closed his eyes and turned his head away..!
Lycurgus was without doubt inspired to reestablish this national monetary system by the clear understanding he must have come to have of the evil effects of this gold and silver madness, and its disastrous effects as a result of the operations of the trapezitae or bankers, relative to the destruction of national morale and being. Precious metal coinage was currency whose total circulation the state could in no way control because of the desirability of its material internationally. In the common money market of the silver bullion brokers it was material, which, whether minted into money by state authority or otherwise, produced a money always of value regardless of local convention. Its value was dictated by the arbitrary decision of that international fraternity who controlled its mining, and the slaves that mined it, and out of manipulation of that pyramid of abstract money they created thereon, controlled the political affairs of states...
The money that had been established in Sparta was of value to Spartans alone... Although no record exists of such matter, it may be safely assumed that the Pelanors and the leather multiples or divisibles of Suidas, entered the circulation as against state indebtedness; thus reducing taxation, that vicious destroyer of peoples, to relatively negligible amounts. Their pitted and otherwise worthless appearance deriving from their being immersed in vinegar when red hot, made them of no value for any other purpose than that for which they were intended. The use of this national money was the force that gave Sparta the leadership of Hellas until the end of the Peloponnesian War, even if decline had commenced with the execution of the great General Pausanias(20) by the Ephors in 479 B.C., and was that which necessarily dictated the policy of the extirpation of the tyrannies; the tyrant always being representative for the agent of international money creative power through precious metal control... There might be temptation to assume the pelanors were a system of Iron Greenbacks. But while they resembled the Greenbacks in this that they were the total will to be of the Spartans,(21) assuming the truth of their great weight, as pointed out above, they may have been more in the character of that monetary system of very ancient days of which the stone rings of Uap are a last remaining evincement.
A healthy wholesome people who controlled totally their state and existence would have little reason to accumulate money fortunes, and wealth as distinct from the land which was their patrimony; and as such money fortunes begin and end as little more than figures in the bankers ledger, nor could they be guided into becoming mouthpieces for the policies of the bankers... Meals were eaten in common amongst men as in Carthage of earlier days, and a genuine contempt for luxury existed. A simple life was not sought after, so much as it came of its own accord as a natural outcome of such monetary system created for their better and right living, and which preserved them from the encroachments of that liberalizing, demoralizing, and debt creating force of international trade, and its destructive effect on the esprit de corps of any particular race or people who are foolish enough to permit its proponents to have their way.
Although it was said of the early days of the Laws of Lycurgus and his monetary reforms that precious metals seized in War were deposited with the Arcadians, of later days Augustus Boeckh wrote of gold and silver in Sparta:
...Sparta during a period of several generations, swallowed up large quantities of the precious metals; as in Aesops Fables, the footsteps of the animals which went in were to be seen, but never of those which came out. The principal cause of this stagnation was that the state kept the gold and silver in store, and only reissued them for war and foreign enterprise; although there were instances of individuals who amassed treasures according to the law.(22)
Xenophon stated that Lycurgus made the privilege of citizenship equally available to all who observed what was enjoined by laws, without taking any account of weakness of body, or scantiness of means; which would mean that no Spartan suffered in respect to the mess or syssition to which he was entitled to belong, on account of economic condition. Xenophon had lived in Sparta and was writing before the loss of Messenia. Aristotle who declared failure to pay dues entailed political disenfranchisement, wrote after the loss of Messenia in 370 B.C., and the certain penetration by the bankers of the Piraeus, and the assumption of control of Spartan fiscal affairs which it may safely be said, they were already conceded by an already corrupted Sparta, ready to accept any humiliation to save itself from total ruin. The final military collapse at Leuctra rose from that weakened condition that followed the apparent victory of the Great Peloponnesian War, and those concessions that already would have been made to the international bankers, now in the Persian court, as a result of the desperate need of the Spartans for ships. The loan of 5000 talents towards the building of ships which was granted to Sparta by Persia as a result of the Treaty of Miletus, 412 B.C., would not have been granted without major concessions being exacted; most likely abrogation of those Spartan edicts forbidding the sojourn of foreign traders etc. on Spartan territory. It would not take long, once such traders had been admitted, for them to undermine the morale of that which had been Sparta, by spreading the money madness, and the promotion of luxury(23) and the creation of unnatural concern with sex, and body needs. Of this situation Polybius, as quoted by Humphrey Michell wrote the following:
As long as they aspired to rule over their neighbours or over the Peloponnesians alone, they found the supplies and resources furnished by Laconia itself, adequate as they had all they required ready to hand and quickly returned home whether by land or by sea. But once they began to undertake naval expeditions and to make military campaigns outside the Peloponnese, it was evident that neither their iron currency nor the exchange of their crops for commodities which they lacked, as permitted by the laws of Lycurgus, would suffice for their needs. These enterprises demanded a currency in universal circulation and supplies drawn from abroad, and so they were compelled to beg from the Persians, to impose tribute on the islanders, and exact taxes from all the Greeks. For they recognized that under the legislation of Lycurgus, it was impossible to aspire, I will not say to supremacy in Greece, but to any position of influence....(24)
The fact is however, Sparta, while following the Laws of Lycurgus had dominated Greece in more or less degree. As soon as she lost sight of the meaning and purpose of such laws, she became just another petty state; an agency for the subterranean control by international banking through manipulation of the silver and gold bullion basis of her currency; each man, concerned with his own need and greed, aimlessly following the pretty bubble which was the illusion of the bankers wealth... The old order, and that which had given them strength and national morale, was soon destroyed through the promotion of foreigners and the lower castes, and the helots, who merely took the name but not the meaning; also by the stirring up of women towards rejection of their subordinate place in life, and therefore instituting insidious attack on the natural order of the home, out of which is bred the natural order of life itself...
The later age of Aristotle, with its hard and realistic facts as referred to by some writers, was no more realistic than the earlier age of Xenophon. Rather it was less so. It was the age of the triumph of those international interests whose arming and instigation of the Messenian helots in an earlier age had decided Spartans to accept that structure of law as advocated by Lycurgus, which meant surrender of so much ease of living, rather than become the same as most other Greek states, an alien money manipulators paradise, with, as Theognis of Megara put it: Tradesmen reigning supreme and the bad lording it over their betters.
As the earliest finds of the clay facsimiles of precious metal coinage at Athens, seem to date around the middle of the fifth century B.C.,(25) it may be assumed that one way or the other, either through Spartans permitted to reside at Athens, or through those Spartan mercenaries who travelled the world seeking employment for their skill at arms, the lust for having, one man more than his neighbour, slowly became injected into them. Perhaps Spartan mercenaries, who always required to be paid in those international currencies of silver and gold, returning from abroad via Athens, had been inveigled into depositing their pay in such gold or silver, with the bankers of the Piraeus, with whom it might grow from interest; taking home the baked clay coins as evidence of their account, and thus evading contravention of the Spartan laws in respect to possession of gold and silver...
With the resumption of the rule of international money power in later Spartan history, one of the most outstanding instances of that sickness rotting the fibres of their racial morale, was the tale of those Homoioi who seemed to have fallen in the social scale and were no longer able to take their places in those great messes, the syssitiones, the breeding places of that esprit de corps that was Sparta. Scholars give various reasons for these disenfranchised Spartans apparently known as the hypomeiones. The reason for their coming to be is however more than clear. They are the direct result of the power to discriminate, which is the natural outcome in favour of the banker, of that actual god-power he exercises once installed as local money creator.
More than likely after the Peloponnesian War, and certainly after the battle of Leuctra in 371 B.C., the reestablished bankers, following usual policy, would have taken care that certain families, who this caste of men instinctively realized might yet create opposition to them, were dispossessed by one means or another. With that banker created money as being now the necessary qualification for membership to the syssitiones, it was a small matter to make sure that such persons whose disenfranchisement they planned, never had enough.(26) Clearly in such later day, the syssition or mess charges, being assessed in silver money whose issue the bankers controlled, those to whom such alien bankers extended no favours, and therefore ultimately dispossessed through mortgage and foreclosure, not having any longer the wherewithal to pay, no longer belonged. Further, seeing their former helots raised up to place of honour and riches by bankers created wealth, and certainly by the reign of King Cleomenes III (228-219 B.C.),(27) actually sitting in their place in the syssition, little desire to retrieve such a distinctly lost cause remained.
The Spartan, whether poor or whether rich (in land), in the days of the national currency had been the social equal of any other Spartan; however, as much as anything, the slow decay of the Spartan principle derived from a most outstanding omission in the constitution which was total lack of provision for the redistribution of wealth at certain definite intervals, and the cancellation of debt as in the Hebrew custom of the 49th year.(28)
Needless to say, even in the days of the national currency, there must have been tendency towards economic inequality resulting from such omission;(29) but the rapid increase of such economic inequality after the return of the bankers, that certainly followed the Great Peloponnesian War, additional to furthering the breakup of the caste system that previously had obtained in Sparta in some degree, and wherein each man had known his place in the order of society, also caused a further breakup in the natural order of life of Spartan man as master of home and family...
In that Spartan society wherein women had always known considerable freedom relative, say, to their Athenian sisters, the control of wealth however designated, passed substantially into the hands of women.(30) Concern for the growth of Money, no doubt, just as in this day, replaced care for their men, and concern for themselves as mothers of the race, and concern for the growth of their children.
Two fifths of the land and wealth had come into their hands, simply because lack of men left them as heiresses, and this wealth they used extravagantly, maintaining race horses which they exhibited at the Olympic games, costly equipages and fine clothes. They meddled in the affairs of state and brought undue influence upon the conduct of the government.(31)
In such society, this stratum of wealthy women have no respect for men as such, too often. While perhaps not classified as hetaerae, who all said and done, had served some useful purpose to men, they clearly lived public lives very much the same as the hetaerae.
Such women, their heads full of figures and pride, would have served most usefully those alien money powers who ever have sought to further their purposes through corrupt and malleable persons... Women, rarely corrupt in the sense that a man may be corrupt, because of their natural need to shelter behind what seems to be strength, as arrogant Money Power would appear to them, are malleable... Their own Spartan men, either dead, and if not dead, completely confused with the new liberalization programme of the returned bankers, were virtually enslaved; therefore they turned for the protection they needed to what seemed to be the new strength, pudgy and gross though it may have been...
1. Humphrey Michell, M A: Sparta, P. 27; (Cambridge University Press; 1952.)
2. Further than the findings of archaeology, the deductions of some of the classical scholars also attribute the so-called reforms of Lycurgus to the sixth century B.C., being therein the so-called Eunomia, c 610 B.C.; clearly, therefore, either inspiring the events at Athens brought about by Solon, or being inspired thereby. According to the writer on this subject in the Encyclopedia of World History. (P. 50) ... By the so-called Eunomia, the Spartans, fearing further revolts (of the Messenians) completely reorganized the State to make it more severely military. Youths from the age of 7 were taken for continual military training. Men of military age lived in barracks and ate at common messes (syssitia, phiditia). Five local tribes replaced the three Dorian hereditary ones and the army was correspondingly divided, creating the Dorian Phalanx. In the tribes were enrolled as citizens many non-citizens. The gerousia, comprising 28 elders and the two kings, had the initiative in legislation though the apella of all citizens had the final decision. The chief magistrates, ephors were increased to five, with wider powers especially after the ephorate of Cheilon (556 B.C.). Later ages attributed the reforms (the financial sector of which is ignored by this writer) to the hero Lycurgus in the ninth century, perhaps because the new laws were put under his protection...
3. Plutarch: Lycurgus (The Lives: Dryden Translation).
4. Humphrey Michell, M.A: Sparta; P. 12.
5. Ibid. P. 23.
6. Humphrey Michell, M.A.: Sparta, P. 23.
7. P.N. Ure, M.A.: The Origins of Tyranny, P. 8.
8. Humphrey Michell: Sparta, P. 27.
9. Paul Einzig: Primitive Money, pp. 36-40; also see E.J.C. McKay in Further Excavations at Mohanjo-Daro, P. 582.
10. Kingston-Higgins: A Survey of Primitive Money, P. 140. London; 1949.
11. Colin Renfrew: The Emergence of Civilization; pp. 483-544; London; 1972.
12. Paul Einzig: Primitive Money, P. 224; London; 1949.
13. Bracketed comment by present author.
14. Humphrey Michell, M.A.: Sparta, P. 30.
15. Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War, Book I, Ch. 6.
16. Sallust who lived from 86 B.C. to 35 B.C. drew the following picture of the state of society at that time: When freed from the fear of Carthage, the Romans had leisure to give themselves up to their dissensions, then there sprang up on all sides troubles, seditions, and at last civil wars. A small number of powerful men, whose favour most of the citizens sought by base means, exercised a veritable despotism under the imposing name, sometimes of the Senate, at other times of the ' People. The title of good or bad citizen was no longer the reward of what he did for or against his country for all were equally corrupt; but the more anyone was rich, and in condition to do evil with impunity, provided he supported the present order of things, the more he passed for a man of worth. From this moment the ancient manners no longer became corrupted gradually as before; but the depravation spread with the rapidity of a torrent and youth was to such a degree infected by the poison of luxury and avarice, that there came a generation of people of which it was just to say, that they could neither have patrimony nor suffer others to have it. Sallust: Fragm. I.12-13.
17. A. del Mar: A History of Money in Antiquity, P. 165.
18. Xenophon: A Discourse upon improving the Revenues of the State of Athens, pp. 311-13; (Trans. Charles Davenant, London, 1771).
19. " Longtemps après que lusage de la monnaie eut été partout répandu dans le monde Hellénique, Sparte continuait par tradition, a se servir de lingots de fer comme intermédiaires des échange. Ces lingots était connu sous le nom de (gâteau de Pâtisserie). Ils pesaient chacun une mine éginétique et pour en transporter six seulement, cest a dire environs 4536 Kg il fallait un chariot attelé de deux boeufs. Ce renseignement qui nous fournissent Xenophon et Plutarch, est conforme a ce qui se passait dans lItalie centrale où les encombrantes lingots de bronze étaient transporté sur des chariots: aes grave plaustris quidam convehentes dit Titus Vivius. Il circulait toutes sortes de fables au sujet du fameux Pelanor de Sparte, qui parait être rester en usage jusqua lépoque des guerres médiques: on disait par exemple que le fer destiné a fabriquer cette monnaie était impropre à tout autre usage et rendu cassant par une opération qui consistait à la faire rougir au feu et a la tremper ensuite de fer était, parait-il exclusif, et défense sous peine de morte, fur faite à tout citoyen de posséder une autre monnaie.
....Quand Epaminondas mourut il était si pauvre quon ne trouva dans sa maison, pour toute fortune, quun vieil en fer. A Thèbes, la patrie dEpaminondas ou la monnaie fut connu et frappée de bonne heure, trouve dans la demeure du héros ne pouvait avoir quun caractère superstitieux. Ceci nous surprendra dautant moins que dès le septième siècle, Phidon, roi dArgos, lorsquil fit frappés un système régulier de poids et mesures, retira de la circulation les vieilles broches de fer qui auraient servit de monnaie jusquà là, et en consacra un certain nombres dexemplaires en ex-voto dans la sanctuaire de Héra à Argos En temps de Aristotle on voyait encore dans le Temple... (Ernest Babelon: Les Origines de la Monnaie. P. 79; Paris; 1897.)
20. Pausanias was the commander of the fleet of the Greek allies. After his success against the Persians on land at Plataea, in the same year, 479 B.C., he reduced both Cyprus and Byzantium. According to the record, he was executed by the Ephors by being starved to death in the temple of Athena of the Brazen House, having been found guilty of (kingly) domineering which was supposed to have alienated Ionia. The real reason of his disgrace and execution would have been buried amongst the secrets of National or International money power. He had most likely entered into secret dealings with the latter. (Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War; Book I; Ch. 10.)
21. According to A. del Mar, the iron currency of the pelanors was strictly a numerical system; confined to Sparta, it was a national system having no relationship to International Standards or ratios with other metals; thus being identical in character to the Greenback paper money issued by President Abraham Lincoln, during the American Civil War, and by which means the schemes of the international bullion braking fraternity were temporarily frustrated.
22. Augustus Boeckh: The Public Economy of Athens, P. 43, Vol. I.
23. Aristotle: The Politics, Book II, Ch. 9.
24. Polybius VI. 49. (Humphrey Michell: Sparta, P. 305.) François Lenormant: La Monnaie dans LAntiquité, P. 215-216; Book II, Tome I.
25. François Lenormant: La Monnaie dans LAntiquité, P. 215-216; Book II, Tome I.
26. By corollary, those prepared to promote the bankers policies, however subversive or destructive, would be amply provided for... Of this period Professor A.H.M. Jones (Sparta, P. 39; Oxford; 1967) makes comment: After Aegospotami there was such an influx of gold and silver that the conservatives tried to revive the Lycurgan ban, and it was decided that the treasury might hold gold and silver but not individuals. Nevertheless part of the Spartiates mess contribution was in Aeginetan Obols (Italics present authors.)
27. Humphrey Michell, M.A.: Sparta, P. 78.
28. Leviticus; Ch. 25: (King James Version).
29. Aristotle: The Politics, Book II, Ch. 9.
31. Humphrey Michell: Sparta, P. 50.