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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
I. THE LANDS OF THE WEST AND THE RISE OF GREECE TO ABOUT 500 B.C.
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THE GROWTH OF SPARTA (TO 500 B.C.)
SPARTA AND THE PELOPONNESIAN LEAGUE
The Greek invaders who entered southern Greece, or the Peloponnesus,  were known as Dorians. They founded the city of Sparta, in the district of Laconia. By the close of the sixth century B.C. the Spartans were able to conquer their immediate neighbors and to organize some of the city-states of the Peloponnesus into a strong confederacy called the Peloponnesian League. The members of the league did not pay tribute, but they furnished troops to serve in war under Spartan leaders, and they looked to Sparta for guidance and protection. Thus this single city became the foremost power in southern Greece.
 "Pelops's island," a name derived from a legendary hero who settled in southern Greece.
SPARTA A MILITARY CAMP
It is clear that the Spartans must have been an extremely vigorous and warlike people. Their city, in fact, formed a military camp, garrisoned by soldiers whose whole life was passed in war and in preparation for war. The Spartans were able to devote themselves to martial pursuits because they possessed a large number of serfs, called helots. The helots tilled the lands of the Spartans and gave up to their masters the entire product of their labor, except what was necessary for a bare subsistence.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy