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Ancient Sparta - Center of Religious Life

Ancient Sparta - Center of Religious Life Archeological Wonders Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Geography History Social Studies World History

Although Athena was patron goddess of Sparta, the people worshipped the goddess Artemis Orthia.  (Orthios means "standing, erect or upright.")  Sparta's Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia was the city-state's main religious gathering place. Some gruesome events took place there.

Spartan boys, who'd already endured a very difficult education, went through a coming-of-age ritual at the now-in-ruins sanctuary.  Standing on the temple's steps, they were flogged until their flesh was torn and bleeding.  Pausanias, the historian, tells us that the goddess was not satisfied until her altar was blood-soaked.

Rituals, like this, prepared the Spartan men to endure much when they were warriors.


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

 

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