Eugenic Ideology in the Hellenistic Spartan Reforms 1 (Englisch)

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Keywords: Sparta - Agis IV - Kleomenes III - Eugenic Ideology - Hellenistic World - Spartan Tradition (ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.) 1.Introduction In the Hellenistic period (323-30 BC), two reformers attempted to increase Sparta's population and hence its state power by replenishing the citizen body and reorganizing important aspects of its economy. A full share in Spartiate rights and privileges would have included years of military training and cultural education in the high-status educational and socialization system known to Xenophon as the Spartan paideia and to Hellenistic Spartiates as the agoge, and probably grants of land allotments known as kleroi worked by dependent labor.3 Primarily due to this shortage of citizen soldiers, after 371 BC Sparta's power lessened considerably, and Sparta did little to challenge the rise of Macedonian power. [...]their responses were hampered by the tenacity and path dependency of Spartiate cultural forms, which included a strong eugenic ideology.4 Other modern ideological analyses of Sparta's Hellenistic reformers have tended to emphasize Stoic, Cynic, and Platonic influences upon Agis and Kleomenes' work.5 This article instead focuses upon the older, traditional Spartan eugenic ideology within their reforms, a mindset that lived on even when much of its functionality had passed away. 2.The Nature of Spartan Eugenics The term "eugenics" was coined from the Greek "good birth" or "good breeding" by Sir Francis Galton (1820-1911), who spoke of general hereditary human improvements in intelligence, health, and character, and did not advocate coercion in its pursuit, nor racism. Concerns about human...

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