This is Sparta! Or is it?




WORDS | Claire Catacouzinos

A historical war that many of you fellow students do not know about is between the Spartans and the Parthenians. Now you all know about the 300 Spartans that died at Thermopylae. Who could forget that victorious chant from King Leonidas in the 300 film, “This is Sparta!” But I’m going to enlighten you all about a historical clash between the Spartans and the Parthenians – children born from slave women and Spartan fathers.

Now this story happened way before King Leonidas and his army fought the Persians with their six packs. I’m talking about the late 8th century BCE. The Parthenians grew up being under privileged, and at one point, they revolted against the Spartan government during a festival because the system claimed that the they were not true Spartans – and you all know that reputation is a big thing back in those days. They had no citizenship, and, they were denied the right to marry! Now the story goes that after the bloody rebelling, the Parthenians were either nullified from Sparta, or ordered to colonise their own land in Italy, which they did at Taras, now known as Toronto.

My point is that there are so many untold stories in the modern world about other social classes. Like underprivileged and illiterate people. What about their voices? Do we have to become famous for our stories and names to be remembered? Thank God we now have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr that have broadened our horizon for people to know who we are. Could you imagine if there was social media before the twenty-first century? We could have had any social-classes’ thoughts! Imagine all the profile status updates and photos when the Titanic was going down in 1912? If only everyone was literate and technology was around though…

Always try to remember what history has offered us: stories upon stories, societies, and, our ancestors.

Note: If anyone is interested in the Parthenians and their story, you can check out Claire’s short story: Taras’ Parthenians on Macquarie’s e-journal from the English Department, The Quarry.