Sparta Museum
A new Sparta Museum is expected to open soon on the University of Connecticut at Storrs campus. Credit: Facebook / Ilias Katsos

The University of Connecticut will soon open a new Sparta Museum on its campus that will be entirely dedicated to the ancient Greek city-state.

News that the university is building a museum in the ancient Greek city-state came to the public after a meeting held two years ago between Ilias Tomazos, head of the university’s Greek studies department, and the Greek Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni.

Tomazos is also the head of the Paideia Center for Hellenic Studies in Connecticut.

Spartan Storrs Museum
The theater of the new U Conn museum complex. Credit: Facebook / Illias Katsos

The new Spartan Museum will focus its interest on artefacts and events dating from the prehistoric era of the wider Laconia region to the Byzantine era.

The museum is located in the campus area where there is already an Orthodox Christian chapel and a Greek theater, as well as a library and an educational center.
The beautiful, classic-style all-marble theater, recently completed, can accommodate over 700 spectators.

The nearby Byzantine Chapel of the Three Hierarchs was opened in 1995. The Greek Orthodox Church is open during the school year and during the summer holidays.

The Macedonian Educational Building, also located in the same area of ​​the Storrs campus, was opened in 1997. It includes several classrooms, several offices, student meeting rooms, a community hall, a library and a classroom. ‘exposure.

Ilias Katsos, a prominent member of the Greek Diaspora in New York City, has donated funds for four of his marble metopes which are currently being installed. Volunteers like him, along with Christo Bakes and Nikos Skroubelos, whose families hail from the Epanou Riza region in northern Laconia, have also helped make the sparkling new museum and its facilities a reality.

Greek amphitheater museum
A new Greek amphitheater is part of the new museum complex at the University of Connecticut. Photo: Facebook / Ilias Katsos

In addition, a new statue of the Spartan leader Leonidas, as well as a sculpture depicting the Battle of Thermopylae, will be placed there in the future.

The majority of the expenses for the construction of this project were covered by donations.

The Greek Ministry of Culture, which has declared its intention to help with the Sparta project, has also pledged to donate materials that were used in its creation. Mendoni said the Culture Ministry will support the initiative by providing copies of sculptures, photographic material and digital media.

The Tomazos of the Paideia Center also informed Mendoni of the cultural programs that will be offered at UConn and invited the Minister to the opening of the open-air theater “Alexander the Great” in October.

Life in Sparta harsh, ruthless, under full state control

The Spartans were warriors, disciplined and strong, and always ready to die for their homeland. Hence the word “Spartan”, which we use today, meaning someone who leads an austere life, indifferent to pleasures and luxury.

Life in Sparta was a life of simplicity and self-sacrifice. The children were more children of the state than of their parents. They were raised to be soldiers, loyal to the state, strong and self-disciplined.

When a Spartan baby was born, soldiers came to the house and carefully examined it to determine its strength. They bathed the baby in wine instead of water, to see his reaction.

If a baby was weak, the Spartans would throw it off a cliff (the Kaiadas) or kidnap it to become a slave (helot).

The city-state – not the parents – decided the fate of the children, and the nurses, who provided their primary care, did not pamper the babies at all.

A mother’s softening influence was seen as detrimental to the education of boys, so a Spartan boy would be taken from his mother at the age of seven and soldiers would put him in a dormitory with other boys to train them to become soldiers.

The boys underwent rigorous physical training and deprivation to make them strong. They walked without shoes and went without food.

The boys of Sparta learned the art of combat, to endure pain and survive thanks to their intelligence. The older boys willingly participated in beating the younger boys to make them tough.

Once they turned 20, young Spartan men had to pass a rigorous test to graduate and become full citizens, as only worthy soldiers were granted aristocratic citizenship.

If they failed their tests, they never became citizens but became period, the middle class.

If the young men were successful, they continued to live in the barracks and train as soldiers and also had to get married – in order to produce new young Spartans.

The state gave them land that was cultivated by slaves. The income supported them as full time soldiers.

At 30, they were allowed to live with their families but continued to train until the age of 60, when they retired from military service.