The Glory That Was Greece

population of Laconia, and a Gerousia, or Senate, of thirty elders. But Sparta, though ranked as an oligarchy by the general opinion of Greece, was not, as Aristotle saw, a true or typical oligarchy. In the first place, the ruling council of regular oligarchies generally consisted of a close corporation co-opting its members, while the Spartan gerontes were elected by the whole body of the full citizens. In the second place, Sparta had developed an executive magistracy, which had far more real share in the direction of the state than either the Senate or the Assembly. This perhaps was the secret of their efficient and stable government, for most Greek states had such a dread of personal ascendancy that they sacrificed unity and efficiency of administration by placing their executive magistracies in a position wholly subordinate. It was not so at Sparta. There they had retained a kingship from the early times of the Dorian invasion right through their history, as no other really Greek

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