- "On Holy Terra there lies a deep valley that was once a sea strait and on a terrace of the heights above there stands an ancient stone. And on that stone in a long dead tongue are these words; 'Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, That here, obedient to Spartan law, we lie.'"
- —Euclea Leonides-Gorgias, Headmistress of the Lerna Agoge
The Spartiate Polities
The warlike Laconian colonists swiftly conquered the Danaan, the original inhabitants of the Great Peninsula. They were a primitive pre-Urban people with a bronze age level of technology and a palace economy involving the feudal domination of mini 'kingdoms' by a royal elite and their warbands. The Laconians easily eliminated both kings and warriors even using the same bronze melee weapons as their opponents to make it a genuine contest. By and large the subject population welcomed the change as the Spartiate realm expanded across the Great Peninsula over the course of several centuries. Under Grand Marshal Hadrios the Spartiates expanded their domain onto the mainland peninsula that now bears his name.
The new Laconian inhabitants renamed the planet 'Sparta' in honor of the chief city of their homeworld and themselves 'Spartiates'. They are physically magnificent specimens, the men averaging two meters in height and the women not much shorter, this particular branch of humanity having practically no sexual dimorphism. Spartiates are proportionately stronger than more normally sized humans with an unusually sturdy immune system rendering them highly resistant to most diseases and able to heal quickly from injuries other humans wouldn't survive at all. They tend to have black or brown hair, usually combined with light colored eyes and olive complexions, with a scattering of fair skinned blonds and even rarer redheads.
The Spartiates constituted themselves a military-governing caste over the Danaans or Danaoi general population. However they differed from the former native rulers in making relatively modest pecuniary demands on their subjects which did wonders for their popularity. The Danaoi have no say in the government of the realm - but then they didn't under their native rulers either. On the other hand they are free to engage in any trade they please, to own property and buy and sell at will, to move freely between the cities and even travel to areas not under Spartiate rule for purposes of trade or mere curiousity. The Danaoi are treated by the Spatriates as necessary logistical support and permitted to govern their communities in Spartiate Poleis and their own cities according to their ancient customs.
As for the Spartiates themselves each Polis - city - is divided into between five and ten 'townships' of three to five thousand Spartiates. These townships are identical with a Spartiate regiment and governed by the Colonel of same and by the Colonel's Lady who is his wife or mother. They are assisted in their duties by an 'Ephor' or administrative officer elected for a term of one year by the Soldiers' Assembly which consists of all Spartiate men over the age of thirty and all Spartiate Matrons regardless of age. This assembly meets bi-monthly in the city amphitheater, chaired by the Ephors, to discuss issues and legislation. Balancing the Assembly is a smaller and more select body, the Senate, made up of men past the age of active duty and elder matrons elected for life by the Assembly and headed by the General and his Lady. Legislation can originate in either body but must be approved by the other to become law.
The conquering Spartiates appropriated the lands and serfs of the former ruling class. These were reorganized into tenant farms of between five and ten hectares - depending on quality of the soil - with hunting and pasturage rights on undeveloped state land. Each tenant household pays a set rent in kind; foodstuffs, wool, etc. which was a great improvement over the former rate of half their produce which never allowed them to make a profit. As long as somebody remains to work the land members of tenant families are able to purchase freeholds, learn a craft and even move to town at will.
So many tenant households are assigned to the support of each individual Spartiate at birth and again when they pass into active military service and when a matron sets up her house, with additional assignments upon promotions or election to public service. Other households are assigned to the support of specific military formations, the Agoge, and so forth. These supplies are managed by committees of Spartiate Matrons headed by the commanding officer's lady. Those foodstuffs, bales of wool, etc. not needed for immediate use are sold and the money used for other military needs beyond the power of the tenants to supply. A secondary, and very lucrative, source of personal income comes from Danaoi land owners who commend their estates to the 'protection' of a Spartiate Matron, as a way of avoiding taxation by their own authorities. The 'protector' receives a percentage of the crop and/or certain dues and services from the workers on the estate. Protectorship rights are hereditary, usually passed from mother to daughter but sometimes to daughters-in-law, sisters, more distant kin or unrelated friends but always from matron to matron, soldiers, which includes all men and some women, are not to concern themselves with anything but war.
The Danaoi had a Bronze age level of technological development which the Spartiates have upped to Iron age but otherwise not interfered with. They deliberately maintain a low tech level as it is more demanding physically and has the added benefit of minimizing contact with the Adeptus Mechanicus whose physical augmentations are abhorrent to the Spartiate ideal of Human Perfection. They did however introduce the use of money, in the form of iron counters, revolutionizing the Danaoi's subsistence culture and allowing the development of more sophisticated financial practices.
The Spartiate theological position that the Emperor was originally a man who ascended to godhood through his physical perfection and warlike virtues has been ruled an acceptable variation of the Imperial Creed. They also have a special veneration for Gulliman who they consider His only 'true son' and the perfect warrior. St. Mila, patroness of the Order of the Chalcedony Spear, is also revered. She is styled the Emperor's Daughter, as Gulliman is his son, and is regarded as the special protectress of the Agoge and of Spartiate women.
The Danaoi are, of course, followers of the Imperial Creed, however their daily devotions and civic holy days honor local saints who are generally mythical heroes and euphemized pagan deities. An exception to this rule is the Mysterium Imperialis established in the 3rd c. M.36 by St. Eleutherius.
Childhood and Education
The Law embraces the new Spartiate even before he or she is born. Living close to a Chaos anomaly as they do the Spartiate authorities are forever on the watch for mutation. Pregnancies are carefully monitored by medicae. A malformed fetus is immediately aborted. The remains, like full term apparently normal infants, are gene-scanned by a Spartiate Marine Apothecary. If a genetic abnormality is found in a live infant it is immediately euthanized. The parents are then scanned to see if the flaw was passed down. If mutation is discovered - usually in the more exposed male parent rather than the female - The Spartiate is allowed an honorable death by his or her own hand which is often voluntarily shared by his or her partner. If all goes well however the infant is registered, enrolled in the appropriate regiment and carried home by his proud mother. </span>
The first seven years of a Spartiate's life are the only carefree period he or she will ever enjoy. Small children are indulged and allowed to run wild as this lack of restraint is bellieved to lay the ground work for intelligence and initiative. A Spartiate is a soldier and from birth and his or her education is aimed at that one result.
At age seven the young Spartiate is enrolled in the famous Agoge the all encompassing program of education that is to make him or her a matchless soldier. The discipline of the Law clamps down gradually - the reason for each new rule and limitation being carefully explained. The children are expected to try and circumvent regulations, which is just fine with their instructors - as long as they don't get caught. Punishments are such that the children quickly learn to be careful if not good. The young Spartiate continues to live at home but Mother and Father constitute themselves further trainers continuing to enforce the new discipline.
At age twelve the Spartiate becomes a boarding student of the Agoge and goes to live in the youth barracks. Now the discipline becomes quite severe with strict and austere rules and draconic punishments if caught in an infraction. But the young Spartiate has become quite adept and 'not getting caught'. Hazing is allowed, even encouraged, but carefully monitored and youthful cruelty reined in if it seems likely to result in permanent injury. Girls and boys are enrolled in separate companies and allowed to associate only at certain public festivals. The Training Officers don't expect this rule to be followed either and so both sets of youngsters are fed contraceptives to prevent 'accidents'. Deaths from other kinds of accidents from intercompany melees and survival training are not uncommon. The victims are honored by burial with full military rites.
In addition to physical training and hardening Agoge students are educated in history and literature, instrumental and vocal music and dance, geometry, surveying and map-making, and drawing. They are also trained to express themselves with brevity, force and often irony. And above all never to get caught.
At age eighteen the young Spartiate graduates from the Agoge and enters his or her regiment's recruit company. It is at this stage that they are introduced to Imperial techology and weapons under the guidance of Spartiate Marine trainers. They also get their first taste of real war, most often in an expedition mounted against the Feral tribes of the North but sometimes against the more advanced Feudal states of the eastern hemisphere.
At twenty-one the Spartiate, now the complete soldier, passes from the training companies into a standard regimental company. Hazing is expected as is retribution in the form of pranks by the new soldiers. Once again the main thing is not to get caught. Spartiate soldiers must also be careful not to get caught fraternizing with the opposite sex, but in fact a good deal of courting goes on.
The Spartiate Soldier
The Spartiate soldier is on active duty from the day he joins his regiment to his sixtieth year. He is required to live in barracks until his thirtieth year, after which married men are permitted to sleep in their wives' house. Between the ages of sixty and eighty he is held in reserve and subject to recall. Men past the age of eighty are free of official military duties but active in government and various committees and advisory bodies closely related to military administration.
Spartiate Planetary Wars
A Spartiate's first military service will be against the Feral tribes of Sparta's Northern steppes or the feudal empires of the eastern hemisphere. These campaigns are undertaken primarily as training exercises for the young soldiers though the Feral tribesmen are a genuine threat to the Hadrian cities and the Easterners occasionally get above themselves. These local wars are deliberately low tech. Spartiates serve as heavy infantry in bronze plated carapace armor armed with spear, short sword and defensive shield. Danaoi soldiers serve in support as light infantry and rough riders, and their sea merchants as naval support and transport.
Spartiate Space Wars
Spartiate regiments are accounted Spartiate Marine vassals rather than Imperial Guard troops. They frequently serve alongside Sisters of the Chalcedony Spear in support of Marine campaigns. They stil serve as heavy infantry in powered armor of a unique design based on their traditional panoply. The traditional arms of Spartiate Armored Infantryman are also powered; a spear functioning on much the same principle as a power maul coupled with a combat shield emitting a limited conversion field. The Spartiate Armored Infantry is generally supported by Thespian artillery and tank regiments and Helotian light infantry and rough riders.
Being so closely tied to their hometowns for support and logistics Spartiate Regiments are rarely seen outside of the Thermopylae sub-Sector. However smaller formations are often requested by Occident Prime planets as training cadres for their own militaries and individual commanders have been sent out to take charge of wars in surrounding sectors.
The Spartiate Matron
The educational experience of boys and girls is identical as is the military training of young men and women. Their lives only begin to diverge after both sexes have begun their service. As stated above 'fraternization' is strictly against regulations which are mostly honored in the breech. It is at this stage that the young soldiers begin to pair off.
Proposals of marriage come from the lady passed through one or more intermediaries. If accepted her next step is to submit her resignation - an option not open to young men. After it is accepted she sets the date for the marriage and the intermediaries (the engaged couple avoiding all contact to better keep their secret) have a great deal of work to do in making the arrangments. On the selected day the bride leaves her barracks forever betaking herself to the spot chosen for the marriage, usually an abandoned hut or shed or hand made bower in the countryside surrounding the city. She removes her uniform, resuming the brief chiton worn by young Spartiates, and the friend who has been acting as her intermediary cuts off her long hair. The groom generally arrives an hour or so later, escorted by his intermediary, and nature takes it's course.
Such is the marriage 'ceremony'. Afterwards the bride returns to her mother's house where she remains until her new husband's secret visits result in a pregnancy. In the meantime she is instructed by her mother in duties of a Spartiate matron which are both tedious and vitally important for the matrons are in complete control of the economic side of Spartiate life, not just of their families and the cities they handle the logistics for the regiments as well. Which is why good Spartiate soldiers see nothing at all strange or unmanly about having Mom along on campaign as a supply officer.
The birth of her first child completes the young Spartiate woman's transition from soldier to matron. She moves into her own house and her marriage is openly acknowledge allowing her husband to visit freely and eventually take up residence with her. A Spartiate matron enjoys many privileges and considerable prestige; she is addressed as 'lady', has a seat in the assembly and is eligible for elective office even if she's a full decade under thirty, the usual age requirement. She recieves deference from Colonels and Generals and her authority over her family is unquestioned. All this is necessary to persuade Spartiate women to abandon the national profession of arms for procreation and business management.
Fortunately the role of matron is sufficiently appealing to attract the majority of young Spartiate women. While the sexes enter the military in equal numbers by age thirty women constitute less than fifteen percent of the Nation in Arms. Matrons find the excitement and challenge they require in entrepreneurship, using the income from their protector rights in Danaoi land to invest in trading voyages or the development of resources. For them these ventures are in the nature of a game and the resulting profits just a way of keeping score. Said profits are either immediately reinvested or deposited in the regimental war chest as Spartiates have little use for excess money.
The Spartiates favor a 'simple' almost primitive way of life which they believe cultivates physical health and strength and leaves the mind free of mundane concerns. They adhere to an austere aesthetic in their material culture; natural materials with a minimum of applied ornament but fine proportions and perfect workmanship. Men beyond the age of active service and some matrons amuse themselves by running workshops of skilled Danaoi artisans crafting furniture, ceramics and cloth in accordance with traditional Spartiate designs.
The Spartiate House
The standard house is built of adobe brick covered inside and out with stucco and roofed with terra-cotta tiles. The residential sections of a Spartiate township are made up of blocks of houses, generally four across and two deep, surrounded by streets and alleys.
The street front features a row of one story buildings meant to be used as storehouses by the households inhabiting the block but sometimes used as workshops. Standardized soldiers' married quarters consist of two separate units facing each other across a sanded courtyard about ten meters square. The low, north facing block contains the kitchen and bathroom. The main house faces south with a deep, pillared portico leading to the 'hearth room' the main living apartment of the family. A steep and ladder-like stair leads up to master bedroom above which opens onto an upper gallery above the portico. The front downstairs side room opens off the portico and serves as dining room. The back side room can be a store-room, a bedroom, or whatever else the residents need. The upper side rooms are generally used as bedrooms for the children and their flat roof as additional living space decorated with potted plants and shaded with awnings.
Officer's quarters are rather larger. The hearth room becomes the kitchen with a separate sitting room for family and sometimes a library as well as more store and bedrooms.
Furnishings are minimal; in the hearth room a few chairs, more stools, a small table or two and a large dresser for storage. More small tables in the dining room and several couches for the Spartiates eat reclining. In the bedrooms nothing but a bed, a stool and a chest. There will also be a work-desk for the mistress, often on the upper portico, and beside the hearth a domestic altar with a triptych of The Emperor, St. Gulliman and St. Mila; an incense burner and a libation jar.
The Spartiate costume consists of one or two pieces of oblong light wool cloth draped around themselves and held in place with straps and belts, knotted corners or occasionally a brooch. He or she owns a minimum of three outfits, two the dun color of natural wool for everyday and one of bleached wool for best, but since the same piece of cloth can be draped many different ways it seems like more.
Small children, as a rule, wear nothing at all, and school children nothing but a brief kilt. After puberty young people wear a chiton consisting of a few square yards of cloth often draped to cover only one shoulder and open down the side.
Military uniform consists of a brief red tunic worn under a white tunic with a red chlamys or cloak over all, fastened on the shoulder by a brooch embossed with the regimental sigil. Bronze helmet and greaves are also worn. Red is the color of authority; senators and ephors wear red borders on their best robes as do junior officer's wives. A colonel or general's lady wears an all red robe on formal occassions
The matron's robe is much more voluminous than the simple chiton, worn wound several times around the body with the excess cloth draped over the arm. Men over thirty are allowed to wear civil dress instead of uniform at all times. This too consists of a volume of wool cloth losely draped around the person and fastened at the shoulder with their military brooch.
Every adult Spartiate wears an iron ring on their right forefinger presented at their graduation from the Agoge. As mentioned above Spartiate soldiers also wear large square bronze brooch embossed with their regimental crest. Spartiate matrons are distinguished by their copper marriage band, worn on the third finger of the left hand, and three or four bronze ornaments, armlets, necklaces and earings, presents from their closest kin upon the birth of their first child. Colonel's and General's ladies are distinguished by ornate girdles of bronze links.
Children's hair is clipped short until puberty after which the back hair is allowed to grow long. Spartiate soldiers braid their long hair and sometimes wind around the head or twist it into a knot at the nape. Spartiate matrons cut off their hair when they marry then let it grow out. It usually hangs at least to the waist and is worn down or up as the lady pleases.
Spartiates and the Danaoi
The majority of Danaoi live in their own self governed cities according to their own laws and traditions and have little contact with the Spartiates though Spartiate festivals invariably see a large number of Danaoi tourists among the onlookers.
However each Spartiate polis includes a Danaoi quarter populated by merchants, bankers and venture capitalists trading with the Spartiate Matrons and supported by the usual artisans and shopkeepers. The Spartiate's Danaoi peasant vassals take considerable pride in the connection not least because they are visibly better off than peasants serving Danaoi landowners. And a significant number of Danaoi are sufficiently fascinated by the ordered Spartiate life-style to wish to become a part of it - however humble.
Depending on their education and skills such Danaoi serve as clerks and managers under the direction of Spartiate Matrons, as craftsmen and women in Spartiate workshops and as servants in Spartiate homes. While Spartiates do not want waiting on they also do not care to spend their time on domestic drudgery. Servants invariably live out arriving for work early each morning. The cook generally stays till after dinner but the cleaners have finished their daily duties well before the family returns at mid-day. Other Danaoi are attached to the Regiments as soldier servants and auxillaries. These normally live in barracks and have their own periods of drill and physical training.
- "A soldier has but two arms with which to fight for the Emperor. A mother has many to give."
- —Saying of Spartiate Matrons
- "All men are born to die. Let my child die well and I will not grieve for the inevitable."
- —Saying of Spartiate Matrons
- "So we may get close to the Emperor's enemies"
- —Spartiate Guardsman explaining the preference for melee weapons.
- "We are enough to die."
- —Spartiate Captain in reply to a jeer on the size of his company.
- "I just adore these theme planets. I hope the next system has a cowboy world."