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The Helots were a subjugated people who made up the majority of the Lakonian population in antiquity. They also formed a part of the Messenian population during the Peloponnesian War.

Status

Called "enslaved peasants" by Myrrine, forced to work the fields and mines, the helots were mostly content with the way things were. If they weren't, the Spartan special forces the krypteia were ordered to keep the peace, according to Myrrine.[1]

However, some among the Spartan soldiers were supplying weapons to the helots, encouraging them to fight against the Spartan rule. When Myrrine and her daughter, the misthios Kassandra returned to Sparta around 429 BCE to find their home claimed by the government, Brasidas suggested that dealing with the traitorous soldiers would earn king Archidamos' thanks.[1]

Following the death of Lagos, the archon of Arkadia, King Archidamos cursed Kassandra and her mother Myrrine, saying "May the krypteia hunt you, and the helots scrape the meat off your bones," as Kassandra accused one of the kings of being a member of the Cult of Kosmos and a traitor to Sparta.[2]

In the 420s BCE, helots were the common workforce in Aipeia, Messenia. Under the control of the Order of Dominion branch of the Order of the Ancients, the helots were forced their fingers to the bone making weapons for the Order. Among the helots of Aipeia, Rhode resisted the cruel rule enforced by the commander Harpagos. Trying to save her own son and the other helot children, Rhode stole food whenever she could, and managed to arrange a deal with a local fisher to ship the children out of Messenia.[3]

Influence

A whole region in Lakonia was named after them the Helot Hills, and the villages of Akriai and Krokeai were inhabited by helots and perioikoi.[4]

Appearances

References

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