By Richard Owen
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Additional info for A History of British Fossil Mammals and Birds
In time of war, helots were used to row the long galleys or as low-ranking soldiers in the field. They had no civil rights, but in contrast to slaves, helots could not be owned by individual Spartans. Best described as “slaves of the state,” the helots belonged to particular plots of land and could not be bought and sold individually. When land was allocated to a Spartan citizen, it came complete with helots, and he was not allowed to sell or release them. The state determined the percentage of the harvest that the helots had to hand over to their masters.
Fragments of pottery found at this level indicate that the city dates from the mid-13th century BCE. There is also evidence that Troy VIIa was put to the torch. The next city, Troy VIIb, also seems to have been destroyed by fire. Historians believe this destruction happened around 1050 BCE. The fall of Troy After the destruction of Troy VIIb, the city seems to have been abandoned for several centuries, but at the start of the seventh century BCE, the site was reoccupied by Greeks and became known as Ilium.
Although they were essential for the agricultural economy, helots were by no means always well treated. Spartan citizens were vastly outnumbered by helots and lived in constant fear of an uprising. Consequently, the Spartans attempted to keep the helots firmly under control by systematic humiliation and intimidation. This treatment included the krypteia—a kind of secret police in which young Spartans were enrolled to hunt and kill helots in the wilderness. ” However, it is probable that only a few helots were murdered in this way; a large-scale culling of the workforce would have had serious negative economic implications.
A History of British Fossil Mammals and Birds by Richard Owen