|2022-05-22||Europe: 2022-09-30 08:20 (UTC)|
If you are bored with the classic Greek references, here's a refreshment into the Dark…Middle Ages.
The destination of the daytrip didn't involve ancient gods, but the chronology goes back only to the early era of Mystras.
Mystras set its pages into the history books around the last days of the Fourth Crusade, when the Frankish William II of Villehardouin captured Monemvasía, an important outpost on the eastern shore of the Peloponnese, then made the last standing tribe of Mount Taygetus kneel. This step fully summed up and snatched the peninsula from Byzantine rule. During the winter of 1248 and 1249 Villehardouin travelled around to finally find his place of reign on a single prominent elevation close to Lacedaemon — the by-then name of ancient Sparta.
For the next approximate two hundred years a revolving door warfare raged on the peninsula between the Franks, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Around the mid-13th century the Greek locals decided to move away from Lacedaemon to find more safety under Villehardouin's castle on the hill, and this new town was named Mystras.
Until the 15th century Mystras and the palace enjoyed relative peace, which state as usually brought cultural and knowledge development into the region. During these times were the nowadays still standing and remaining in good shape Agia Sophia, Agios Nikolaos and Agioi Theodoroi churches built.
The days of heydays ended in the middle of the 15th century when the Ottoman Empire settled up its housings for nearly 200 years. The end of Mystras arrived during the first half of the 19th century, this time the Egyptians in response to the Greek efforts of independence massacred, looted and destroyed the area. The revival of the original Mystras is slow to happen, mainly because the majority of the surviving population moved back to the site of ancient Sparta, now renamed to Sparti. Altogether with its past and the cultural relevance of the Byzantine churches in the Frankish fortress, Mystras belongs to the UNESCO list since 1989.
Throwing down babies from cliffs is a big no-no.
This has been quite the consensus since beginning of time, and Sparta wasn't any different. Although Sparta denotes raw strength, the circling rumours alleging they threw their weakling newborns down from the peaks of Taÿgetus is plain wrong. The exact origin of this grim assumption is unknown, but an already familiar name comes up: Plutarch, the priest of Delphoi, a highly talented person in politics. Either the Greek intentionally typified such behaviour onto the Spartans, or we again end up with a case of unnecessary seek-and-found demons on every corner, lest planned eugenics.
The more sensible answer is that Plutarch's words were mistranslated or misunderstood during the centuries. It is known, that Spartans also had to deal with overpopulation, and indeed were infants who were considered unfit for the good of the family and the society, and truly there was a group of wise elders who must be consulted with over life and death — but latter decision never ended in tossing babies into the air to see them fly and land hard.
Spartans in such cases followed the custom of infant exposure, which meant a public location where parents could leave their unwanted babies for whatever reasons. This place was called apothetai, and one was right at Taÿgetus. This added an important stop of objectiveness into the chain of events, when compared to other cultures an irreversible step and the ultimate fate wasn't solely on the emotionally affected parents, but the outsider elders too. The vital functions of freaks, monstrous results of birth were indeed aborted but with considerably less efforts, than the strenuous exercise of hiking a mountain on a thunderous rainy night, to throw down a screaming and trembling infant into the swirling dark abyss while lightning reflected in the terrified baby blue eyes.
Out of any argument, the apothetai still couldn't be considered as a humane method, but the least worst with the intention of at least giving a chance to live. Latter years heavily varied, some of them with a closer smile of the gods could get into the arms of fruitless but caring parents, while the less fortunate were picked up by slavers or the well-womannered owners of brothels.
Recent investigations returned to the mountain where the human bones dated to ancient times were found, but the evidences concluded those belong to physically more developed persons and not babies.