Initial Settlement Aegean Sea Eurotas River Illyrian Dales
Stora Mine Olynthos Corinth Royal Univerisity of Sparta Treaty of Independence

Crofton's Encyclopedia of the Inhabited Planets (2ndEdition):

Sparta:  Sparta (originally Botany Bay) was discovered by Captain Mark Brodin of the CoDominium Exploration Service Ship Lewis and Clark during the Grand Survey of 2010.  Alderson point connections to the Sol system are via Tanith, Markham, Xanadu, GSX-1773, and GSX-2897.  Further connections exist to Frystaat, Dayan, and Haven.  Initial survey indicated a very favorable native ecology but no exceptional mineral or other resources.  A Standard Terraforming Package was seeded in 2011, and the Category VI Higher Mammal Package followed in 2022.

Circumference:  13,600 kilometers
Diameter:  13,900 kilometers
Gravity:  1.22 standard
Diurnal cycle:  20 hours
Year:  1.6 standard
Composition:  Nickel-iron, silicates
Satellites:  Cythera, mass 1.7 Luna

Atmosphere is basically terrestrial, but with 1.17 standard sea-level pressure.  Total land area is approximately half that of Earth, with extensive oceans; much of the land, c. 28,800,000 sq. kilometers (18,000,000 sq. miles), is concentrated in the Serpentine Continent, an equatorial landmass deeply penetrated by inland seas...  Native life is mainly marine; the high concentration of dissolved oxygen in the oceanic waters, and the extensive shallow seas, permit a very active oceanic ecosystem with many large piscoid species.  Land-based forms are limited to primitive vegetation and analogs of simple insects; terrestrial species have largely replaced the native on the Serpentine Continent and adjacent islands.  Total illumination is 92% of standard, resulting in a warm-temperate to subtropical climate in the equatorial Serpentine Continent, shading to cold-temperate and subarctic conditions on the northern shores.

Initial settlement:  A CoDominium research station was established in 2024, and shipment of involuntary transportees began in 2032.  In 2036 settlement rights were transferred to the Constitutionalist Society (conditional upon continued receipt of involuntary colonists), a political group centered in the United States, and settlement began in 2038.  Internal self-government was granted in 2040, and the Dual Kingdom of Sparta was recognized as a sovereign state by the Grand Senate in 2062; the CoDominium retained an enclave in Sparta City, and involuntary colonization continued as per the Treaty of Independence.

Aegean, sea.  [Ae-ge-an], named for enclosed portion of eastern Mediterranean, Earth.  (see names, Mythological, Greaco-Roman)
One of two linked inland seas on the planet Sparta

The Aegean, with the larger Oinos sea (q.v.) to the south, forms the great inland embayment which separates the northern and southern lobes of the Serpentine Continent, Sparta's principal landmass.  Roughly rectangular in shape, the Aegean covers approximately 510,000 sq. kilometers; geological investigation shows that it was formed by a complex process of subsidence, attendant on the crustal plate movements which accompanied the raising fo the Drakon Mountains (q.v.).  In general terms, the Aegean is therefore relatively warm, shallow (few areas over 500 meters depth) and characterized by a rough balance between sediment depostion and subsidence of the sea floor.  Characteristic terrain on all sides of the Aegean consist of coastal plains of varying width, backed by hills or mountains; the northeastern corner offers a lowland corridor to the valley of the Middle Eurotas (q.v.)  The main river draining into the Aegean is the Eurotas, which reverses its lower course and drains northward through its delta into Constitution Bay (q .v.), a nearly circular impact crater associated with an asteroid collision of circa 50,000 BCE.  The large volcanic islands of Zakynthos (q.v.), Leros (q.v.), Keos (q.v.), New Crete (q.v.), and Mytilene (q.v.) are products of the same astrophysical event.

Marine life is abundant, and is based on native equivalents of plankton.  Common species include the grunter, notable for its great numbers and resemblance to the terrestrial cod, the multiclawed rockcrawler, much in demand as a delicacy offworld, and the torpedofish, a predatory species up to 10 meters in length, which attacks its prey by ramming with its bone-armored nose.  All vertebrate piscoids are gill-breathers but have pseudomammalian features such as four-chambered hearts, and are vivaparous.  The tangler kelp is the sole source of Ez-e-Mind TM, Lederle AG's vastly profitable “morning after” contraceptive.  Introduced terrestrial species include the common dolphin and the orca (killer whale), both wild and domesticated.

Eurotas, river. [E-ur-o-tas], named for river in southern Greece, Earth. (see names, Mythological, Graeco-Roman)

Largest river on the planet Sparta
Length (main stream):  9,600 kilometers
Drainage basin:  8,225,000 sq. kilometers
Maximum volume:  860,000,000 liters
Minimum volume:  475,000,000 liters

Description:  The Eurotas is customarily divided into the Lower, Middle and Upper Valleys, respectively, and the Delta.  The Delta proper flows northward into the nearly circular Constitution Bay, encompassing an area of approx. 25,000 sq. kilometers of silt and peat-soil marshes, undergoing reclamation for agriculture in some areas.  The Lower Valley runs north-south between the Lycourgos Hills fronting on the Aegean Sea in the west, and the twin ranges of Parnassus and Pindaros on the east, separating the Eurotas from the Jefferson Ocean (q.v.).  Lying between the river-ports of Clemens and Olynthos is the Middle Valley, occupying a low-lying fault zone between uplifted blocks on the north and south.  To the west, the upper portion of the Middle Valley is flanked on the south and west by the Illyrian Dales, a region of limestone uplands, and beyond these by the Drakon Mountains.  North of Olynthos the river descends via the Vulcan Rapids from Lake Alexander, a body of water comparable to Earth's Lake Ontario.  From the Vulcan Rapids the upper Valley runs generally north-south to the slightly smaller Lake Ochrid, the formal source of the Eurotas.

The Middle and Lower Valleys are essentially silt-filled rift depressions, whose drainage link is geologically recent.  Gradients are therefore small, and vessels drawing up to 3 meters may navigate the Eurotas as far inland as Olynthos, 6,400 kilometers from the mouth of the river.  Flooding, siltation, breaks in the natural levees, marshes and ox-bow lakes are common.  The Upper Valley is an area of rejuvenated drainage and exposed basic rock, with frequent steep falls.

Climate and Hydrology:  The Delta has a humid-Mediterranean regime, with mild rainy winters, warm dry summers and a nearly year-round growing season.  The Lower Valley is similar but slightly more continental with increasing distance from the sea; the Middle Valley is comparable, on a larger scale, to the Po basin of Italy, Earth, with cold damp winters with some snow, and warm summers with occasional convection thunderstorms.  Winter cold increases westward and northward, until the Upper Valley ranges from cool-temperate semiarid to subarctic north of Lake Ochrid.  Lakes Ochrid and Alexander are both frozen for several months of the year, as is the Upper Valley as a whole.  The Eurotas reaches maximum flow in the late winter or early spring; summer flow is largely sustained by snowmelt from flanking mountain ranges.  More than half the dry-season is derived from the snowmelt of the Drakon Range, and most of this flows underground through the 1,400,000 sq. kilometer area of the Illyrian Dales, with their extensive near-horizontal limestone formations.

Illyrian Dales, The:  area of hilly terrain, named for areas of the Balkan peninsula now part of Serbia, Croatia and Albania.  (see names, Mythological, Graeco-Roman) Notable feature of the planet Sparta

The Illyrian Dales cover an area of approximately 1,400,000 sq. kilometers (875,000 sq. miles) between the western extremity of the Middle Valley of the Eurotas River (q.v.).  The Dales take the shape of a blunt pyramid, with its base pointing northward and its apex lying along the course of the Rhyndakos River (q.v.), a south-bank tributary of the Eurotas.

The Dales are geologically recent, composed of sedimentary marine limestones deposited while the present Middle Valley was a shallow inland sea, prior to the collision of crustalplates which produced the Drakon Range.  Buckling and rapid water-ero sion has produced a landscape of low hills and gentle ridges, occasionally punctuated by intrusions of harder metamophic or volcanic rick, which form “plugs” remaining above the peneplain-like surface surrounding them; limited areas of steeper slope have developed semi-karstic formations.  The Dales' limestones consist essentially of calcium carbonate, with high concentrations of potassium, phosphorus and other trace elements.  Similar formations on Earth include the Nashville basin of Tennessee, and the central (“Blugrass”) basin of Kentucky.  No formation of this size would be possible on Earth, but the greater liquidity of the Spartan magma and higher internal heat from gravitaional contraction and the decay of radioactives produces more rapid and uniform patterns of deposition.  (Thus accounting for the prevalence of high mountains on a planet with such active erosive forces).  Altitude ranges from 300 (in the southeast) to 1,200 meters above sea level in the northwest.  After allowing for the 18-month Spartan year, the climate is comparable to the mid-latitude temperate zone of Earth's northern hemisphere, having warm to hot summers and cold winters with (depending on area) three to six months of continuous snow cover.  There is little surface drainage, but artesian springs and underground water are common, as are sinkholes and caves.

Description:  As with much of Sparta, the native vegetation has been largley replaced by introduced Terran varieties.  Initially covered with tall-grass prairies (largely greater bluestem, panicum and canegrass) it has increasingly been colonized by broad-leafed trees ranging from tulip poplar and magnolia in the south to rock maple and birch on the northern fringe; forest cover is more plentiful to the south.  Rainfall increases from north to south and from east to west, reaching a climax on the lower slopes of the Drakon Range; the southernmost areas receive 180 centimeters per annum, dropping to 80 centimeters on the northern fringe where the where the Dales give way to the level formations of the Hylas Steppe (q.v.).  Animal life is almost exclusively Terran, and includes feral cattle, sheep, horse and beefalo, wild swine, various deer species, elk, wapiti, European and North American bison, and brown and black bear.  Carnivores were a somewhat later introduction and include wolves (Siberian timber wolf varieties), bobcat, wild cat, lynx, leopard, ounce (snow leopard) and Siberian tiger.  Ecological conditions are chaotic, as the introduced species eliminate the less-evolved natives and seek a new equilibrium .  (see Planetary Ecology, Terraforming).  To date, there is no resident human population due to transportation difficulties and superior opportunities elsewhere, and exploitation is limited to harvesting of wildlife, with limited timbering and quarrying on the eastern border.

Stora Mine:  Mining settlement in the southern foothills of the Kupros Mountains (q.v.), north of Lake Alexander in the Upper Valley section of the Eurotas River, on the planet Sparta (q.v.).  The initial CoDominium University survey of Sparta indicated that the eroded volcano later christened Storaberg contained unusual concentrations of metallic ores.  Researchers hypothesized that during the original uplift process which produced the Kupros Mountains, a “plug” of freakishly mineral-rich magma was extruded through a fissure.  Over time, the rapid erosive forces produced by Sparta's 1.22 G stripped away the covering of softer rock, exposing the core and depositing alluvial metal deposits extensively in the area.  The rock of northern slopes of the mountain contains up to 8% copper, 6% lead, 2% silver and significant quantities of platinum, palladium and thorium group metals; locally higher concentrations are studded trhough the mass of the mountain and nearby deposits of “ruddle” hematite have iron contents of up to 83%.  Exploratory mining began during the period of CoDominium administration and full-scale exploitation commenced with the chartering of Stora Mines Inc. in 2041.  Both open-pit and shaft mining is carried on; facilities include a geothermal power plant, smelters and concentration plants, the 215-kilometer electrified railway to Lake Alexander, and miscellaneous support, maintenance and repair industries.

Description:  The settlement of Stora Mine lies on an eroded peneplane at the northeastern edge of Storaberg Mt.  Built-up areas are largely confined to “ribbon” developments along the valleys of the northeast-southwest tending ridges.  The central town is laid out on a grid basis, forming an H surrounding two public squares, and includes a business district, public buildings, and the railroad station.  Total population (2090) is 72,253, including many temporary workers housed in company barracks.  Climate is severe, roughly analogous to northeastern Minnesota or southern Siberia; the longer seasons make this a loose comparison, however.  The silt-filled basins and rocky hills of the piedmont zone running down to the lakeshore have been extensively developed to supply the mining labor force and enjoy more moderate temperatures.

Olynthos:  town at the head of navigation on the Eurotas River (q.v.), Sparta, (q.v.).  Established as Fort Tanner during CoDominium administration, 2030.  Comminucation with Lake Alexander and its mining settlements by rail and slurry-pipeline (2060), followed by rapid growth; river-port, fitting out point for outback expeditions, and industrial center.  Power supplied by hydro developments on Vulcan Rapids (potential in excess of 1000 MW).  Smelters, refineries, direct-reduction steel mill, mining machinery, building supplies, explosives, general manufatcturing.  Pop. (2090) 66,227 not including part-time residents.

Description:  The town lies on the southwestern bank of the river immediately below the Ninth Cataract of the Vulcan Rapids, in an area known as Hecate's Pool.  Most buildings are constructed of limestone blocks from nearby quarries; notable features include...

Corinth:  Town at the head of the Corinthian Gulf, (q.v.), a long (700 kilometer), funnel-shaped inlet on the northeastern portion of the Serpentine Continent.  Corinth, founded by settlers from New Newfoundland in 2053, is primarily a collection point for nearby ranches and a fishing-base.  The Corinthian Gulf, with its nutrient-rich waters, is a spawning ground for several important species of large piscoid hunted for their leather, oil and pharmaceutical derivatives; among these are the Mammoth Daisy, the Tennisnet and the Galleybeak.  Galleybeak caviar is noted as a delicacy on several planets, having an exotic flavor and mild stimulant and euphoric qualities.  Tennisnet glands are processed for a well-known anti-obesity drug.  Corinth's facilities include deep water docks, small-scale ship repair facilities, warehouses and marine processing planes.  Population (2091), 6,753 not including transients.

Sparta, Royal University of:  Institution of postsecondary education, sole university of the Dual Monarchy of Sparta (q.v.), the University of Saprta embodies many interesting organizational principles and fulfills a number of functions.

The University is organized as a cooperative corporation, with the Crown, the faculty and individual professors holding shares.  Some state revenues are “dedicated” to the Unversity; other sources of income include endowments, extensive property holdings, fees, service charges for research work, and patent revenues.  Individual faculty are paid a basic salary, with bonuses determined by number of students enrolled and by a complicated, results-oriented testing process.  Some chairs are separately endowed, and the endowing individual or authority may nominate the holder subject to a Dean and Faculty veto.

Enrollment is by two methods; scholarship examination, and fee payment.  The scholarship tests are severely selective, but confer free tuition, preference for work-study occupations, and in some cases rent-free student accommodations and a stipend.  Those entering via a fee payment need not take the entrance exams but may and often are disqualified during their course of study; fees are not refunded.  Additional supplements are also offered to those willing to contract for public service work (e.g. primary school teaching in remote locations) after their graduation.

All the common courses are taught, together with some unique to Sparta such as Introductory Military Science; there is no law school, as formal qualifications are unnecessary for practice on Sparta.  The University is affiliated with St. Thomas Royal Hospital and the McGregor Oceanagraphic Institute; it cooperates closely with the research departments of many private businesses, and undertakes contract and freelance research work on an extensive basis.  The University also operates an extensive correspondence degree section, and many students take the academic portions of thier courses by mail or Tri-V link, coming to the campus only for laboratory work or oral examinations.

There are no sororities and fraternities, although the Candidate Sections of the Phraetries (q.v.) fulfill many of the same functions.

Current enrollment (2090):  students, 8,000; post-graduate students and teaching assistants, 2,000; faculty, 998.

Treaty of Independence, Spartan:  Agreement signed between the Grand Senate of the CoDominium and the Dual Monarchy of Sparta, 2062.  The Constitutionalist Society's original settlement agreement with the Colonial Bureau of the CoDominium had provided for full internal self-government, but the CoDominium retained jurisdiction over a substantial enclave in Sparta City, the orbital transit station Aegis, and the refueling facilities around the gas-giant planet Zeus.  In addition, during the period of self-government a CoDominium Marine Regiment remained in garrison on Sparta and its commander also acted as Governor-General, enforcing the residual powers retained by the Colonial Bureau, mostly having to do with the Regulation of involuntary colonist and convict populations.

In line with Grand Senator Fedrokov's “New Look” policy of reducing CoDominium involvement in distant systems where practicable, negotiations began with the Dual Monarchy in 2060.  Under the terms of the Treaty, the Royal government became fully responsible for internal order and external defense of the Spartan system, and all restrictions on local military and police forces were removed.  The transit station and Zeus-orbit refueling stations were also turned over to the Royal government.  However, the treaty also stipulated that certain facilities were to be maintained, at Spartan expense, for the use of the CoDominium authorities and the Fleet; these included docking, fueling and repair functions, and orbit to surface shuttles.  Also mandated was the continued receipt of involuntary colonists at a level to be set by the Bureau of Relocation, and for this purpose the CoDominium enclave in Sparta City was retained with a reduced garrison.  Penalty provisions in the authorized direct intervention by the Commandant of the enclave should the Royal government fail to fulfill these obligations...

From Go Tell the Spartans and Prince of Sparta, by Jerry Pournelle & S.M. Stirling (Baen, 1991 & 1993).

- Back to CD Worlds

Headquarters frames