SPARTA spär’ tə (Σπάρτη). Also often Lacedaemon, Lacedaemonians (
A number of references to Sparta are to be found in extra-Biblical Jewish lit., some of which have been questioned. There seems to have been a colony of Jews there in the 2nd cent. b.c., and a warm relationship between the Spartans and the Jews had developed. Jason, the high priest, found asylum there in 168 b.c. (
S. Schüller, “Some Problems Connected with the Supposed Common Ancestry of Jews and Spartans” JSS I (1956), 257-268; E. Bölte, V. Ehrenberg and L. Ziehen in Pauly-Wissowa, RE s.v. “Sparta.”
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
spar’-ta, spar’-tanz (Sparte (1 Macc 14:16), Spartiatai; Lacedaemonians (the1 Macc 12:2,5,6,10,21; 14:20-23; 15:23; in 2 Macc 5:9, Greek Lakedaimonioi)): The passages in 1 Macc relate to a correspondence initiated by Jonathan, the priest, during the Maccabean revolt, and continued after his death with his brother Simon, between the Jews and the Lacedaemonians or Spartans, with a view to a friendly alliance. The proposals, curiously based on a claim to kindredship, were favorably received by the Lacedaemonians. See the letters (1 Macc 12:5 ff,19 ff; 14:16 ff). The claim to blood-relationship (compare 1 Macc 12:21; 2 Macc 5:9) is of course absurd, but there is no good reason to doubt the genuineness of the transaction described.