American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. One of a class of serfs in ancient Sparta, neither a slave nor a free citizen.
- n. A person in servitude; a serf.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of a class of serfs among the ancient. Spartans who were owned by the state, were bound to the soil under allotment to landholders, and fulfilled all servile functions. The Helots paid their masters a fixed proportion of the products of the ground cultivated by them. They served as light-armed troops in war, and in great emergencies bodies of them were organized as regular or heavy-armed troops, in which case they might be manumitted as a reward for bravery. They were descendants of captives of war, most of them probably of the conquered Achean aborigines of Laconia; and they were very cruelly treated, and often systematically massacred, to keep down their numbers and prevent them from organized revolt.
- n. Hence A serf or slave, in general; a servile person; one subject, to the orders and caprices of another.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A slave in ancient Sparta; a Spartan serf; hence, a slave or serf.
- n. (Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord
- Latin Helotes, from Ancient Greek (Εἵλωτες), possibly from ἁλίσκομαι ("to be captured, to be made prisoner"). (Wiktionary)
- From Greek Heilōtes, pl. of Heilōs, Heilōt-. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The Palestinian American writer Rashid Khalidi uses the term "helot" (a term from the Greek of Ancient Greece to designate an indeterminate status between that of a slave and that of a citizen) to designate the position of Palestinian civilians who have neither civil rights nor any political opportunity to influence the behaviour of the state that dominates and controls their lives in endlessly demeaning and demoralising ways.”
“Bet the helot women had a somewhat different view of Sparta. heteromeles on Apr 24th, 2010 at 4: 59 pm”
“And don't assume that supporters of mass immigration and amnesty care about the welfare of the helot class they want to import.”
“Still, even if Libertarian Utopia was to materialize through an act of God, having a powerless helot class in society doing all the dirty work is sort of a mixed bag, imho.”
“Most Americans see the damage done to their communities by illegal aliens; liberals (and Chamber of Commerce Republicans) want an expanded helot class.”
“He was a helot in the great hunt of helots that the masters were making.”
“Even if one imagines a helot class of foreign residents who would be left to die at the door to emergency rooms, by operation of some law; we still have to be very restrictive of immigration now.”
“They (and we) gloss over the details of how the Spartan helot society was radically at odds with the “for freedom” message that it sends.”
“Other acts of violence and terror are recorded, and it seems that Spartan society as a whole suffered from a permanent fear of a helot rebellion.”
“If a member of the Spartan elite happened to kill a helot, it was not considered to be murder but an act of war.”
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