Official Name: Sparta

Aliases: The Imperial Homeworld, the Imperial Throneworld;
   The planet (or the volume of space in which it is located) may also be known as Imperial Center.

Classification/Nature: Alternate timeline (Reality-791) extraterrestrial planet located in an unspecified star system that was probably somewhere within the Milky Way galaxy

Environment: Earth-like (see comments)

Gravity: Apparently similar to that of Earth

Atmosphere: An unspecified combination of gases (presumably mostly nitrogen and oxygen) that was very Earth-like

Number of Continents: Four (Marathon, Thrace, and two others whose names have not been revealed)

Number of Natural Satellites: Five (none named)

Number of Artificial Satellites: Unrevealed. There was probably at least one Starport Station in orbit around the planet to handle incoming and outgoing starship traffic, but this has not been confirmed.

Dominant Life Form: Pale-skinned "humans" (possibly known as "Spartans")

Population: Unrevealed

Non-Human Population: Unrevealed

Prominent Citizens: Emperor Jason (abdicated), Prince Gareth (deceased), Kip Hölm (heir apparent), Sandy (Kip's wife/consort); Alain, Rhys and Robyn Hölm (children of the heir apparent)

Less Significant Inhabitants: Tikos, unidentified officer

Capital City: Calyndriar (Imperial capital)

Government: Imperial monarchy

Major Languages: Unrevealed (possibly something like "Imperial standard")

Monetary Unit: Unrevealed (possibly something like an "Imperial credit")

Major Resources: Unrevealed

Planetary Defense: Warships of the Imperial Fleet that (presumably) are constantly patrolling the space surrounding the Imperial Throneworld, and (as needed) can include starfighters, destroyers, frigates and even battlecruisers. Among the armaments of those warships are laser cannons and missiles, including planet-cracking anti-matter missiles.
   Ground forces are made up of Imperial troopers, the only warriors legally allowed to be on Sparta, with only the emperor and his personal guard being allowed to carry any weapons with a reach longer than a man's arm.

   Additionally, there were probably certain planetary defenses whose purpose was to detect and track any starships that might pose a threat to the planet, but any specific information about such detection systems is CLASSIFIED.

Extraterrestrial Relations: The empire has a long history of hostility with the Ariguan Confederacy, including an interstellar war that lasted for at least 13 Earth-years.

   Some races who did not wish to be involved in imperial politics, like the Scania, were willing to go as far as resettling themselves on planets far from Imperial Center so that the empire would leave them alone.

Places of Interest: Calyndriar and the Imperial palace; Port Control; the Imperial Chalet on Marathon

Visitors: Arion (deceased), Dirac, Sith-Lord Rruothk'ar (deceased), Star-Lord (Peter Jason Quill), "Ship"

First Appearance: Marvel Preview#11 (Summer/June, 1977)

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - In the beginning, the planet that would become Sparta coalesced out of a protoplanetary disc orbiting a new-born star that has never been identified. This star and its planetary system were part of a galaxy whose location has never been established in-story (but which may have been the Milky Way).

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - After life first appeared on this planet, billions of years of evolution resulted in an intelligent species with a humanoid configuration whose basic appearance just happened to be astonishingly similar to that of the species known as Homo sapiens that had evolved independently on a planet later called Earth. The only observable difference between these two species was that all of the members of this planet's species were pale-skinned (comparable to "Caucasian" humans).

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Over time, this humanoid species developed a civilization. At some point, these humanoids named their world "Sparta."

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS/Marvel Preview#15 (fb) - BTS/Marvel Preview#18 (fb) - BTS/Starlord#1 (fb) - BTS) - In a truly ASTRONOMICAL coincidence, the dominant lifeforms on a number of planets scattered across space also evolved into species whose basic appearances were so strikingly similar to that of the people of Sparta that they were virtually indistinguishable until the cellular level. Among those other races were the Scania, the Haalmhad, the original native "human" race from the planet Redstone and the pioneers from the Twelve Worlds who later colonized that planet, and the humanoids from the Carinan Cluster.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Over time, the people of Sparta developed the technology that enabled them to travel through space, first to other planets in their solar system, and then to other star systems where they found habitable planets which they could colonize.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the various states and territories inhabited by the people of Sparta came to be governed by an empire ruled by a single sovereign, the emperor. Whether this empire was founded before the people of Sparta expanded out into space or not until after they had begun to colonize other planets has not been revealed.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Whenever it was founded, the interstellar empire ruled from Sparta has existed for at least three hundred years, but is probably actually much older, perhaps thousands of years older. Since it was ruled from Sparta, the planet came to be known as both the Imperial homeworld and the Imperial Throneworld, and the region of space in which Sparta was located came to be known as Imperial Center.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS/Starlord, the Special Edition#1 (fb) - BTS) - Eventually, the empire of Sparta had expanded so much that it became a galaxy-spanning empire, a state that sprawled across the better part of its galaxy.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) <sometime in the 17th century (Earth date)> - The Scania refugees from the planet Jaeger IV had no interest in Imperial politics so they chose to settle on Windhölme, a frontier planet located just inside the Rim and about a thousand parsecs from Imperial Center. The only thing they wanted from the empire was to be left alone, and for three hundred years they got their wish.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, it became law that Imperial troopers were the only warriors allowed to be on Sparta. Even the household guards of all members of the imperial bloodline (except for the emperor) were forbidden from being active on the planet.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, a "code duello" was established on Sparta which forbade anyone, except for the emperor and his personal guard, from carrying weapons with a reach longer than a man's arm. As a result, most warriors on Sparta (including those Imperial troopers who were not members of the emperor's personal guard) were only equipped with swords instead of blasters.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - By the time Prince Jason was an adult, an Imperial heir could have his pick of "the beauties of ten thousand worlds." However, not all of those worlds were necessarily part of the empire.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS / Marvel Preview#4 (fb) - BTS) <"Years" before 1960 A.D. (Earth date)> - The heir to the Imperial throne, Prince Jason, hated court life so much that he, presumably with his father's consent, fled to deep space to fulfill his heart's desire to explore.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS / Marvel Preview#4 (fb) - BTS) <1960 A.D. (Earth date)> - When war broke out between the empire and the Ariguan Confederacy, the emperor of Sparta summoned his son home. However, while en route, the scoutship carrying Prince Jason and his companion suffered a serious malfunction, one that forced them to make planet-fall immediately, and the only planet within viable reach was Earth. The scoutship crashed in the Colorado Mountains, and Jason's friend died in the crash. The prince would have also died if the only person to witness their arrival, a young human woman named Meredith Quill, had not risked her life to enter the burning spacecraft and drag the unconscious Jason out to safety. Although Jason survived and was nursed back to health by Meredith, the scoutship would require extensive repairs before it would be spaceworthy again. During the year that Jason spent repairing his scoutship, he and Meredith grew closer and fell in love, eventually consummating their relationship.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS / Marvel Preview#4 (fb) - BTS) <1961 A.D. (Earth date)> - In his repaired scoutship, Prince Jason returned home (to Sparta?). Since the voyage had been hazardous, with the warp drive having been jury-rigged and passage through Ariguan space being necessary, Jason had refused to take the newly-pregnant Meredith with him, but had promised Meredith he would return for her as soon as he could. However, when he returned to Sparta, Prince Jason discovered that the war with the Ariguans was going badly and he was needed there to help fight it.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point in the next 12 Earth-years, Jason was crowned emperor of Sparta. Whether this happened because his father had died or abdicated has never been revealed.

(Starlord, The Special Edition#1 (fb) - BTS) - After his coronation, Emperor Jason stood on an upper balcony of the palace and listened as the crowds below cheered, aware that they were doing so because it was their duty to cheer for any new emperor.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS / Marvel Preview#4 (fb) - BTS) <1973 A.D. (Earth date)> - Although the war with the Ariguans was now favoring the empire, Emperor Jason was still needed on Sparta and couldn't get away, so he turned to his trusted uncle, Prince Gareth, and asked him to find his "wife and heir" and bring them to Sparta. Prince Gareth agreed to do so but, since he secretly desired the throne for himself, he instead covertly sought out the powerful and corrupt Merchant Lord Kyras Shakati, and arranged for Jason's lover and son to be assassinated. Shakati entrusted this mission to his Ariguan associate, Rruothk'ar.

(Marvel Preview#4 (fb) / Marvel Preview#11 (fb)) <August 11, 1973 A.D. (Earth date)> - After traveling to Earth, Rruothk'ar's small spacecraft was seen by one of his targets, Peter Quill, when it landed in the woods in the Colorado Mountains close to where Peter just happened to be taking a solitary walk, causing Peter to run home to get his mother so that he could show her that flying saucers were real. When Meredith and Peter later arrived at the landing site, Rruothk'ar and a companion opened fire with directed-energy weapons as soon as they saw both targets. Meredith was struck and instantly killed but, after their first shot missed Peter, the Ariguans left without taking any further action to kill him.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Prince Gareth later lied to his nephew, claiming to have gone to Earth and discovered that both Meredith and her child had died in childbirth.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Having thus committed his first (known) treasonous act, Prince Gareth presumably began slowly and carefully making preparations for his eventual attempt to usurp the throne of Sparta from his nephew.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the interstellar war ended with Emperor Jason's victory over the Ariguan Confederacy. A holo-painting was created to commemorate that victory and a truce line was established between the two interstellar states.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Prince Gareth violated Sparta's code duello by secretly acquiring and wearing a sword with a blaster built into it.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Prince Gareth broke Imperial law by arranging for members of his Household Guard to be secretly brought to Sparta where he quartered them in his private wing of the Imperial Chalet.

(Marvel Preview#4 - BTS) <February 9, 1990 A.D. (Earth date)> - After being transported from the orbiting Space Station Eve, astronaut Peter Jason Quill was transformed into the Star-Lord by the alien who called himself the Master of the Sun.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - As the thirtieth anniversary of Emperor Jason's coronation approached and preparations for the planned coup d'état came closer to being realized, Star-Lord and his sentient starship "Ship" encountered a group of slavers who had just wiped out most of the eight million Scania living on the planet Windhölme and abducted the few thousand surviving children and teenagers as slaves. After Ship had disabled the slaver starship, Star-Lord boarded it and began battling the slavers. His attack inspired and enabled some of the slaves, including the Scania teenager Kip Hölm and Sandy from the now-dead world of Pryd'ri, to free themselves and kill those slavers that hadn't already been dealt with by Star-Lord. However, when Star-Lord then suggested that the ex-slaves should relocate to Windhölme and stated that he would scatter a field of defensive satellites throughout the system to protect them from the slavers, Kip strongly objected and declared that the only way to really protect them would be to find the person behind the slavers and put them out of business forever. He also wanted the life of whoever had sent the slavers to his home and killed his parents. Star-Lord agreed to help and, once Kip's psychic abilities had enabled them to identify merchant lord Kyras Shakati as the person responsible, Star-Lord, Kip and Sandy traveled in Ship to the planet Cinnibar where the three humanoids infiltrated Shakati's anti-gravity palace. Although captured by the merchant's security devices, the trio broke free, and Shakati was killed while trying to kill Star-Lord. With Ship's help, the threesome escaped from Shakati's massively-destructive failsafe, but two of Shakati's allies had already fled to Sparta to warn Prince Gareth. After studying the data he had acquired from the palace's computer banks, Star-Lord revealed that he had learned that the profits being made from the stripped worlds were being used to finance a coup-d'état that planned to replace the emperor with his uncle, Prince Gareth, so the foursome set course for Sparta to save the empire!

(Marvel Preview#11) - Having been warned by his allies, Prince Gareth, as Grand Admiral of the Imperial Fleet, was able to mobilize a task force to intercept the supposedly-hostile starship and prevent it from reaching the Imperial homeworld. Although the hunter-killer group ambushed Ship when she was still two AU out from Sparta, she was able to nearly reach Sparta before she sustained a critical amount of damage that crippled her. To protect Kip and Sandy, Star-Lord forced them into a lifeboat that would drop them on Sparta so that they might be able to find and warn the emperor. Once the lifeboat had blasted free, Ship began tumbling headlong into Sparta's atmosphere, out of control. Observing from one of the starships, Prince Gareth was told that their scanners were losing the intruder due to a madcap blizzard over Thrace but that they still had a hard contact on the lifeboat. Prince Gareth ordered that the occupants of the lifeboat were to be taken alive for questioning, that the emperor was to be told that there had been no survivors, and that, once the weather had cleared, search parties were to be sent to Thrace to find whatever was left of the starship.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Gareth's forces quickly and covertly captured Kip and Sandy after the lifeboat had landed them safely on Sparta, and they were secretly transported to Prince Gareth's private wing of the Imperial Chalet to be questioned/tortured. Meanwhile, the storm over Thrace lasted for another three days before blowing itself out. This gave Ship and Star-Lord, who had both barely survived planet-fall, the time they needed to prepare an ambush for whoever would be sent to search for them.

(Marvel Preview#11) - Since Gareth's Household Guard was not legally allowed to be on Sparta, in order to remain covert, only a single cohort with portable sensors (instead of the proper equipment) was sent to search a million square miles of Thrace. When an officer did find traces of the starship, as he had been allowed to do, Star-Lord was able to quickly and quietly subdue him and bring him aboard Ship to question him. After Ship used her hypno-probes to neutralize the officer's mind shields and make him answer questions truthfully, Star-Lord spent an hour interrogating him, during which time the captive calmly outlined the planned coup-d'état and revealed where Kip and Sandy were being held. Using the officer's uniform, Star-Lord was able to infiltrate the cohort when the unsuccessful search parties regrouped, and he was with them on their transport when it went back to the Imperial Chalet. Once there, the disguised Star-Lord quickly located where Kip and Sandy were being held and freed them, with one of their captors being killed by Kip in the process. Unaware that they had been secretly observed by another of Gareth's allies, the trio began to look for the emperor but were quickly confronted on Sky Level 4 by both Prince Gareth and the Ariguan Sith-Lord Rruothk'ar who planned to kill them. Recognizing Rruothk'ar as the alien who had killed his mother decades earlier, Star-Lord told Kip and Sandy to take the data pack to the emperor while he kept the two villains busy. As the teenagers left, Star-Lord ferociously attacked Rruothk'ar with his sword and the two fought a fierce but brief duel that ended with Rruothk'ar dead. When Prince Gareth refused to surrender, he and Star-Lord began fighting their own duel.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Meanwhile, Kip and Sandy managed to find the emperor and reveal what they were really doing there on Sparta. Presumably the data pack helped to convince him of the truth of their story.

(Marvel Preview#11) - As the duel continued, it was notice on security monitors by Imperial troopers who rushed to protect Prince Gareth. However, by the time they arrived, Star-Lord had won the duel but, after being poisoned by the treacherous Gareth, had killed him to make sure that he didn't get away with his crimes, as it seemed likely he would. When the troopers seemed somewhat inclined to execute Star-Lord on the spot instead of taking him into custody to stand trial, Ship arrived and revealed that she could level the mountain if he wished but Star-Lord told her not to shed any more blood. Before the situation could escalate, Kip and Sandy arrived with Emperor Jason who Star-Lord was shocked to see looked like him and was even more surprised when the emperor called him by his full name and claimed to be his father.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Once the information from Star-Lord's data pack was confirmed, the Imperial Guard smashed Gareth's conspiracy within a few hours.

(Marvel Preview#11) - With the crisis averted, Star-Lord, Kip, Sandy and Emperor Jason were in the throne room (presumably within the palace but possibly in the Imperial Chalet) when the emperor told his son how he had met and fallen in love with Meredith Quill and how he now knew that his trusted uncle had betrayed him and ordered the deaths of both Meredith and Peter. Uneasy with the idea that his father might want him to stay on Sparta and be his heir, Star-Lord stated that he was a seeker who didn't need to be shackled to a throne, suggested that Jason should adopt Kip if he wanted an heir, and quickly flew off to join Ship above the atmosphere.

(Starlord, The Special Edition#1 (fb) - BTS) - Emperor Jason did adopt Kip as his son and heir, and this presumably meant that Kip moved into the Imperial palace while Jason prepared him for his eventual role as the emperor of Sparta.

(Starlord, The Special Edition#1 (fb) - BTS) - Decades later, after Kip and Sandy had married and Sandy had given birth to the couple's three children, the whole family lived in their own apartments in the palace in Calyndriar.

(Starlord, The Special Edition#1 (fb) - BTS) - About seventy years after Kip and Sandy first met, the entire empire began celebrating the one hundred years that Emperor Jason had reigned and the peace and prosperity he had brought them. Since Sparta was the Imperial Throneworld, the festival there could not be rivaled for its excitement, beauty and joy.

(Starlord, The Special Edition#1) - On Jubilee Night, the final night of the celebration, Emperor Jason stood on an upper balcony of the palace and listened as the crowds below cheered for him out of choice instead of duty. When Kip approached him and spoke of how his psi-sensitivity had made him aware that Jason was missing his true son, Star-Lord, Jason admitted that, although he loved Kip and Sandy, he had lately begun to miss Peter. Kip admitted that he also missed Peter but their conversation was interrupted when the two of them were ambushed by Kip's young children. Although Sandy quickly came to help, Jason surrendered and, when it was suggested that they should be in bed, the children asked to be told a story. Kip obliged and began to tell them the story of how he, their mother and their grandfather had first met, and of the man who had brought them together: Peter Jason Quill, known to them and to the wide wonderful universe as Star-Lord!

   Later, after Kip had finished his story and the adults found that the children, who had relocated to Jason's bed during the story, had fallen asleep, Jason told Kip and Sandy that they didn't have to move the sleeping children back to their apartments because he planned to sleep on the roof. Jason then revealed that he was planning to announce his abdication at the next day's council meeting, explaining that he was tired and had felt for a long time that his service to the empire should end, and that hearing Peter's story had finally made him decide to act. Jason then left them and went up to the roof where, sometime later, he was awakened by the presence of both Star-Lord and Ship. Peter revealed that he had also been missing his father and wanted to now give them both the opportunity to know each other, so he invited Jason to come with him and Ship. Jason accepted, and he and Peter boarded Ship who began boosting out of the atmosphere, generating a sonic boom that awakened Kip and Sandy. When the couple raced to the roof, they found Jason gone but then Kip noticed that the imperial seal ring and Star-Lord's helmet were lying on Jason's pillow, and they both realized what that meant.

   And that's the last time that the planet Sparta has ever appeared in any Marvel comic.

Comments: Created by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin.

   Although nothing has been specifically revealed about Sparta's environment, the fact that Emperor Jason, Kip and Sandy were all able to exist there without any apparent discomfort suggests that Sparta, Windhölme and Pryd'ri all had similar atmospheres and similar surface gravities. Additionally, the fact that Prince Jason was able to exist on Earth for a year without any apparent problems strongly suggests that all four planets had "Earth-like" environments, atmospheres and gravitational fields.

   Sparta, Thrace and Marathon are all names of places from ancient Greek history. Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, Thrace was an area in Southeast Europe that was to the northeast of Sparta, and Marathon is a town in Greece where the Battle of Marathon was once fought between the Athenians and the invading Persians. It is unclear what purpose, if any, writer Chris Claremont had in choosing to use those names for this story. However, Calyndriar appears to be an original name.

   The fact that Star-Lord mentioned "a standard year" in Marvel Preview#11 suggests that some sort of standardized chronological system was in place within the empire. If this was the case, then it would be logical to presume that such an "Imperial year" would be the same length as that of the Imperial Homeworld, Sparta. However, this has not been confirmed.

   As with Cinnibar, Sparta was almost certainly surrounded by controlled space within which all starship traffic was closely monitored to ensure compliance with Imperial transport regulations. Any observed violations of those regulations would have alerted nearby Imperial warships to immediately respond by coming to investigate/confront the violators. While there was presumably at least one Starport Station in orbit around Sparta to handle passengers and/or goods or materials that were traveling to and from the planet, there were almost certainly also numerous starports located on the planet's surface. The fact that no such orbiting station appeared in either of the two stories in which Ship visited Sparta is likely due to the nature of those visits. It's worth noting that, during her second visit, Ship was able to reach the airspace directly above the palace without being detected and that Sandy, after she discovered that Jason was missing, was going to alert Port Control until Kip showed her the two items that indicated that Jason had left willing with his son.

   One of the several problems that I have with Chris Claremont's story is that it never revealed/established the actual name of the empire and of the "human" race who founded and controlled it. Personally, I've always chosen to believe that it was the Spartan Empire and that it had been named after the Spartan race who had founded it. However, that name has never been officially confirmed, and problems created by stories written and published after 1996 have muddied the waters.

Where in the (Marvel) universe is Sparta located?
   The fact that Prince Jason crashed on Earth while returning home to Sparta and would have to cut through Ariguan territory to reach home does imply, somewhat strongly, that Sparta's empire, the Ariguan Confederacy and Earth were all located in the Milky Way Galaxy, and that's all well and good, at least in regard to the Star-Lord stories published before 2004. This is because, since the storyline that writer Steve Englehart had planned was incompatible with the chronology, continuity and details of the Marvel Universe, he had decided to set the series firmly in its own "completely standalone" universe. And, intentionally or not, the three other writers who wrote the pre-1999 Star-Lord stories (Chris Claremont, Doug Moench and Timothy Zahn) also didn't include any characters, races or other elements from the "mainstream" MU in their stories. So, since none of the familiar Marvel alien races (like the Skrulls, the Kree, the Shi'ar, the Rigellians, etc.) were in the picture, there was no problem with the idea that Emperor Jason's empire might be occupying a large portion of the Milky Way galaxy.

   However, problems did crop up when attempts were later made to import Star-Lord into the Earth-616 Marvel Universe, beginning with the 2000 Inhumans miniseries. The co-writers of that miniseries, Carlos Pacheco and Rafael Marin, both loved the Star-Lord character and wanted to do something to establish that Peter Jason Quill was really part of the MU but, not wanting to be bogged down by Peter's past continuity, they chose to use his father, Prince Jason, instead. In their storyline, Prince Jason of Spartax was a member of the Spartoi race and heir to the throne of the Spartoi Empire that, thanks to a proposed union with the Shi'ar Empire, were about to occupy the many planets in the Greater Magellanic Cloud that had previously been controlled by the now-fallen Kree Empire. So, Sparta was actually Spartax, the galaxy dominated in the future by Emperor Jason's empire was the Large Magellanic Cloud, and the Peter Jason Quill who would become Star-Lord had not even been born yet.

   This status quo lasted for less than four full years before it was disrupted by writer Keith Giffen's decision to use Peter Quill, identified as the former Star-Lord, first in his stories from the second half of the first Thanos series and then in his 2006 Annihilation miniseries. Entries in Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files#1 seemingly confirmed that this Peter Quill was the same character from the original Star-Lord stories but mixed in the facts from the Inhumans miniseries, and the profile on the Spartoi race also blended the facts from those two sources and stated that they controlled a small empire in the outlying systems of the Greater Magellanic Cloud. The fact that this Peter Quill was an adult while his supposed father, Prince Jason of Spartax, had been a childless young man in a storyline that had taken place less than two years (Marvel Time) earlier was completely ignored.

   Although Star-Lord appeared in all but three of the twenty-five issues of the second Guardians of the Galaxy series (2008-2010), the Spartoi were almost completely ignored, except for those few issues which contained debrief logs filed by Star-Lord that identified him as "Peter Jason Quill, half-Terran/half-Spartoi." It was only several months after that GOTG series ended that the quasi-official Thanos Sourcebook#1 belatedly addressed the fact that Peter Quill shouldn't be existing as an adult in the present-day MU by having his Star-Lord profile identify his father as being "a time-traveling spaceman." In the absence of any new data, readers were left to assume that Sparta/Spartax was located in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

   The problem of Peter Quill being alive as an adult before he supposedly could have been born was more definitively resolved by, oddly enough, Brian Michael Bendis. Prior to the 2014 release of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Mr. Bendis had been made the writer of the third Guardians of the Galaxy series in which he chose to present his own "streamlined and updated" origin for the Star-Lord who existed in the Earth-616 MU. This origin identified Peter Quill's father as one King J'Son of Spartax, a member of the Spartax race who was the manipulative ruler of a Spartax Empire that seemingly existed in the same galaxy as Earth.
    This inconsistency was sufficient to negate the idea that the "classic" Star-Lord character was part of the "mainstream" MU and in so doing displace both that Star-Lord and the universe in which he existed to an alternate timeline, now known as Earth-791. As a result, the planet Sparta was once again free to exist somewhere in the Milky Way galaxy that exists in that alternate reality. Hooray!

   Of course, since no new stories featuring the classic Star-Lord have been published since 1982, there has never been any in-story confirmation of where Sparta exists. However, the 1996 Starlord mini-series, which is now generally presumed to take place in the same reality, did strongly imply that Peter Quill's adventures took place in the same galaxy as "a minor planet called Earth."

   Unfortunately, while the Spartoi and Spartax races do exist in Reality-616 (and may actually be the same race), the "humans" from the planet Sparta and their empire have still not been named.

Sparta and its galaxy
   Of the ten stories in which Star-Lord (Peter Quill) actively appears, only the four written by Chris Claremont reference the galaxy that exists beyond whatever planet is featured in those stories. Here's a list of those references, all of which were presented in Omniscient Narratives:

  1. Marvel Preview#11: Windhölme is described as "a frontier world located just inside the Rim, about a thousand parsecs out from Imperial Center."
  2. Marvel Preview#14: The Lorq dreadnoughts are described as "the finest war-machines ever seen in this part of the galaxy."
  3. Marvel Preview#15: The Haalmhad homeship is described as having "roamed the galactic rim" for countless generations during which time the Haalmhad have "(imposed) their word as law among the scattered Rim systems."
  4. Starlord, the Special Edition#1: The celebration of Emperor Jason's Jubilee is described as "ranging from the frontier to galactic center" and his empire is described as "a state that sprawled across the better part of a galaxy."

   Using these references, one could construct two very rough maps of "the galaxy" in which Star-Lord's adventures took place. The first one would be a very basic map of the general structure of a spiral galaxy, one that consisted of a round center that was encircled by two concentric rings. The central area would be Galactic Center and the outermost ring would be the Galactic Rim. The empire ruled from Sparta would be somewhere in the inner ring (and possibly the central area), and the path of the Haalmhad homeship would carry it around the outer ring where the scattered Rim systems (like the K'yndar system) would be located.

   The second map would be of the territory controlled by the empire and the space surrounding that territory. It would also be a very basic map with a central area encircled by two outer rings. Its central area would represent Imperial Center, the inner ring would represent Imperial territory that was somewhat close to the Throneworld, the outer ring would represent where the Frontier worlds were located, and the outer line of that outer ring would be the Rim, with everything outside that line representing the deep space that was Beyond the Rim. On this map, Sparta would be embedded in Imperial Center, Windhölme would be just inside the Rim, and the new worlds that Sandy discovered as a Pathfinder would be completely outside the Rim.

   I considered the possibility that these two maps could essentially have been the same if Imperial Center could be equated to Galactic Center, but abandoned that idea when I realized it was unworkable. The problem lies in the fact that Windhölme was specified as being a frontier world that was just inside the Rim and about a thousand parsecs (3,262 light-years) out from Imperial Center. If one assumes that Imperial Center is a significant volume of space, as opposed to just being the Imperial Throneworld and its star system, then that would mean that the "frontier" area between Imperial Center and the Rim was, by astronomical standards, relatively narrow. If "the galaxy" was the Milky Way, then its radius would be about 50,000 light-years, and the frontier area, with a width of less than 4,000 light-years, would be less than 7% of that radius. This would mean that Imperial Center and the area beyond the Rim would, between them, occupy over 93% of the galaxy's radius. On the one hand, this could mean that the Imperial territory was very small and the unexplored space beyond the Rim was very large but, on the other hand, it could also mean that the Imperial territory was very large and the area beyond the Rim was comparatively small. Or maybe the radii of Imperial Center and the area beyond the Rim wee both roughly equal.

   The point that (I think) I was trying to make was that, if the empire ruled from Sparta was too large, then the Ariguan Confederacy would have had to have been significantly smaller than the empire, and that would make the idea that the Ariguans could have posed a real threat seem somewhat implausible.

   Anyway, aside from the fact that some part of "Ariguan space" lies between Earth and Sparta, there was a distinct lack of any helpful and detailed information about where in the galaxy the empire was actually located, and that's disappointing.

Other interstellar states in Sparta's galaxy
   Although the empire ruled from Sparta was described as sprawling across the better part of a galaxy, it was not the sole power in that galaxy since there were at least three other interstellar states that were mentioned. Of those three, the Ariguan Confederacy was the most significant one since it was powerful enough to fight a war with the empire for more than 13 Earth-years before finally being defeated. The other two states, the Ben'yr Federation and the Twelve Worlds, seem to have not been powerful enough to pose a threat to either the empire or the Ariguans, and thus were presumably much smaller in size. Unfortunately, aside from their names, very little information about ANY of these four states has ever been revealed, leaving them all as almost complete mysteries.

   Since Starlord, the Special Edition#1 contained a reprint of the story from Marvel Preview#11 which had been colored for that printing, I chose to use the colorized images instead of the original black-and-white images.

Profile by Donald Campbell.

The planet Sparta (from Reality-791) has no known connections to

Additionally, the planet Sparta in Reality-791 has no confirmed connections to:

The imperial capital Calyndriar has no known connections to:

The continent of Marathon on the planet Sparta has no known connections to:

The continent (or region) of Thrace on the planet Sparta has no known connections to:

and the imperial palace

   Known as the Imperial capital, Calyndriar is a city located on the planet Sparta. It is probably also Sparta's capital city but this has not been confirmed. The palace, the official home of the emperor, is situated on a ridge overlooking the city.

   Little else has ever been revealed about Calyndriar. Accordingly, it is unclear how much of the governing of the empire actually takes place in this city. On the one hand, it's possible that it's only called the imperial capital because it's where the emperor's palace is located. On the other hand, Calyndriar could be the most important city in the empire, the place where every organization that manages the empire is headquartered.

   The fact that the Imperial Chalet, the emperor's home away from home, is located on the continent of Marathon could indicate that Calyndriar is located on a different continent, one that could even be on the opposite side of the world from Marathon. However, there is no in-story evidence to support or disprove that conjecture.

   Little has been revealed about the history of Calyndriar, including when and who founded the city, and when it became the imperial capital. Similarly, although a few non-humans can be seen amongst the otherwise-human crowd celebrating Emperor Jason's Jubilee, no information about the normal population make-up of the city or the normal size of that population has ever been revealed.

   Little has also been revealed about the palace. While it presumably has its own name, what that name might be has not been revealed and neither has anything about its size, its construction or its history.

    Built on a ridge overlooking Calyndriar, the palace is a single tower-like structure that is somewhat conical in its design. With its lowermost level being wide and round, the width of the tower decreases as it rises until, about two-thirds of the way up its height, its width is about one-half of what it was at ground level. Above that point, the width of the tower increases until its summit is about at wide as its base. Projecting outward from the top of the tower are eight identical narrow structures that are equally and radially spaced around the tower. Each structure arches outward and slightly upward, and all of them end in widened areas upon which smaller towers have been constructed. The emperor and his family live in apartments located in one of these eight towers. The entire outer surface of the palace is a pale yellow color.

   After his coronation, Emperor Jason stood on a certain spot on an upper balcony of one of the smaller towers and looked down on the crowd below as they cheered for him, and knew that they did so out of duty to their ruler.

   Over a decade later, when Emperor Jason revealed the existence of his wife and son to his uncle, Prince Gareth, and asked him to bring them to Sparta, that conversation presumably took place within the palace, but it may have taken place within the Imperial Chalet.

   Decades later, after Gareth's conspiracy had been exposed and smashed, Star-Lord, Kip, Sandy and the emperor had a conversation during which Jason revealed the story of his relationship with Meredith Quill. This conversation took place within what may have been a throne room where a giant holo-painting of Emperor Jason, painted to commemorate his victory over the Ariguan Confederacy, hung on the wall behind the throne. This room, which was open to the sky above, may have been part of the palace, but could also have been located within the Imperial Chalet.

   After being adopted as Emperor Jason's son and heir, Kip presumably moved into the palace. Sandy probably also lived in the palace, at least when she wasn't out exploring deep space beyond the Rim during her career as a Pathfinder.

   After Kip and Sandy's three children with born, the family lived in their own apartments within the same tower as Emperor Jason's own living quarters.

   On Jubilee Night, the last night of the year-long celebration of the hundredth year of his reign, Emperor Jason stood on the same spot on that same upper balcony and heard the crowd below cheer for him, this time from choice. He was soon joined by Kip and the two of them talked briefly before being ambushed by the three children. Once Sandy had joined them, and the adults had surrendered to the children, Kip began telling the children the story of how he, their mother and their grandfather had first met, and of the man who had brought them together, a man whose name was Peter Jason Quill but who was known to them and the wide, wonderful universe as Star-Lord. By the time Kip had finished his story, the three children had fallen asleep in Jason's bed so the emperor told his son and daughter-in-law that they and the children could stay there because, since it was such a lovely night, he planned to sleep on the roof.

   Several hours later, Emperor Jason awoke from his sleep to find Star-Lord standing on the roof not far from him, with Ship hovering in the air behind him. After a brief but heartfelt conversation, during which his son expressed his hope that they could now take the time to get to know each other, Jason agreed to go with the two of them. After the sonic boom caused by Ship's departure awoke Kip and Sandy, they raced to the roof where, on Jason's pillow, they found the imperial seal ring and Star-Lord's helmet, and realized what had happened. Kip and Sandy then stood on the roof, looking up as they watched Ship fly past a moon as she carried Jason and Peter off into space to find their destiny.

--Starlord, the Special Edition#1

Notes: As is probably very apparent, I have no idea how to properly describe the palace, so if anyone reading this has an architectural background and can help, please do so.

Imperial Chalet

   The Imperial Chalet is a huge structure built around and into one of the mountain peaks that form the continental spine of Marathon, the second of Sparta's four continents. The fact that one of its upper levels (Sky Level 4) is a mile above the ground is an indication of how large it truly is.

   The Imperial Chalet is fully equipped to handle the large number of support staff who attend to the emperor's needs and security. Aside from the imperial quarters and (possibly) a throne room, the chalet also features multiple shuttle bays for transports and barracks for imperial troopers, as well as quarters for all the non-military (i.e., managerial, housekeeping, food preparation, maintenance, etc.) staff, plus other basics like food storage and preparation areas, environmental (i.e., heating, air-conditioning, ventilation) systems, and waste removal systems. Since it, as an imperial residence, is probably also a high-security military installation, the chalet presumably also includes significant defenses against attack, communications facilities capable of reaching throughout the empire, sensors capable of monitoring Sparta's solar system, and a power source capable of reliably supplying energy even during emergencies.

   The Imperial Chalet serves as a "home away from home" for the Spartan Emperor (like the country retreat named Camp David does for the president of the United States of America).

   One whole wing of the Imperial Chalet was reserved for Prince Gareth. He used the privacy which this afforded him to secretly house an entire army (that was loyal to him personally) in the chalet without anyone in the rest of the chalet being aware of their presence. This army included Prince Gareth's household guard, despite the fact that they were forbidden by Imperial law to even be on Sparta.

   Gareth's wing also featured a "chamber of horrors" where Tikos used torture when questioning captives on Gareth's behalf.

--Marvel Preview#11


   Considered to be the second of Sparta's four continents and the only one to be explicitly identified as such, Marathon has a continental spine made up of a range of majestic mountain peaks. Although only the mountainous area in the immediate vicinity of the Imperial Chalet has been seen in-story so far, it's unlikely that the continent is entirely mountainous, but what the terrain in those other areas is like has never been revealed. However, coastal areas must exist and the existence of lowlands and plains is almost certain. Deserts and/or seas may also exist.

   Marathon's size, where it's located on Sparta (i.e., Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere or equatorial region), the amount of the planet's total land area and total surface area that it covers, the range of climates that can be found there and the percentage of Sparta's total population who lives there have never been revealed.

   The most significant (known) location in Marathon is the Imperial Chalet that is built around and into one of those mountain peaks.

   The fact that the Imperial Chalet was meant to be the emperor's "home away from home" suggests that the imperial capital, Calyndriar, was not located on Marathon, but this has not been confirmed.

--Marvel Preview#11


   A large area on Sparta, Thrace may be one of its four continents but it has never been explicitly identified as such in-story. What has been seen of Thrace appears to be entirely wilderness, with snow-covered mountains and valleys. However, unless Thrace is located in one of Sparta's polar regions, it's unlikely that it has an entirely arctic climate (assuming that Sparta even has arctic climates).

   When a supposedly-hostile alien starship (Ship) was badly damaged by weapons fire from one of the starships in the Imperial hunter-killer group that had been sent to prevent her from reaching the Imperial Homeworld, Ship lost control over her flight and tumbled into Sparta's atmosphere. A madcap blizzard that was then raging over Thrace caused the sensors on the Imperial starships to lose contact with her. The fleet commander, Prince Gareth, wanted the starship (or what remained of it) to be found, whatever the cost, and ordered that search teams were to be sent to Thrace as soon as the weather cleared.

   Three days later, after the storm had finally blown itself out, a single cohort of the prince's household guard was sent to Thrace to covertly search for the downed starship. One member of the search party, an officer who was part of Prince Gareth's planned coup-d'état, complained that it was madness for a single cohort to have been sent with portable sensors "to find a metallic needle in a million square miles of haystack." Seconds later, he noticed a flash of light and, when he investigated, he found some metal and realized that he had found the starship. However, before he could report his discovery to the rest of the search party, he was ambushed by Star-Lord who knocked him unconscious and brought him aboard the hidden Ship. Over an hour later, disguised as the officer, Star-Lord infiltrated the cohort when the search parties regrouped and he traveled to the Imperial Chalet with them aboard their transport.

Note: Although it is widely assumed presumed that Thrace is one of Sparta's four continents, the fact that the transport used by Prince Gareth's searchers was capable of "moving quickly back to the Imperial Chalet" could be an indication that Thrace is actually the name of a wilderness region that, like the chalet, is located on the continent of Marathon.

   Of course, there are other possible explanations. Since continents don't necessarily have to exist as separate landmasses, maybe Thrace and Marathon are two adjoining continents that are both part of a single very large landmass (like Europe and Asia on Earth) and the Imperial Chalet is close to the border between Marathon and Thrace? Or maybe the the transport shuttle was capable of flying so fast that even (very) long distances could be traveled in relatively short times?

   More data is required, but I won't hold my breath waiting for it.

--Marvel Preview#11


Sparta's moons

   Five natural satellites are in orbit around the planet Sparta. None of their names have been revealed, and neither have any of their physical characteristics, including their sizes relative to Sparta. Given that Sparta is home to an advanced technological civilization, it's likely that colonies or manned bases or defensive installations exist on one or more (or all) of these moons, but this has never been confirmed. Whatever structures, if any, do exist on those moons, they are not easily visible from either space or the surface of Sparta.

   The fact that all of Sparta's moons are spherical (ellipsoidal) in shape indicates that they are all massive enough that their own gravities were sufficient to overcome the structural strengths of their materials and pull them into rounded shapes that were (and are) in hydrostatic equilibrium. This suggests that all five moons were at least several hundred kilometers in diameter. It is unclear whether any of them were massive enough to have or retain an atmosphere, but no signs of any weather patterns were visible in the brief views we were given of them.

   Although five moons were shown orbiting around Sparta in a certain holo-painting of Emperor Jason, only four moons were seen when Ship arrived at Sparta an unspecified number of years later. While it's possible that one of the five moons was destroyed and/or removed during the intervening time, it's more likely that the fifth moon was just out of range of the image which was centered on Ship or that it was on the opposite of Sparta and thus hidden behind it.

   Judging by that holo-painting, two of the moons have the same diameter. One of the other three moons, the smallest, is only about 80% as wide, one of the two bigger moons is about 20% wider, and the biggest moon is about 80% wider. In contrast, Sparta is about 6.8 times wider than the two similarly-sized moons. However, as a work of art, the holo-painting may not accurately depict the true relative sizes of the six bodies. Or maybe the spheres, if not the distances between them, were actually painted to scale.

   When Ship first arrived at Sparta, two of the four visible moons were purple and appeared to be the same size. However, one of those moons was partially hidden behind the planet while the other was not, so it could have been closer than the other which would mean that it was actually smaller. Of the other two moons, one had a green coloration and appeared to be be more than 2.5 times as wide as the purple moons but the fact that it had ever so slightly eclipsed both Sparta and one of the purple moons indicates that it was in the foreground and therefore at least somewhat smaller than it appeared to be. The fourth visible moon had a beige color and a surface crisscrossed with multiple straight lines, giving it a cracked appearance. This moon appeared to be orbiting Sparta at a greater distance than the others but that could easily have just been due to the point of view from which it was seen.

   Ship was fairly close to the green moon when she was struck and severely injured by laser cannon fire, causing her to crash on Sparta. Three days later, at the Imperial Chalet, a small pale blue moon was visible in the background, high in the sky, as Kip and Sandy fled while Star-Lord kept Rruothk'ar busy. Later, when Star-Lord and Prince Gareth were dueling, a much larger pale green moon could be seen behind them, just rising over (or setting below) the mountains in the background. Minutes later, when Ship intervened to prevent three Imperial troopers from summarily executing Star-Lord for killing Prince Gareth, a large yellow moon was visible behind her, one that was completely above the mountain peaks in the background. It is unclear whether the green and yellow moons were different bodies or actually the same moon whose apparent color had changed due to its position in the sky and how the light reflected from it had been scattered differently by the change in the number of layers of atmosphere through which it had to pass before being observed.

   About seventy years later, during Jubilee Night, a heavily-cratered muddy brown moon was visible in the sky over the imperial capital, Calyndriar. Hours later, after Ship and Star-Lord had arrived at the palace, an orange moon with a possibly-different pattern of craters was visible in the sky. It's again unclear if these were two different moons or the same moon viewed under differing lighting conditions. It's also unclear if the pattern of craters was actually different or if the glare of the fireworks going off in front of the moon in one of the views had obscured some of the craters, making the pattern look different.

--Marvel Preview#11; Starlord, the Special Edition#1

Notes: The large featureless sphere visible above the capital on Jubilee Night, the one whose color changed from pale orange to a darker orange to yellow over the course of the night, was definitely NOT a moon. In the absence of any in-story explanation, I can only speculate that it was some form of artificially-generated decoration, something like a hologram that was projected into the sky as part of the Jubilee celebration.

   Although John Byrne and Terry Austin drew a beautiful picture of Sparta and its moons, the laws of physics make it impossible for such large masses to orbit so closely together. In the real world, the gravitational forces exerted by the various bodies would tear one or more of them apart. So, either this image isn't meant to by taken literally or the laws of physics in that solar system are different than in the real world. Probably just artistic license.

images: (without ads)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, pages 34-35 (main image)
      page 1 (Calyndriar and the palace)
      page 3, panel 6 (close-up partial view of the palace)
      page 2, panel 1 (close-up view of one of the palace's towers)
      page 40, panel 1 (Imperial Chalet)
      page 38, panel 2 (searching Thrace)
      page 50, panel 1 (holo-painting of Sparta and its moons)
      page 49, panel 1 (view of a moon from the Imperial Chalet)
      page 56, panel 3 (view of a moon from the roof of the palace)

Marvel Preview#11 (Summer, 1977) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Byrne (penciler), Terry Austin (inker), John Warner (editor)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1 (February, 1982) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Byrne (penciler), Terry Austin (inker), Jim Salicrup (editor)

First Posted: 04/13/2024
Last updated: 04/13/2024

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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