The Shadow of Sparta
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In the past twenty years the study of Sparta has come of age. Images prevalent earlier in the 20th century, of Spartans as hearty good fellows or scarlet-cloaked automata, have been superseded by more complex scholarly reactions. As interest has grown in the self-images projected by this most secretive of Greek cities, increasing attention has focused on how individual Greek writers from other states reacted to information, or disinformation about Sparta.
The studies in this volume provide new insights into the traditional historians' question, "What actually happened at Sparta?". But the implications of the work go far beyond Laconia. They concern preoccupations of some of the most studied of Greek writers, and help towards an understanding of how Athenians defined the achievment, or the failure, of their own city.
μέρο? ειρηται καλως ἱπὸ των προγενεστέρων πειραθωμεν ἐπελθειν. 13 W. D. Ross, Aristotelis Politica, (Oxford 1957) praef. ix; id. ‘The development of Aristotle’s thought’ in I. Düring and G.E.L. Owen (eds), Aristotle and Plato in the Mid-fourth Century (Göteborg 1960) 8. 14 For the fragments of the Spartan Constitution see V. Rose, Aristotelis qui ferebantur Librorum Fragmenta (Leipzig 1886, repr. 1967) fr. 532–46. 15 Pol. 3 1, 1275b8ff., gives more detailed information on Sparta.
diverge (cf. n. 63), for the latter maintained mistresses (Anab. 110 2) and was suspected of a liaison with the Cilician queen (1 2 12 f.). The hero of Cyropaedia resists sexual entanglement, recalling Agesilaus’ alleged self-control – save that Agesilaus was resisting a boy (Ages. 5 4 f.). Respublica Lacedaemoniorum claims that Lycurgus enjoined relationships which could provide moral training and that erastai (lovers) and boys no more have sexual intercourse than do parents and children or
reference to the longterm fete of Lykourgos’ measures. His laws are said to have remained unchanged until the end of the Peloponnesian War when gold and silver money first flowed into Sparta, and with money, greed and a desire for wealth prevailed through the agency of Lysander, who, though incorruptible himself, filled his country with the love of riches and with luxury…thus subverting the laws of Lykourgos (30 1). Here problems of wealth take centre stage as the cause of Sparta’s downfall, a
Spartan king Pausanias is said to have written after he had been condemned to death and had fled into exile in the year 395. Our sole explicit testimony to the pamphlet’s existence is in a sentence attributed to Ephorus himself by the geographer Strabo (8 5 5; 366c). Recent studies (e.g., Tigerstedt 1965: 110–11; David 1979) have argued convincingly that Pausanias’ work was written in support of the traditional Lykourgan laws which he accused his political enemies at home of having violated. The
image-building as evidenced by the works of leading foreign writers. Secondly, it is clear that the Spartiates, brought up as individuals to rely constantly not upon their own judgment but upon the guidance of others, were also collectively, for all their fierce pride, remarkably responsive to the opinions of outsiders, even to foreign ambassadors on matters of policy (Hodkinson 1983). Thirdly, in view of the known social interactions between the Spartan and other elites, it seems likely that