The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece

The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece

Paul Cartledge

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 1400078857

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Spartans were a society of warrior-heroes who were the living exemplars of such core values as duty, discipline, self-sacrifice, and extreme toughness. This book, written by one of the world’s leading experts on Sparta, traces the rise and fall of Spartan society and explores the tremendous influence the Spartans had on their world and even on ours. Paul Cartledge brings to life figures like legendary founding father Lycurgus and King Leonidas, who embodied the heroism so closely identified with this unique culture, and he shows how Spartan women enjoyed an unusually dominant and powerful role in this hyper-masculine society. Based firmly on original sources, The Spartans is the definitive book about one of the most fascinating cultures of ancient Greece.

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reforms attributed to Lycurgus 560 Accession of King Croesus of Lydia 556 Chilon Ephor (trad.) 550 Sparta allies with Tegea, Gitiadas adorns Brazen House of Athena, throne of Apollo-Hyacinthus at Amyclae by Bathycles 550 Cyrus II the Great founds Persian Empire 546 Fall of Sardis and kingdom of Croesus to Persia 545 Battle of the Champions (in Thyreatis) 525 Sparta ousts Polycrates tyrant of Samos 520 Accession of Cleomenes I 519 Cleomenes in Boeotia 515 Accession of

educational reinforcement was the wondrously omniprovident Lycurgus. LYCURGUS Plutarch, having conceived his great biographical project of writing and comparing the lives of great Greeks and Romans of the more or less distant past, could hardly not write a life of Lycurgus. Indeed, he paid him the huge compliment of pairing him in parallel with Numa, the great lawgiver of the early Romans. However, as he confessed in his prologue to the Lycurgus, writing a biography of him was not easy, as

the state of the ancient Greeks’ knowledge of anatomy and their patriarchalist sexism, was blamed for that failure. Yet Anaxandridas loved her, or at any rate wanted to keep hold of her, and it was only when formally commanded to do so by the Ephors that he finally agreed to take another wife. That second wife came, interestingly, from the family of the sage Chilon and became the mother of the future Cleomenes I, who will have been born some time after about 560 BC. However, Anaxandridas did not

after all, had sworn to follow the Spartans whithersoever they might lead them, and not vice versa. This new restriction on the Spartans’ hitherto unfettered power to command the allies to do their bidding was actually a source of strength rather than weakness. It gave the allies the sense that their wishes might count for something, and the feeling that the organization was based on some degree of mutuality. A quarter of a century later, in 480, it was the Spartans’ Peloponnesian League that was

to liberate Delphi from the control of the Aetolian League. This goal no doubt owed as much to Areus’s desire for personal power and prestige as it did to piety, though Sparta’s traditional regard for Delphi was probably genuine enough. At any rate, though Areus’s failure was costly in military terms, it was by no means a completely inglorious one, not least because he had managed to persuade Megara, Boeotia, some Argolic towns and four towns in Achaea in the northern Peloponnese (which were to

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