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Images prevalent earlier in the 20th century, of Spartans as hearty good fellows or scarlet-cloaked automata, have been superseded by more complex scholarly reactions.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.
practices and laws that are, or can be doctored to seem, directly suited to his case. Any possible antipathy to such procedures is carefully mitigated, by making the poet Athenian, and by placing Spartan adherence to such laws, and consequent success, essentially in the past. The message seems to be that Athens can model herself on the practices that led to the former glories of both the great cities; the concern is wholly with the comparison between present Athens and the classical past of
with Kock’s numbers in brackets. J. Henderson’s commentary on Lysistrata (Oxford 1987) should now be consulted at all relevant points. 2 Earlier discussions in E.N. Tigerstedt, The Legend of Sparta in Classical Antiquity I (Stockholm etc. 1965) 122–7, 423–6; U. Cozzoli, ‘Relazioni tra Atene e Sparta nelle prospettive di Aristofane’ in E. Lanzilotta (ed.), Problemi di Storia e Cultura Spartana (Rome 1984) 121–42. 3 Fr. 100 (108); cf. Olck in RE 6.2 col. 2123 s.v. Feige. 4 K 278–9; cf.
short, the Spartans were the best enemies the Athenians could have had.57 The Spartan is harsh abroad. Pausanias, certainly, is the prime example, but the harsh Spartan reappears in the leaders of the foundation of Heraclea in Trachis: it was in fact the governors sent out from Sparta itself who were very largely responsible for the decline of the city and the drop in its population; their harsh and often unjust administration had the effect of frightening away the majority of the colonists, so
work began as a colloquium held in March 1991 at the University of Wales, Cardiff, funded by Cardiff and organised under the aegis of the London Classical Society and the University of Manchester Ancient History Seminar. The original idea for the project was Powell’s. Hodkinson and Powell shared equally in the inviting of contributors. Powell, with help from Hodkinson, saw the resulting book through the press. The aim of the project was to cast light both on non-Spartan thought and on Spartan
have been an intermittent rather than an annual institution,102 it was not endured by all Spartiates, since Spartan authorities only sent out those who appeared to be particularly intelligent (Plutarch Lyc. 28), and we do not know that those who passed through it were subsequently grouped in a special corps; the nocturnal murder of helots is not presented as an obligatory execution of a single helot by each Spartiate within the krypteia – some may have killed far more, while others may have