The Spartans

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The Spartans

<p>According to myth the Spartans were sown from the teeth of a dragon. Their fearsome reputations revolved around a brutal warrior training which began from birth. The stand of the 300 Spartans

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According to myth the Spartans were sown from the teeth of a dragon. Their fearsome reputations revolved around a brutal warrior training which began from birth. The stand of the 300 Spartans against the Persian Hordes in 480BC is a byword for courage against the odds. They were said to have engaged in child sacrifice, ritual murder and strange rites of passage. The reality of life in ancient Sparta far outstrips the myth. Set in a Peloponnesian homeland of extraordinary mystery and beauty, this course will look at Spartan society, religion and art.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Aristotle, “The Constitution of the Lacedaemonians” (Spartans) (available in Penguin Classics)
  • Cartledge, P., 2002, The Spartans: An Epic History, London – Bettany Hughes' excellent and lively 3 part documentary The Spartans, made in 2004 is available on DVD and YouTube and is effectively a companion work to this book.
  • Hodkinson, S., Ed., 2009, Sparta: Comparative Approaches, Oxford
  • Hornblower, S., 2002, 3rd Ed, The Greek World: 479-323BC, Routledge (both this and the work by Osborne below include good introductory histories of Sparta in a broader Greek context)
  • Osborne, R., 1996, Greece in the Making: 1200-479BC, Routledge, NY
  • Penguin Classics collection, On Sparta - includes Plutarch’s biographies of prominent Spartans, his Sayings of the Spartans and the Sayings of Spartan Women. Better still the book included Xenophon’s Spartan Society as an Appendix
  • Pomeroy, S., 2002, Spartan Women, Oxford
  • Whitby, M., 2002, Sparta, Edinburgh


COURSE OUTLINE

  • The geography of Sparta, Spartan origins in the Mycenaean Age and Sparta in Homeric myth
  • Spartan upbringing, social institutions and relationships with neighbouring territories
  • Spartan women and Spartan religion


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand how and when the city state of Lacedaemonia was formed and delve into its mythic and historic past.
  2. Have had an enjoyable orientation though some of the most beautiful sites in south eastern Greece and been given information on how to get there!
  3. Gained an appreciation of the complexities of Spartan society and religion beautifully illustrated with many examples of Spartan archaeological sites and art.