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"A Kinder, Gentler Sparta?" Topic


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Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2021 8:24 a.m. PST

So the Spartans were an entirely stoic, militaristic culture of death-seeking hard-bodied fanatics, right?

Wrong, according to this article in the October Smithsonian: link

And they loved poetry and dancing and not a bit of hedonism, too: link

Interesting articles, at the very least. Certainly challenges assumptions made even here.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2021 9:08 a.m. PST

I make different mistakes, myself. Certainly choral recitation (a Spartan specialty) and dance don't make the impression on later historians left by plays and sculpture. But discussing Sparta's last notable poet--in the 7th Century--doesn't say much one way or another about what Sparta was in the 4th Century.

Raising helot hoplites wasn't unique to Brasidas, by the way. It seems to have been a standard Spartan move at the start of a serious war. Perhaps also worth noting that half-breed Spartan/helot children were accepted as fully Spartans if they passed the agoge (the Spartan training regimen.) This was true at a time when you had to be of citizen descent on both sides to become an Athenian citizen. Sparta and Athens were different, but in complicated ways.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2021 11:23 a.m. PST

Someone needs to rehabilitate the reputation of Spartan cuisine.
YouTube link

Augustus09 Oct 2021 9:54 a.m. PST

If they say the Spartans wore their hair long in combat, they are wrong….

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