This collection, first published in 1989, investigates aspects of the Spartan polity which have often been overlooked or underestimated. Viewed at least until the Renaissance as the epitome of classical virtues, Sparta has in the last two centuries suffered a rapid decline in reputation among liberal-minded scholars, repelled by many of the repressive measures employed by this remarkably successful city-state, which for centuries dominated mainland Greece.
Recent studies have emphasised permanent problems which beset Sparta: the small size of her citizen body, the tensions between noble Spartiates and commoners, the ambiguous role of women, and, of course, the helots. Classical Sparta: Techniques Behind Her Success seeks to present this intriguing polis by exploring how its perennial difficulties were, for so long, ingeniously overcome. Specifically, the essays in this volume address themselves to broadly ideological issues, demonstrating how skilful propaganda and deception contributed significantly to the longevity of the Spartan state.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Foreword Paul Cartledge 1. Laughter in Spartan Society Ephraim David 2. Drink, Hybris and the Promotion of Harmony in Sparta N.R.E. Fisher 3. Was Kleomenes Mad? Alan Griffiths 4. Inheritance, Marriage and Demography: Perspectives upon the Success and Decline of Classical Sparta Stephen Hodkinson 5. Spartan Propaganda J.T. Hooker 6. Spartan Religion Robert Parker 7. Mendacity and Sparta’s Use of the Visual Anton Powell; Index