By Elizabeth Rawson
Old polemics on Sparta (by Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, and others) have had a striking afterlife within the political and academic considered Renaissance Italy, the France of the Philosophes, Whig England, and Nazi Germany. This publication outlines the little we all know of historic Sparta, describes Greek response to the ambiguous associations of the nice rival to democratic Athens, makes a primary try to keep on with the next fortunes of the controversy, and exhibits Sparta's role--over twenty-five centuries--in the highbrow heritage of Europe.
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Extra info for The Spartan Tradition in European Thought (Clarendon Paperbacks)
As Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at Corpus she played a central role in the life of the College. She was Master of Common Room, Assistant Dean, Garden Master, and general arbiter elegantiae. Her kindly presence was welcoming to guests and her cultivated fastidiousness exerted a civilizing influence upon her colleagues and pupils alike. -v- The Spartan Tradition in European Thought ( 1969) was the first of her books. It was followed by Cicero: A portrait ( 1975) and her magnum opus, Intellectual Life in the late Roman Republic ( 1985).
The Spartan phalanx became the admiration of Greece, the one professional force among a crowd of inexpert militias. The city, till far into her decline, never deigned to fortify herself, and the helots and Messenians were generally kept cowed. Perhaps it was at first only lack of time and the contempt common among Greek aristocracies which prevented the Spartiate taking active part in trade or manufacturing, which were left to the perioeci. It was believed in the fourth century that Lycurgus, in order to banish money-making and luxury, had actually forbidden the use of money save in the form of awkward iron spits.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford KEITH THOMAS -vi- PREFACE CLASSICAL scholars are aware of the long and remarkable tale of the idealization: of Sparta in antiquity, and a good deal of work has been done on the subject. But when I attempted to carry on the story, in outline, down to the present day--for a lecture, and also for my own interest--I was surprised to find that almost no part of it had been explicitly treated. Furthermore, such recognition of Sparta's attractiveness in certain periods and contexts as I have found tends to be either so vague as to be useless (it means precisely nothing to say that 'So-and-so admired Sparta') or else actually exaggerated.