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The Spartans

ISBN13: 9781585674022
ISBN: 1585674028
Binding: Hardcover
List Price: $35.0
Publisher: Overlook Hardcover
Published Date:
Edition 1
Pages: 304
Average Goodreads rating: 3.84/5 (81 ratings)

The Spartans is a compelling
narrative that explores the culture and civilization of the most famous
"warrior people": the Spartans of ancient Greece, by the world's
leading expert in the field. Sparta has often been described as the original
Utopia--a remarkably evolved society whose warrior heroes were forbidden any
other trade, profession, or business. As a people, the Spartans were the living
exemplars of such core values as duty, discipline, the nobility of arms in a
cause worth dying for, sacrificing the individual for the greater good of the
community (illustrated by their role in the battle of Thermopylae), and the
triumph of will over seemingly insuperable obstacles--qualities that today are
frequently believed to signify the ultimate heroism. Paul Cartledge is the
distinguished scholar and historian who has long been seen as the leading
international authority on ancient Sparta. He traces the evolution of Spartan
society--the culture and the people, as well as the tremendous influence they
had on their world and even ours. He details throughout the narrative the lives
of such illustrious and myth-making figures as Lycurgus, King Leonidas, Helen
of Troy (and Sparta), and Lysander, and explains how the Spartans, although
they placed a high value on masculine ideals, nevertheless allowed women an
unusually dominant and powerful role--unlike Athenian culture with which the
Spartans are so often compared. In resurrecting the ancient culture and society
of the Spartans, Cartledge delves deep into ancient texts and archeological
sources and complements his text with illustrations that depict original
Spartan artifacts and drawings, as well as examples of representational
paintings from the Renaissance onwards--including J.L. David's famously
brooding "Leonidas." This illuminating volume that ties in with the
PBS television series of the same name, airing in the summer of 2003. Booklist
called Cartledge's The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization, a companion to the PBS
series, "superb," while The International History Review called
Cartledge's The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece "an
original and insightful work."