The Shadow of Sparta by Stephen Hodkinson, Anton Powell

By Stephen Hodkinson, Anton Powell

Some time past two decades the research of Sparta has come of age. pictures wide-spread prior within the twentieth century, of Spartans as hearty reliable fellows or scarlet-cloaked automata, were outmoded by way of extra complicated scholarly reactions. As curiosity has grown within the self-images projected via this so much secretive of Greek towns, expanding recognition has involved in how person Greek writers from different states reacted to details, or disinformation approximately Sparta.
The stories during this quantity supply new insights into the conventional historians' query, "What truly occurred at Sparta?". however the implications of the paintings pass a long way past Laconia. They crisis preoccupations of a few of the main studied of Greek writers, and aid in the direction of an realizing of the way Athenians outlined the achievment, or the failure, in their personal urban

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That Menelaus was the only man who came home from Troy unwounded. The scholiast expends fruitless ingenuity in trying to reconcile this with Homer's account tIl. ), where he is wounded by all arrow of Pandarus; and Stephens regards the claim as obviously unfair because of the two lines that immediately follow. But I take these to mean simply that Menelaus had fine weapons in fine containers which he brought back unused from Troy, not that he used none while there. At any rate, within the context of this play Peleus' assertion is not challenged.

It certainly sounds like a drastic remedy. So far little of any significance has emerged: merely antiquarian trifles. II Next, the physical appearance of Aristophanes' Spartans. Nothing is said of the famous long hair cultivated by male Spartiates, though Spartan sympathizers in other Greek states are mocked for it (W 466; B 1280-3). Similarly, Lakonizers who do not trim their beards are ridiculed in the Wasps (474-6), and sure enough, when the Spartan ambassadors arrive in the Lysistrata, they are said to be 'trailing (helkontes) their beards' (L 1072).

Archidamos, who invaded Attika; Agis, who fortified Dekeleia; Gylippos, largely responsible for the Athenian defeat in Sicily; Lysander, the victor of Aigospotamoi; Pausanias, who reconciled the warring parties in 403 - these are major figures. And there are many others. Where are the jokes about these people? All concentrated in the lost plays? Hardly. The only Spartan that Aristophanes ridicules, as we have seen, is Kleomenes, safely dead for some eighty years. How are we to explain this silence?

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