Ancient History & Civilisation

Further Reading

Scholars will consult, for example, among recent monographs, N. M. Kennell, The Gymnasium of Virtue: Education and Culture in Ancient Sparta (University of North Carolina Press, 1995), and S. Hodkinson, Property and Wealth in Classical Sparta (Classical Press of Wales, 2000). Among collections of essays, the three co-edited by A. Powell and S. Hodkinson, The Shadow of Sparta (Routledge, 1993), Sparta: New Perspectives (Classical Press of Wales, 1999) and Sparta Beyond the Mirage (Classical Press of Wales, 2002), as well as Spartan Reflections by P. Cartledge (Duckworth, 2001). For reference, the two prosopographies by A. S. Bradford, from earliest times to 323 BC (revision of P. Poralla), and from 323 BC to AD 396 (published by Ares, 1985 and Beck, 1977 respectively). In addition, the extensive commentary on Plutarch, Agesilaus by D. R. Shipley (Oxford University Press, 1997).

The following brief selection of books in English is intended for the non-expert reader.

Ancient Sources

1. With the focus primarily on society and institutions:

Herodotus, The Histories (rev. edn, Penguin, 2003) under ‘Lacedaemonia' and ‘Sparta’ in the index.

Xenophon, Agesilaus, in Hiero the Tyrant and Other Treatises (Penguin, 1997).

Aristotle, The Politics (rev. edn, Penguin, 1992), pp. 139–49.

Pausanias, Guide to Greece, Books 3 and 4 (on Laconia and Messenia respectively, Penguin, 1984, vol. 2).

A concise commentary on Xenophon, Spartan Society, as well as comparative material about other states, may be found in J. M. Moore, Aristotle and Xenophon on Democracy and Oligarchy (rev. edn, Chatto & Windus, 1983).

2. With Spartan history and politics as the principal focus:

Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War (Penguin, 1972).

Xenophon, A History of My Times (Penguin, 1979).

Plutarch, Lysander (in The Rise and Fall of Athens, rev. edn, Penguin, forthcoming).

Polybius, The Rise of the Roman Empire (Penguin, 1979), 2.4671; 5.34–9; 6.10 and 45–50.

Modern Studies

For the best introduction, read Cartledge's Epic History, and then Whitby.

1. With the focus primarily on society and institutions:

P. A. Cartledge, Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History c.1300–362BC (rev. edn, Routledge, 2002).

S. B. Pomeroy, Spartan Women (Oxford University Press, 2002).

N. Sekunda, The Spartan Army (Osprey Elite Series, 66,1998).

M. Whitby (ed.), Sparta (Edinburgh University Press, 2001).

2. With Spartan history as the principal focus:

P. A. Cartledge, The Spartans: An Epic History (second edn, Pan, 2003).

P. A. Cartledge, Agesilaos and the Crisis of Sparta (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987, reissued Duckworth, 2000).

P. A. Cartledge and A. Spawforth, Hellenistic and Roman Sparta: A Tale of Two Cities (rev. edn, Routledge, 2002).

For the fifth century, A. Powell, Athens and Sparta: Constructing Greek Political and Social History from 478 BC (second edn, Routledge, 2001), especially Chs. 4 and 6, can be highly recommended; likewise, for the succeeding period, the concise treatments of Athens, Sparta, Thebes and Central Greece, and the Eastern Greek World in L. A. Tritle (ed.), The Greek World in the Fourth Century (Routledge, 1996).

A Note on the Texts

For the Lives and the Sayings I have mostly adhered to the texts of the relevant Teubner editions. The Greek text of the Sayings presents persistent problems, as does that of Xenophon, Spartan Society, for which I have used the edition by F. Oilier (1934).

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