Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!
“Cartledge brings [the Spartans] to life again with verve, style, and great trivia.” —Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
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 exemplar 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, and the triumph of will over seemingly insuperable obstacles—qualities that today are frequently believed to signify the ultimate heroism.
In a work that resounds with the battle cries of the ancient Greeks, Paul Cartledge traces the evolution of Spartan society—the history of the culture and the people, as well as the tremendous influence they had on their world and even ours. The narrative also details 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.
This is an an illuminating volume that ties in with the PBS television series of the same name, which aired in summer 2003.
“The history and atmosphere of Sparta are well conveyed by Cartledge.” —Jasper Griffin, The New York Review of Books
“Paul Cartledge’s interpretation of Spartan history of the last twenty-five years established itself as the closest thing we have to an orthodoxy.” —Dr. Hans van Wees, Greece & Rome
“The value of this book is as an introduction to, and overview of, a fascinating society in ancient Greece. It is well written and interesting and there is no question about its scholarship.” —The Journal of Military History
“[Cartledge] engagingly speculates on events, people and gods of thousands of years ago. . . . Ancient history springs to life.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A remarkable chronicle of Sparta’s rise and fall. . . . Cartledge’s crystalline prose, his vivacious storytelling and his lucid historical insights combine here to provide a first-rate history of the Spartans, their significance to ancient Greece and their influence on our culture.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“A lucid, literate history of a model society. . . . Chocked with learning lightly worn, and a pleasure for anyone interested in the ancient world.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[An] engaging narrative. . . . In his panorama of the real Sparta, Cartledge cloaks his erudition with an ease and enthusiasm that will excite readers from page one.” —Booklist
“Commendable and fascinating. . . . A good overview of the people and the issues.” —Library Journal
“A fine overview of the rise and fall of a singular culture, spiced with anecdotes, quotations, brisk summary, and real insight.” —Seattle Times