Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History 1300-362 BC
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In this fully revised and updated edition of his groundbreaking study, Paul Cartledge uncovers the realities behind the potent myth of Sparta.
The book explores both the city-state of Sparta and the territory of Lakonia which it unified and exploited. Combining the more traditional written sources with archaeological and environmental perspectives, its coverage extends from the apogee of Mycenaean culture, to Sparta's crucial defeat at the battle of Mantinea in 362 BC.
covered only by a shapeless mass of loam produced by weathering. However, despite the forbidding nature of the terrain, Perioikic communities succeeded in maintaining themselves here – a suitable reminder with which to close this chapter that man is never wholly the slave of the physical environment. Notes on further reading The outstanding though somewhat outdated contribution to our under-standing of Greek geography has been made by Philippson: Kirsten 1956 includes a bibliography of his
and a defeat suffered by the Corinthians in the Megarid (Hill 1951, 1.5.4) constituted a powerful challenge both to the unity of the Peloponnesian League and to Sparta’s leadership of it. So powerful indeed that, notwithstanding the recent earthquake and Messenian revolt, Sparta was prepared to send out of Lakonia 1,500 of ‘its own’ hoplites. Despite the arguments of Holladay 1977b, Thucydides’ elliptical account must surely presuppose a decision taken by Sparta and then the Peloponnesian League
in the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age in Lakonia. There is a strong Minoan influence, and a very high percentage (over 50%) of the painted pottery finds persuasive parallels for shape, range and decoration with the MM IIIB and LMIA pottery of Kythera’ (Taylour 1975, 17). In other words, the cultural frontier postulated by Coldstream for the second half of the third millennium had been trampled underfoot by the end of the seventeenth century. Ay. Stephanos thus provides a
impeccable, but it is possible that Dorieus was attempting to play on discontent in this recently Perioikized region in order to bolster his frustrated claim to the Agiad throne. As we shall see, however, there is no discernible trace of Perioikic discontent in the Thyreatis twenty years later. The next major episode in Kleomenes’ turbulent career concerned relations between Sparta (and its allies) and Peisistratid Athens. Herodotus goes out of his way to stress that prior to the outbreak of
ruling class) favoured by Kleomenes. As we shall see in Chapter 11, Sparta was considerably reluctant to commit large numbers of its troops north of the Isthmus of Corinth in the defence of Greece in 480–479, and one reason for this reluctance may well have been Helot disaffection. I cannot leave Archaic Sparta and Lakonia without contributing to the perennial debate on Spartan ‘austerity’ or the supposed ‘death’ of Spartan (or, as I prefer, Lakonian) art. One of the most alluring and enduring