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The Spartans: A Very Short Introduction

Andrew J. Bayliss

May 2022

ISBN: 9780198787600

176 pages
Paperback
174x111mm

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99

Famous throughout history for their doomed stand at Thermopylae, and immortalised by contemporary Athenian writers who viewed them as the exotic other, the Spartans, and their brutality and bravery, both fascinate and appal us. Andrew Bayliss reveals the best and the worst of this harsh society, separating myth from reality.

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Description

Famous throughout history for their doomed stand at Thermopylae, and immortalised by contemporary Athenian writers who viewed them as the exotic other, the Spartans, and their brutality and bravery, both fascinate and appal us. Andrew Bayliss reveals the best and the worst of this harsh society, separating myth from reality.

  • Lifts the veil on the fascinating and sometimes appalling practices of the most famous ancient Greek society
  • Tells the true story of Thermopylae, drawing on the latest research
  • Focuses on key aspects of Spartan society
  • Seperates the myth surrounding the Spartans from the reality
  • Part of the Very Short Introductions series - over ten million copies sold worldwide

About the Author(s)

Andrew J. Bayliss, Senior Lecturer in Greek History, University of Birmingham

Andrew J. Bayliss is a Senior Lecturer in Greek History at the University of Birmingham. He has published extensively on Sparta and Ancient Greece, including After Demosthenes: The Politics of Early Hellenistic Athens (2011) and Oath and State in Ancient Greece (2012), which was co-written with Alan H. Sommerstein. He has completed commentaries on the fragments of the lost Spartan authors Sosobius, Molpis, Nicocles, Hippasus, Phaestus, and Polycrates for Brill's New Jacoby Online, and is currently working on a database of ancient references to Spartan emotions, actions, and attitudes.

Table of Contents

    1:Introduction: the legend of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae
    2:Sparta's civic structure
    3:Raising a Spartan
    4:The Spartan lifestyle
    5:Helots and perioikoi
    6:Spartan women
    7:The Spartan mirage and normalising Sparta
    8:The modern reception of Sparta
    Further reading
    Index

Reviews

"With a succinctness worthy of his subjects - whose 'linguistic austerity' inspired the word 'laconic' - Bayliss distils extensive research to offer an engaging, lucid insight into this unique society." - Madeleine Finney, The Mail on Sunday

"A new history of these extraordinary and often terrifying people, which is both scholarly and highly entertaining." - Christopher Hart, Mail Online

"The Spartans will prove of value not only to the layman interested in learning something about this most famous ancient warrior culture, but also the seasoned student of the subject." - A. A. Nofi, New York Military Affairs

"With deceptive ease, [Bayliss] guides his readers not just across well-trodden ground but sometimes to unexpected vantage points from where he can challenge orthodox views... The Spartans punches above its weight, and with 14 black-and-white illustrations (including two maps), references, suggestions for further reading and an index, it's a knockout. Anyone interested in Sparta should read it, and every school library should own it." - David Stuttard, Classics for All

"Throughout the book, Bayliss never shouts. Yet, in his quiet, succinct way, he has produced a book that can with some justice claim, 'This is Sparta.'" - Alastair Brans, Australian Book Review