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Publisher's Summary

Experience what it was like to be raised a Spartan man or woman, the changes in military tactics and equipment that made their armies so feared, and the tragic flaw that guaranteed that this Greek city-state's power, no matter how widespread or intimidating, could not endure.
©2011 The Great Courses (P)2011 The Great Courses

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Spartan Topic, Spartan Lecture

If the aim of Spartan culture was to strip away everything—art, literature, philosophy, architecture—that might impede the production of a superbly trained soldiery, then this lecture is a perfect reflection of its subject.

We get facts. And facts. And some more facts. Very rarely is any cause-and-effect (the achievement of Greek historiography, as practiced elsewhere) introduced. The Hoplite revolution took place—but why? The Spartans conquered Messinia—but why? The phalanx formation is described, but we’re never told the origin of the term (it comes from the Greek for “finger”).

I admit, I didn’t know the whole story of the Spartan boy and the fox, alluded to more than once in the works of P. G. Wodehouse. (What a reminder of how deeply Classical civilization once permeated our popular culture.) Still, this free sample isn’t tempting me to purchase any of Professor Aldrete’s five lecture series on offer at Audible.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful