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Sparta Paperback – December 31, 1899

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415939577 ISBN-10: 0415939577

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Sparta + A History of Sparta, 950-192 B. C. + On Sparta (Penguin Classics)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Academics and students alike will welcome this addition to the useful Edinburgh Readings on the Ancient World series ! as an introductory reader for the advanced study of Sparta, it is difficult to see how [the] book could be bettered. Academics and students alike will welcome this addition to the useful Edinburgh Readings on the Ancient World series ! as an introductory reader for the advanced study of Sparta, it is difficult to see how [the] book could be bettered. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Michael Whitby studied Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. After several years at St Andrews, where he became Professor of Ancient History, he was appointed Professor of Classics and Ancient History at Warwick University in 1995. He is co-editor of Classical Review, Cambridge Ancient History XIV, and the forthcoming Cambridge History of Ancient Warfare. His publications include Theophylact Simocatta (OUP); The Emperor Maurice and his Historian (OUP); and Evagrius Scholasticus (LUP). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (November 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415939577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415939577
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,307,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts VINE VOICE on November 30, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If classical history is your interest, this is a book you need to check out. It covers a broad array of topics concerning the ancient Spartans, from their emergence onto the world-historical stage to their ultimate decline at the Battle of Leuctria in 371BCE. Along the way we learn about their customs, the male educational system (the Agoge), their economic base, the subjection of the Helots, their relations with other Greek states and much more.
The present book is a collection of essays that cover all of these topics and more. The authors are among the foremost scholars of ancient Sparta in the world. The conglomerate of historians include Paul Cartledge, G.E.M. de Ste Croix and A. Andrewes, among others.
While the book is basically written for the novice and serious classical history buff alike, it would nonetheless be prudent to have some degree of familiarity with the Spartans prior to turning the front cover. Those persons who pick this up without any prior knowledge of Spartan history will be apt to get lost.
This book is highly recommended for people who have a basic understanding of Laconian history. You won't find a better collection of essays on the Spartans anywhere else; of that much I am certain.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By aaa-Pam TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Sparta was compiled by Michael Whitby as a reader for college students. It follows the familiar academic pattern of a brief topic introduction followed by relevant essays.

Who should NOT consider reading this book?

Readers of "popular" histories are likely to find this material dry. Indeed "Sparta" doesn't even have a cohesive narrative story.

The book will also likely not satisfy readers looking for THE ANSWER to any particular question. The approach is academic, which means that frequently you'll be presented with contradictory evidence, various researchers' opinions, and then the current author's attempt to adjudicating the "facts". The reader can expect a lot of conversation about uncertainty, with discussions of why this or that authoritative source bears listening to. Arguments will be along the lines of: XXX says this about how Herodotus may have misunderstood or misrepresented the term YYY. With a discussion following of how this affects the interpretation of the inheritance laws, or some such similar topic.

Who should consider reading this book?

This book should appeal to people who have an interest in one of the selected topics (see Table of Contents). The reader who will be best served by the book will have a broad (but not necessarily in-depth) background in ancient Greek history, politics and literary sources. Which is not to say that you have to be an expert. I certainly am not a classicist and I enjoyed the articles.

Considerations and Summary :::
If you are looking for an introduction to Sparta and things Grecian, continue on with your search. "Sparta" is not a book for novices.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Sohl on November 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a collection of essays by several experts on Sparta covering all the major aspects of their culture. Those used to studying such books may be jaded by the number of them that seem to serve no other purpose than to give the various contributors a place to hear themselves talk while adding little to the reader's knowledge as they verbalize vague thought processes that lead to theories on relatively insignificant matters. Not so this one.

Laid out in a logical progression, the various essays provide the "meat-and-potatos" of Spartanology including coverage of land ownership, sexuality, perioicoi, reliability of early spartan history, Sparta's decline, etc. Also, the contributors have mostly written their articles in an accessible fashion.

Like the previous reviewer said, this book may require some knowledge of Sparta, and Paul Cartledge's "the Spartans" makes the perfect introduction to this volume, almost like 2 halves makiing a whole.

Michael Whitby's "Sparta", better than any other collection on Sparta I've read, should be required reading for the ancient greekophile seeking info on the Spartans.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Fox on February 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pam by far has written the best review for this book. I have read as much as I can but can't read much at a time because it is so dry. The way everything is presented in this book was a downer for me. It is written in a way to form your own opinions, but then doesn't give enough detailed and vital information to even do so with a clear vision and interest. It looks like someone just copied and pasted information from many different sources to make a book. I gave 3 stars due to the information on the subject matter IF it is correct. I also wanted to know more about the military operations in Sparta. Above all, it is not worth $25, I would purchase a used one if you're still interested.
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