Upon further reveiw, I have decided to not have you start the Herodotus tonight. Instead I would like you to enjoy your evening. See you tomorrow.
There is no homework tonight. Please come ready to take notes tomorrow about Athenian history. If you have some free time and are interested, I have attached a 20 page summary of Athenian history during the Archaic period. It is not required reading though.
Tonight I would like you to read two pieces: “Spartan Society” by Xenophon and “Code of a Citizen Soldier” by Tyrtaeus. First some biographical information on the authors:
- Lived 430 – 350 B.C.E, born in Athens
- Historian, soldier, and mercenary
- Student of Socrates
- Although born in Athens, he affiliated himself with Sparta.
- Known particularly for his history of the Peloponnesian War, the war between Athens and Sparta.
- Spartan lyric poet
- Wrote sometime around the time of the Second Messenian War
I remind you that tomorrow’s class will be a discussion about how the Spartans further the concepts of arete and eunomia. Please read the following sections of the Xenophon carefully: 1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, 18, 19, 20, 28, 30, 31. If you have time, you should read the others as well.
For the Tyrtaeus, please be able to answer the following questions:
1. What is the passage in the poem (maximum four lines) that best exemplifies its message?
2. Keeping mind the date of the poem and its historical context, how does its message act as Spartan “propaganda” and further its system?
First I must admit to you that I made a mistake in class today. In discussing the choice of the ephors, I confused in my mind the way that ephors and the gerousia were chosen. It is the gerousia that is chosen by the Apella shouting, with the ephors locked in the windowless room.
Second for homework tonight, please read the second half of the Plutarch. Take good notes and do the following:
Define these terms:
Be able to describe in detail:
1. The Spartan institution of marriage.
2. The agoge
Answer these questions:
1. What laws and traditions mentioned in this section further illuminate Lycurgus’ desire to make Sparta a strict meritocracy based on physical strength and mental aptitude?
2. Taken with the stories of Charilaus, Alcander, and Lycurgus’ self-imposed exile what does the story of Lycurgus’ death tell us about the important characteristics of
3. According to Plutarch, what causes the deterioration of the Spartan system?
Tonight you will read a selection from another of the great early historians, Plutarch. He was a 1st century AD figure of Greek birth who became a Roman citizen. He was born near the town of Delphi, and later studied in Athens. In addition to his work as a historian, Plutarch worked as a magistrate and an ambassador. He was also a priest for many years at the famous temple in Delphi. Probably his most famous work is Parallel Lives. In it he compares the lives of Greek and Roman leaders, noting particularly their similarity of virtue (or not). You will be reading one of the biographies The Life of Lycurgus. Lycurgus was the semi-mythical Spartan leader who is credited with creating the Spartan system which we will be studying over the next several class periods.
For tonight, please read sections 1-23 (pages 1-7) in The Life of Lycurgus by Plutarch attached below. Be able to define the following terms:
Also consider the following questions:
1. What do the stories of Charilaus and Alcander tell us about the characteristics of leadership valued by the Spartans?
2. What bias from Plutarch must one consider when reading his account of Lycurgus’ trip to Delphi in section #8?
3. What impact did the reforms below have on the nature of Spartan society?
a. Redistribution of land
b. Currency reform
c. Useless and superfluous foreign crafts
Remember as well that you will have an assessment on the Monday after Thanksgiving break covering chapters 1-11. The exercise will consist of 15-20 short answer questions about the plot and the terms. There will also be two or three passages from the book that I will ask you to identify and describe their significance. You will not be able to use your notes for this assessment.
Tonight please read Chapter 11.
Questions and points of emphasis
1. How do the elements of the Spartan agoge reflect their cosmogony?
2. Note Pressfield’s use of epic simile in his battle description.
3. Compare the Spartans and their enemies just before battle
4. What is the significance of “spiking it” or “palming the pine”?
5. What role does hesma phobou play?
6. What do we learn from Leonidas’ post-battle speech?
Read Chapters 8-10
5. Esoterike harmonia
6. Exoterike harmonia
1. How would you compare the description of Spartan military training to that of Astakos (Xeo’s hometown) in Chapter 3?
2. How would you compare Leonidas’ behavior and interaction with his troops to Xerxes’?
3. What can you conclude about the Spartan’s reverence for the shield? Why do think it was so important?
4. What is the significance of the phrase “a mind has many rooms”?
5. Why does Bruxieus emphasize the Iliad and the Odyssey with Dio and Xeo?
6. How do the elements of the Spartan agoge reflect their cosmogony?