Two views on Sparta and the Laconians

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sean_m
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Two views on Sparta and the Laconians

Post by sean_m » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:02 pm

I think that this review by Donald Lateiner of Paul Rahe, The Spartan Regime: Its Character, Origins, and Grand Strategy (2016) talks about the main ways scholars disagree about how to study early Greece (including thinly-recorded places like Macedonia before Philip): should we rely on contemporary, indigenous evidence (which is mostly archaeology, inscriptions, and scraps of poetry) or literature written by outsiders hundreds of years after the fact? Should we treat literature as a collection of facts to be arranged, and focus on whose interpretations best fit that collection of facts, or as something which can sometimes be completely wrong and misleading? Should we see early Greece as a place where institutions were established in misty antiquity and remained unchanged until the time the first surviving historian starts to write about them, or as a place like the societies we know which constantly change and reinvent themselves and where people seeing opinion turn against them declare that something they just invented is really an eternal part of their culture and must never be challenged?

http://www.michiganwarstudiesreview.com ... 17-004.pdf
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sean_m
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Re: Two views on Sparta and the Laconians

Post by sean_m » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:30 pm

Also, in case Rahe stumbles over this thread ... the review is very critical, but it seems that it can't point to errors of fact, and that because it is so accusatory it describes points of disagreement clearly which another reviewer might mush behind vague words. Whether its charges are fair is something that readers of the book in question can decide for themselves, but I have read scholars on opposite sides of each of my three questions.
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Paralus
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Re: Two views on Sparta and the Laconians

Post by Paralus » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:39 am

That's a particularly excoriating review Sean. Lateiner is clearly unimpressed. I'll have to read the book for myself.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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