Focus of Study: Cultural and Everyday Life

Focus of Study: Cultural and Everyday Life

Option G: Focus of Study- Cultural and Everyday Life, including:


 ‘Some Ivories from Artemis Orthia, Sparta

Ivories from the Geometric Stratum of Artemis Orthia, Sparta


Art (sculpture, painted vases, bone and ivory carving):

Modern Scholarship

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Architecture (Amyklaion, Menelaion, the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia etc.):

Literary

  • Thuc., 1.10.2: Draws a contrast between the architectural grandeur of Athens and Sparta`s absence of a synoikised city-centre (astu) and lack of any prominent structures, which Thucydides argued reflect neither Sparta`s dominance over two-fifths of the Peloponnese, or her hegemonic position in the wider region.
  • Pausanias, 3.17.2-3: provides a description of the Temple of Athena of the Bronze House. After this, Pausanias (17.4-6) continues with a brief outline of the smaller sanctuaries around Athena`s temple.
  • Pausanias, 3.18.9-19.1: In this extract, Pausanias provides us with a detailed eye-witness account of the Amyklaion temple itself
  • Pausanias, 3.19.2-5: here, Pausanias then describes the cult image, which did not seem to greatly impress Pausanias, and the pedestal upon which the statue stood.
  • Polybios, 5.19 – a minor reference to the Temple of Apollo at Amykles.

Archaeological Sites

  • Amyklaion: The sanctuary of Apollo at Amykles, known in antiquity for its adornment and pillar-like statue of Apollo, was said to be the burial grounds of Hyakinth, and was thus the location where the festival of Hyakinthia was celebrated. For information of the site`s layout, testimonia, and excavation history, see the Amykles Research Project.
  • Menelaion: The Menelaion was initially a Mycenean palace which underwent three periods of occupation before been abandoned in the 13th century B.C.E.  This site was later re-used in late eighth century B.C.E. as a shrine for the hero-worship of Menelaus and his wife, Helen.  As a result, deposits have been found here containing many votive offerings, especially those dating to the seventh and sixth centuries. For further details regarding this site, see the University of Warwick`s website on the site. 
  • Temple of Artemis Orthia: The temple of Artemis Orthia was notorious for its unusual initiation rites of whipping young male Spartans before an altar to the goddess (who is believed to have been a fertility goddess).  A large quantity of votive offering has also been uncovered at this site and testifies to its importance in Spartan religion.  For more information on the site and its practices, see Georgieff, D. M., ‘About the Origin of the Goddess Artemis Orthia’ [Working Paper] 

Writing and Literature (Alkman and Tyrtaeus):

Literary

  • To read the poetry lyrics of Alkman (all of which exist today as fragments), see the following link: https://www.theoi.com/Text/LyraGraeca1B.html.
  • For examples of the militaristic overtones of Tyrtaeus` poetry, see Poem 10 (on fighting and dying for one`s country), 11 (on being part of frontlines of the Spartan phalanx), and 12 (on the benefits of displaying personal courage in battle).
  • Philochoros, Atthis F216, in Athen., Deip. 630-31l; Dio Chrysostomus, Orationes 36.10: on the educational usage of Tyrtaeus` poetry in the agoge and syssitia, and its employment by Spartans on the march.

Modern Scholarship


Leisure Activities

Literary

  • Xeno., Const. Lac. 4.7: a high degree of esteem was placed upon hunting as a pastime for Spartans.
  • Pausanias, 3.14.8-10: according to Pausanias, a popular stomping ground amongst the Spartan youths was an area known as the ‘Planetree Grove’ (Platanistas), where the youths either set trained boars to fight, or would organise themselves into bands and engage with the other groups in a violent contest to push their opponents in the adjacent river.

Modern Scholarship


Marriage Customs

Literary

  • Plut., Lykurgus 15.1-3: on the incentives and penalties employed to encourage marriage amongst the Spartan populace.
  • Plut., Lykurgus 15.3-4: on the ‘abductive’-style of the Spartan marriage ceremonies, and the highly secretive manner of the Spartan courtship.  Note that Plutarch mentions that the women were not married at a younger age, as was the practice of many other poleis in Greece, but when they were older and in a more mature physical condition.

Modern Scholarship


Greek Writers’ Views of Sparta:

Modern Scholarship

  • Debnar, P., and Cartledge, P., ‘Sparta and the Spartans in Thucydides’, in Tsakmakis, A., and Rengakos (eds.), Brill's Companion to Thucydides, (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2006), pp. 559-587.
  • Luraghi, N., ‘Thucydides and Spartan Power in the Archaeology and Beyond’, in Rechenauer, G., and V. Pothou (eds.), Thucydides – a violent teacher? History and its representations, (Göttingen: V&R unipress GmbH, 2011), pp. 185-198.
  • Christesen, P., Chap. 19 – ‘Xenophon`s Views on Sparta’, in Flower, M. A. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Xenophon, (Cambridge; N.Y.: Cambridge U. P., 2017), pp. 376-399.
  • Lucchesi, M. A., ‘Plutarch on Sparta – Cultural Identities and Political Models in the Plutarchan Macrotext’ [PhD Diss.], (Oxford: University of Oxford, 2014): although detailed, this thesis offers a great deal of insight regarding Plutarch`s choice of using Spartan figures such as Lykurgus (see pp. 63-100) and Agesilaus (see pp. 116-200).  Lucchesi reaches the conclusion that Plutarch aimed not just to provide an assessment of individual lives, but also used his Parallel Lives as a way of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of Sparta`s political and social framework.
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