Classicists should infuriate other humanists, in the way that the handsome scholar-athlete who volunteers to help dyslexic children and is a genuinely nice guy should infuriate the guy who just made it onto the football team and has a hard time keeping up his GPA, or the kid with the great GPA who can’t do a pull-up—but they don’t hate him, because he’s just so good. That, at least, is how this historian feels whenever he reads a classicist.
These feelings of bitter self-recrimination are a normal part of the intellectual life, according to most intellectuals, but especially strong within me because I have just finished Victor Davis Hanson’s The End of Sparta, first published in 2011 and issued in paperback this spring. It was an absolutely infuriating experience. Isn’t enough for Hanson to have conceived of a genuinely original theory for the development of classical Greece? Can’t he be satisfied with roiling the waters of military history with his arguments for a “western Continue reading ““The End of Sparta” — A Review”→
“To read the Latin & Greek authors in their original,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “is a sublime luxury.” Fortunately, for those who don’t read Greek and Latin, the great works of Classical literature are available in first-rate translations. The following five classics are some of the best works from the astonishing variety and brilliance of Greek and Roman literature. Continue reading “A Summer With Virgil”→
Ancient Sparta turned its conquered neighbors into indentured serfs — half free, half slave. The resulting helot underclass produced the food of the Spartan state, freeing Sparta’s elite males to train for war and the duties of citizenship. Continue reading “The New American Helots”→
As the Thebans help the freed helots build their new city of Messenê, the Argive general Epitêles decides his men are no longer needed and will head home to Argos, leaving the Thebans and Messenians to their work: Continue reading “The End of Sparta: An Excerpt”→