Ancient polemics on Sparta (by Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, and others) have had a remarkable afterlife in the political and educational thought of Renaissance Italy, the France of the Philosophes, Whig England, and Nazi Germany. This book outlines the little we know of ancient Sparta, describes Greek reaction to the ambiguous institutions of the great rival to democratic Athens, makes a first attempt to follow the subsequent fortunes of the debate, and indicates Sparta's role--over twenty-five centuries--in the intellectual history of Europe.
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