Images of ancient Sparta have had a major impact on Western thought. From the Renaissance to the French Revolution she was invoked by radical thinkers as a model for the creation of a republican political and social order. Since the 19th century she has typically been viewed as the opposite of advanced liberal and industrial democracies: a forerunner of 20th-century totalitarian and militaristic regimes such as the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. Yet positive images of Sparta remain embedded in contemporary popular media and culture. This is the first book in over 40 years to examine this important subject. Eleven ancient historians and experts in the history of ideas discuss Sparta's changing role in Western thought from medieval Europe to the 21st century, with a special focus on Enlightenment France, Nazi Germany and the USA. The volume also covers new aspects of Sparta's reception not covered in previous work.
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