How Did Greek Sources Influence Sparta

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Greek Sources on Sparta Tyrtaeus (7th century BC) Around the middle of the 7th century BC, Tyrtaeus wrote poetry that encouraged the Spartans to fight bravely during the Second Messenian War. They were a form of propaganda to enforce Spartan devotion and bravery, and thus were taught as a part of the Spartan education. Soldiers advanced into battle to the poetry of Tyrateus to rouse the spirit and to inspire military efficiency. Apart from fragments, four of Tyrtaeus' elegies have survived. Who he really was remains a mystery. Ancient Greek stories described him variously as a poet sent by Athens to help the Spartans, a lame schoolmaster and composer, and a Spartan general. Some scholars doubt that he ever existed. However, there is evidence…show more content…
Xenophon's Anabasis is a history of his experiences from 401 BC as one of almost 13 000 Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus of Asia Minor in his ill-fated attempt to overthrow his brother, Ataxerxes, king of Persia. During this expedition and later campaigns, Xenophon came to know many Spartans, including king Agesilaus II. When Athens was at war with Sparta in the late 390s, Xenophon was exiled by the Athenians and given a home by the Spartans. Among Xenophon's works that deal with Spartan society are his Hellenica, a work dealing with the conflicts between Sparta, Athens and Thebes in the period 411–362 BC. Another is his Consitution of the Lacedaemonians which was not intended to be a political analysis of the Spartan constitution and its workings, but rather designed as a pamphlet in praise of Sparta and her customs as established by Lycurgus. Xenophon was biased toward Sparta and greatly admired the Spartan traditions like the agoge which produced fine soldiers. Therefore, there is criticism of those Spartans who no longer lives up to the Spartan ideals of modesty and obedience. He also down plays the less attractive aspects of Spartan society such as the treatment of the helots by the krypteia. Xenophon's small work has been a major influence in the creation of the Spartan mirage by giving the Spartan legend its definitive form as literature. While providing a wealth of detail not found in other sources, he makes little attempt to analyse of criticise. It may be argued that his political and military involvement with Sparta makes him a most unreliable witness. However, he was an eye-witness and provides valuable information about

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