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The Spartans and Propaganda


One could argue that much of the image of Sparta to the outside world was carefully cultivated propaganda . Explain how and why the Spartans generated this mythology about themselves.

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I suspect that some of the mystery surrounding the Spartans was not purposeful, but involved the geographical difficulty of reaching their polis. Their town was/is located in a part of Greece that is very difficult to reach (it is surrounded by very rugged mountains and, unlike most major Greek towns, was not extremely close to the sea). Thus, because of the difficulty of accessing Sparta, I would expect that their polis remained something of a mystery and curiosity, especially to the Athenians, who provide us with a lot of what we think we know about the Spartans (see especially Aristophanes' comedy Lysistrata, Herodotus' Histories, and Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War).

Thus, I would think that it was not so much the Spartans themselves who ...

Solution Summary

The solution considers whether the ancient Spartans generated propaganda about themselves or whether other Greek city-states generated propaganda about the Spartans. The solution also provides suggestions for a number of ancient sources about the Spartans.