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Xenophon and Sparta.
Edited by Anton Powell and Nicolas Richer

ISBN 978-1-910589-74-8, 300pp, 2020,

Xenophon has long been identified as a chief contemporary source, if not the chief source, for the history of classical Sparta. But his information has commonly been treated in restricted ways. Scholars who have studied Xenophon’s oeuvre have tended to apply a knowledge of Athenian history and of general Greek literature rather than a specialist knowledge of Sparta. And specialist students of Sparta have commonly `mined’ elements of Xenophon’s work without sufficient regard either for the author’s general characteristics and biases or for the variety of his literary genres.

In this volume, 12 internationally-recognised experts on Sparta examine the quality of Xenophon’s information on central topics of Laconian history, in the light of the author’s political, literary and intellectual characteristics.

This book is the first of a series in which the Classical Press of Wales will apply to Spartan history the approach it is already using for the history of Rome’s revolutionary era: focusing in turn on each of the main sources on which historians depend, and analysing with a combination of historical and literary methods.


The Editors

Anton Powell has published extensively on the history of Sparta, Athens – and the literature of the Roman Revolution. He is the author of an introduction to source-criticism in Greek history, Athens and Sparta (3rd edition 2016), and the editor of Wiley Blackwell’s Companion to Sparta (2 volumes, 2018). His monograph Virgil the Partisan (2008) was awarded the prize of the American Vergilian Society for ‘the book that makes the greatest contribution toward our understanding and appreciation of Vergil’. He has twice been Invited Professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, in 2006 for Greek history and in 2008 for Latin literature.

Nicolas Richer is one of France’s leading authorities on Sparta. His major works include Les Ephores (1998), La Religion des Spartiates (2012), Sparte: cité des arts, des armes et des lois (2018), and Atlas de la Grèce classique (2017).
He has also published widely in English.
Nicolas Richer is Professor at L’Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon



The Contributors

Vincent Azoulay
Gianluca Cuniberti
Giovanna Daverio Rocchi
Ephraim David
Jean Ducat
Thomas J. Figueira Vivienne Gray
Noreen Humble
Ellen Millender
Pierre Pontier