In the past twenty years the study of Sparta has come of age. Images prevalent earlier in the 20th century, of Spartans as hearty good fellows or scarlet-cloaked automata, have been superseded by more complex scholarly reactions. As interest has grown in the self-images projected by this most secretive of Greek cities, increasing attention has focused on how individual Greek writers from other states reacted to information, or disinformation about Sparta.
The studies in this volume provide new insights into the traditional historians' question, "What actually happened at Sparta?". But the implications of the work go far beyond Laconia. They concern preoccupations of some of the most studied of Greek writers, and help towards an understanding of how Athenians defined the achievment, or the failure, of their own city.