In this fully revised and updated edition of his groundbreaking study, Paul Cartledge uncovers the realities behind the potent myth of Sparta.

The book explores both the city-state of Sparta and the territory of Lakonia which it unified and exploited. Combining the more traditional written sources with archaeological and environmental perspectives, its coverage extends from the apogee of Mycenaean culture, to Sparta's crucial defeat at the battle of Mantinea in 362 BC.

part I|40 pages


chapter one|8 pages


chapter two|10 pages

The physical setting

chapter three|5 pages


chapter four|15 pages

The Stone and Bronze Ages to c.1300

part II|128 pages

Preclassical Lakonia c.1300–500BC

chapter five|9 pages

Greek oral tradition as history

chapter six|13 pages

The last Mycenaeans c. 1300–1050

chapter seven|23 pages

The first Dorians c.1050–775

chapter eight|25 pages

The Lakonian Renascence c.775–650

chapter nine|25 pages

The consolidation of Lakonia c. 650–490

chapter ten|31 pages

Helots and Perioikoi

part III|91 pages

Classical Lakonia C.500–362BC

chapter eleven|21 pages

The crisis of Lakonia 490–460

chapter twelve|36 pages

The Athenian wars c. 460–404

chapter thirteen|32 pages

The reduction of Lakonia 404–362

part IV|17 pages

Results and prospects

chapter fourteen|10 pages

The decline of Spartiate manpower

chapter fifteen|5 pages