The cultural sterility of Classical Sparta was notorious in antiquity, as it remains today. The Roman city’s links with contemporary Greek ‘high’ culture, were sufficiently developed by the fourth century for Sparta to emerge as a minor centre of higher studies. The foundation at Sparta by the third century of no fewer than three agonistic festivals of international status, allowed the city to acquire a certain prominence on the Roman Empire’s agonistic circuit. Before finishing with high culture, ‘the old nexus between philosophy, oratory and medicine’ requires us to consider the neglected evidence for Spartan doctors. The earliest is met with in an inscription from Gytheum, dated to about 70 BC, recording the city’s grant of proxeny to a Spartan citizen called Damiadas. Agonistic festivals now tended to attract all kinds of unscheduled acts by performing mountebanks, one of whom can be recognised in the Carthaginian muscleman whose performance earned him a grant of Spartan citizenship.