In Rome’s Greek-speaking provinces, where ‘ancient tradition was the touchstone of civic life’, archaism of one sort or another was a widespread civic phenomenon. In Classical times Sparta ‘placed a premium on maintaining a special relationship’ with the sanctuary of Apollo. The force of tradition emerges strikingly in the inscriptional evidence for the perpetuation of these ties into the early third century. In the second century the traditional dances of Spartan girls at the sanctuary of Artemis at Caryae, on Sparta’s north-east frontier, were well-known to contemporary Greek writers. Like other guardians of the Greek cultural tradition, such as the Athenians or the Rhodians, the Spartans were open to literary or rhetorical castigation if they seemed to fail in their trust: hence the polemic of Aelius Aristides against the contemporary Spartan taste for the pantomime and the alleged censure of Spartan effeminacy by the Philostratean Apollonius.