Author Topic: Actually, the Spartans Weren’t All That Great  (Read 1786 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Actually, the Spartans Weren’t All That Great
« on: March 30, 2020, 00:31:03 »
Finally.... the truth will out :)

Actually, the Spartans Weren’t All That Great

Sci-fi author Myke Cole recently turned his hand to military history with his 2018 book Legion Versus Phalanx. In a follow-up volume,
The Bronze Lie, he takes a skeptical look at the myth of ancient Sparta.

“I analyze Sparta’s complete military record, and prove that they were not the super-warriors that they’re reputed to be, and that most people believe they were based on Frank Miller’s hit comic 300, which was then made into an even bigger movie by Zack Snyder,” Cole says in Episode 407 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

The military record of ancient Sparta might seem like an academic curiosity, but Cole says the subject has taken on new urgency in the current cultural context. “The symbology of the Spartans as the world’s ultimate badasses has been appropriated by the extreme right,” he says. “They’re used as this cult-like symbol of the far right, and I show how disastrously unhealthy that is.”
Last year Cole addressed the issue in his New Republic article “The Sparta Fetish is a Cultural Cancer,” which generated a strong backlash. “It really underscored to me that I’m doing the right thing, that people feel so strongly about this myth of Spartan military supremacy,” he says. “It showed me that I’m really mining a vein here that needs to be explored. So it only made me dig in and want to push on with it.”

He hopes The Bronze Lie will reclaim Sparta from the far right, and show that everyone can draw lessons from the actual history.
“They were cowards just like we are, they were greedy just like we are, they showed fear just like we do, they lost just like we do, and they also were capable of heroics and great things,” he says. “I think flawed humans are so much easier to connect with and take inspiration from than this crazy idea of mythical super-warriors, which nobody ever was, let alone the Spartans.”

https://www.wired.com/2020/03/geeks-guide-spartans/
"Now listen to me you benighted muckers. We're going to teach you soldiering. The world's noblest profession. When we're done with you, you'll be able to slaughter your enemies like civilized men." Daniel Dravot

Offline Colin P

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Re: Actually, the Spartans Weren’t All That Great
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2020, 00:49:07 »
Just watching 300 right now, I must be bored, I read about the Naval battle of Salamis as a kid, far more exciting for me. As I recall Sparta was highly dependent on a steady supply of slaves to keep it's economy going.

Offline Remius

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Re: Actually, the Spartans Weren%u2019t All That Great
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2020, 06:22:15 »
Just watching 300 right now, I must be bored, I read about the Naval battle of Salamis as a kid, far more exciting for me. As I recall Sparta was highly dependent on a steady supply of slaves to keep it's economy going.

We had a previous thread on this.  They actually we%u2019re not .  They had a good propaganda machine.  It had a massive slave economy and it%u2019s standing Army%u2019s main purpose was to keep it going.  They actually lost more battles than they won. 

Good discussion here.

https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,127254.msg1517060.html#msg1517060
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 19:12:59 by Remius »
Optio

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Actually, the Spartans Weren’t All That Great
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2020, 11:12:28 »
Excellent read, thank you.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Actually, the Spartans Weren’t All That Great
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2020, 12:23:57 »
I am so utterly thankfully that I did not pay to watch that movie, what a piece of trash.

Offline Retired AF Guy

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Re: Actually, the Spartans Weren%u2019t All That Great
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2020, 19:01:06 »
We had a previous thread on this.  They actually weren%u2019t.  They had a good propaganda machine.  It had a massive slave economy and it%u2019s standing Army%u2019s main purpose was to keep it going.  They actually lost more battles than they won. 

Good discussion here.

https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,127254.msg1517060.html#msg1517060

They also took bribes from the Persians.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 19:10:35 by Retired AF Guy »
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Actually, the Spartans Weren’t All That Great
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2020, 21:30:13 »
There are lots of good works about the Spartans, and opinions running the full range of the spectrum (Victor Davis Hanson calls Sparta an "Apartheid State" based on the nature of the Helot slave economy, but most other reputable works I've read are pretty balanced). Of course I'm also a bit biased from reading primary source material like Herodotus, Xenophon and Thucydides.

Perhaps the best fictional treatment I've read is "Gates of Fire" by Steven Pressfield (who has branched out into writing novels of ancient conflicts), although the nature of the sotry inevitably paints the Spartans in a pretty heroic light. Still a good read, now that we are stuck at home for a while....
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.