Spartan History Podcast

Spartan History Podcast

Presenting a chronological history of the ancient Spartan peoples. Beginning with their earliest mentions in the epics of Homer, the Iliad and Odyssey, right through to the collapse of Spartan dominance in the 4th century BCE.

Episodes

May 15, 2022 108 min

EPISODE 34 THE HISTORY OF PERSIA WITH TREVOR CULLEY

The Persian empire constituted the greatest threat to Greek independence the individual city-states had yet faced. Indeed, it was a threat of such dire concern that its degree would not be equalled until the Roman conquest of Greece in the 2nd century BCE.

As we are now embarking upon a series of episodes to tell the story of the Greco-Persian wars, it is only fitting that we take t...

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EPISODE 33 CLEOMENEAN SPARTA

Cleomenes the first sat upon the Agiad throne of Sparta from around 520 to 490 BCE. Although his downfall just preceded the advent of the Greco-Persian wars, his reign was nonetheless pivotal to ultimate Greek victory in those conflicts. 

Despite the various levels of government in Sparta designed to curtail individual regel authority, Cleomenes practically dictated Spartan policy for the entirety of his ...

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March 13, 2022 61 min

EPISODE 32 EMBASSIES AND ENEMIES

By the middle of the 6th century, Sparta was, through her alliances, the most powerful military force Hellas had yet seen. There was just one thorn in their side, one pressing issue that hadn't been sufficiently resolved, Argos. 

This time around I'll take an expansive look at the Argive history and break down the enmity between the two cities. Predictably, and it should come as no surprise, i...

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February 13, 2022 50 min

EPISODE 31 A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Likely by around 550 BCE, Sparta had the most powerful military in ancient Greece. They used that to their favour and created a coalition of Peloponnesian cities all bound to Sparta through unequal treaties of relative, mutual alliance. Called the, Lakedaimonians and their allies by ancient authors we know this union as the, Peloponnesian League.

In the episode I get right into the nuts and bolts of h...

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EPISODE 30 A SUMMARY OF LYCURGAN SPARTA WITH PROFESSOR PAUL CARTLEDGE

Over the past half a century no one has done more to forward the field of ancient Spartan research than Professor Paul Cartledge. His gravitas and authority on the topic are second to none and his eloquence in describing these ancient warriors is more akin to poetry than prose.

His presence on the Spartan History Podcast is most fitting, in that without his extens...

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October 31, 2021 43 min

EPISODE 29 CASTES OF SPARTA

This time around I take a look at the various castes and sub-castes within Spartan society.  What we see in popular culture is but the tip of the iceberg, those mighty red cloaked warriors bestriding battlefields like giants from myth. 

Banned from any art other than that of war, the Spartiate ruler class was supported in their endeavours by a silent multitude of people, divided into several different clas...

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September 12, 2021 66 min

EPISODE 28 THE BRONZE LIE WITH MYKE COLE

I had the honour, pride and privilege of sitting down with author Myke Cole for this instalment of the Spartan History Podcast.

His recently released book, the Bronze Lie: Shattering the myth of Spartan warrior supremacy, tackles the often ill conceived appropriation of the Lacedaemonian story in it's most mythical and fantastical form.  Often being used to promote ultra nationalist moveme...

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EPISODE 27 HEAVY METAL SPARTANS WITH DR JEREMY SWIST

We're shifting gears a little with this episode as I'm joined by Dr Jeremy Swist, lecturer and classicist at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

Dr Swist is an expert in the field of classical reception within the genre of Heavy Metal Music. This style exhibits a very particular type of Laconophilia or, affection for Sparta. In our discussion we go back to the beginnings...

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EPISODE 26: THE SPARTAN REGIME WITH PROFESSOR PAUL RAHE

Author, classicist and historian Professor Paul Rahe was kind enough to sit down with your host for this instalment of Spartan History Podcast.

Paul has authored several books on the Lacedaemonians and his work, the Spartan Regime, is incredibly poignant to our current narrative. Focusing on the archaic formation of the Spartan institutions and character, it has been a great hel...

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June 13, 2021 44 min

EPISODE 25: SPARTIATES

Welcome back folks to the Spartan History Podcast. Stepping back into the solo format to once again put another facet of pre-classical Sparta under the microscope. This time it is the ruling class, the Homoioi or Spartiates as they referred to themselves. 

This section of society, dedicated entirely to the pursuit of warfare, were propped up by the helot class who managed their vast land holdings. There was a c...

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EPISODE 24: PART 2 OF A COLABRORATION WITH CASTING THROUGH ANCIENT GREECE PODCAST.

For something a little different this month's release is part 2 of a collaboration podcast I was fortunate enough to record with Mark from Casting Through Ancient Greece.  For those who haven't listened to part 1, you can find it at the following link, or at any of the various hosting services out there. 

https://castingthroughancientgreece.co...

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EPISODE 23 : HOPLITES AND THE SPARTAN WAR MACHINE

This time around folks it is my great honour to have Professor Paul Bardunias as my guest on the show. Paul is a co-author of the book 'Hoplites at War: A comprehensive analysis of heavy infantry combat in the Greek world - 750 to 100 BCE.

Fittingly we discuss just that, developing the concept of Hoplite warfare in Greece from its advent in the mid-8th century through to the eve o...

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March 14, 2021 58 min

Hello again dear listeners, this month we're back with episode 22, Raising Spartans.

The treatment of Spartan children by their society has often been sensationalised by modern depiction, but these conceptions started in the ancient world where the Sparta of peoples imaginations, the mirage, was the predominant view point.

This episode takes an in depth look at how children of both sexes were raised in Sparta's state sponsor...

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February 14, 2021 43 min

EPISODE 21 GOVERNING SPARTANS

Welcome back folks and to the first of what will be a series of episodes designed to explain the different facets of the Spartan world in the lead up to the Greco-Persian wars.

This time its the governmental structures of Sparta that we'll be focusing on to see the various bodies responsible for Spartan law-making in action.

It's popularly believed that Sparta was an oligarchic state, and to be fa...

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January 10, 2021 40 min

EPISODE 20 THE SPARTAN YOKE

Happy new year folks, welcome back to the Spartan History Podcast, the only podcast called the Spartan History Podcast. We're turning 20 with the release of this episode and I couldn't be more pleased to be back behind the microphone. I hope you all had a safe holiday season.

This time we're taking the Spartan story into the 7th century as the city consolidates her hold on the recently acquired...

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November 29, 2020 43 min

EPISODE 19 THE EXPANSION OF SPARTA

The time has come to let Sparta out of the box, so to speak. Trapped as I've kept it since this series began, my aim was to explain the myths and early traditions of this city before moving on to it's inexorable dominance of ancient Greek battlefields. This episode sees the beginnings of that supremacy as in the space of a mere century it's horizon's expand from a loose collection o...

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November 15, 2020 43 min

EPISODE 18 JASON AND THE GOLDEN FLEECE, PART 4.

Welcome back to the Spartan History Podcast, the agenda for this episode will be the conclusion to my retelling of Apollonius of Rhodes' Argonautica.

With the challenge set for them by King Aeetes successfully completed, the Argonauts are celebrating their efforts. However, in the king's palace, Aeetes is plotting their collective doom, unwilling to part with the fleece.

Medea, w...

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November 1, 2020 38 min

EPISODE 17, APOLLO'S FAITHFUL.

Welcome back to Spartan History Podcast, we're back on the Spartan narrative this time and taking a look at the early religious practices of the city's inhabitants.

Although often understated, the Spartans were an incredibly pious people, even by the standards of piety set by the ancient Greek world of the day. Herodotus recorded in his histories that they placed more faith in the words of t...

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October 18, 2020 35 min

EPISODE 16, JASON AND THE GOLDEN FLEECE  PART 3.

Welcome back to the Spartan History Podcast, this time around we'll be working through part 3 of my retelling of the Golden Fleece myth.

Apollonius begins book 3 of the Argonautica by, in true epic fashion, invoking the muses and their eternal wisdom. I begin this episode by taking a look at the tradition of the muses and their significance to epic oral poetry.

Following that we p...

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October 4, 2020 43 min

EPISODE 15, LYCURGUS, THE WOLF WORKER.

Welcome back to the Spartan History Podcast, this time we return to the Spartan narrative and sink our teeth into the most mercurial being of their legend, Lycurgus.

A liminal figure, striding over the threshold of the dark and archaic ages, the Spartans of the classical period were unsure of his status, divine or otherwise. An early Delphic oracle was even recorded expressing similar doubts as ...

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