RESOURCES AND TIPS FOR FURTHER
RESEARCH AND READING
of this site is based on extensive research including, but not limited
to, the sources listed below.
number of works by ancient historians are readily available to us today
in translation. For anyone with a serious interest in ancient history,
these works are a "must." However, keep in mind that all
these works were written during or after the Peloponnesian War, and all
by outside observers of Sparta. Not a single ancient account
of Spartan society from the Spartan perspective survives.
Society, late 5th
2nd century AD.
Histories, mid 5th
War, late 5th
All of the above historical
sources are available from Penguin Books.
understanding of Sparta has been altered and enriched by careful
analysis of archaeological evidence and by trends, such as women's
studies, that cast new light on this intriguing ancient society. Below
are the sources I found most enlightening and helpful in understanding
Conrad M., Das
Andere Sparta, Philipp v.
Zabern Verlag, Mainz am Rhein, 1996.
of Sparta: 950-192 BC, W.W.
Norton & Co., New York, 1968.
and Powell (ed.), Sparta:
New Perspectives, The Classical
Press of Wales, 2000.
Barnes and Noble, New York, 1993.
Gesellschaft, Kultur, C.H.
Beck Verlag, München, 1998.
A Re-Examination of the Evidence, Manchester
University Press, Manchester, 1949.
Nigel M., The Gymnasium of
Education and Culture in Ancient Sparta, Univ.
of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill & London, 1995.
Powyn, Early Greece,
William Collins and Sons, London,
Stephan, Der Kosmos Sparta,
Greece, British Museum Press,
Maria (ed.), Reine
Frauen in Männerdomänen der antiken Welt,
Taschenbuch Verlag, 1994.
Raphael, Women and Law in
Greece, University of North
Carolina Press, Chapel Hill & London, 1990.
Wealth in Classical Sparta, Duckworth
and the Classical Press of Wales, 2000.
University Press, 2002.
and Lakonia, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 2nd ed.
Powell, Anton, Athens
and Sparta, Routledge, London, 1988.
Nigel M., Spartans:
A New History, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 2010.
Battle of Marathon, Yale University Press,
Sarah B., Goddesses,
Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Antiquity, Schocken
Books, New York, 1975.
and the Kings of Sparta: Mightiest Warriors, Fairest Kingdom,
Praeger, Santa Barbara, 2011.
of Troy: The Story Behind the Most Beautiful Woman in the World,
Vintage Books, New York, 2005.
480 BC: Last Stand of the 300, Osprey, Oxford, 2007.
are by profession compelled to keep “strictly to the
facts,” but when facts are few, imprecise, contradictory, and
all come from outsiders, then the picture they deliver is incomplete at
best and misleading at worst. Trying to understand Sparta
based on the historical record only is like trying to understand Africa
based on the colonial records. Furthermore, historians are
often so focused on the fragments of evidence they do have, that they
forget they are writing about human beings remarkably similar to
ourselves. This is the reason a novel, based on solid research and a
sound understanding of human nature, can often deliver better insight
into strange or distant societies than a strict account of known but
fragmentary facts. The following novels are well researched attempts to bring Sparta back to life and improve our understanding of a complex and distant society.
I too have written six novels about ancient Sparta. In each of these I have combined research with common sense and an appreciation for the essential humanity of the Spartans themselves.
cities at war – Two men with Olympic ambitions - And one slave – the finest
Set in archaic Greece, and based on incidents
recorded in Herodotus,
this is the tale of a young man's journey from tragedy to
triumph – and the story of the founding of the first
nonaggression pact in recorded history: the Peloponnesian
Helena P. Schrader has again created a novel
full of rich and realistic characters while providing readers a
remarkable insight into archaic Spartan society.
Well researched and intelligently interpolated from recorded facts,
Schrader's Sparta is a refreshing change from the stereotypes
encountered in much modern literature. "…an
extremely entertaining novel....Anyone interested in exploring the
years prior to the Persian invasion – the alliances and
intrigues, especially between Sparta and her future ally Tegea
– will enjoy this novel." Jon Martin,
author of The
Headlong God of War and In Kithairon's
is another gem to polish and keep in my bookcase when I want a look
back to Greece!" Millien. A free teacher
is also available for teachers using this novel in their classes.
Charioteer. View the book's
Charioteer can be ordered from bookstores or
on line retailers such
as amazon.com. Order
is in revolt, and the Messenians have been outwitting Sparta's crack
troops. On the advice of Delphi, Sparta requests that Athens appoint a
new supreme commander for Sparta's army. Athens, siding with
Messenia, intentionally selects an obscure schoolmaster unlikely to
help Sparta win the war, Tyrtaios. Tyrtaios was born lame, has no
military experience, and everything he has ever heard about Sparta
makes it the last place on earth where he wants to live.
The Spartan officer Agesandros is horrified by the "joke" Athens has
played on Sparta by appointing Tyrtaios as Sparta's Supreme
Polemarch. But as the son of a notorious brawler and drunk
who gained Spartan citizenship only after a radical reform of the
Spartan constitution, his voice counts for little. Furthermore, while
Agesandros is excessively ambitious, his sister is married to a helot,
and his nephew appears to have joined the rebellion against Sparta.
The widow Alethea, the daughter of a Spartan nobleman, was sent to
Athens for safety during the "Time of Troubles" that led to the Great
Reforms. She alone understands how Tyrtaios is suffering in
Sparta. Yet when her growing sons fall foul of the
authorities, she finds herself under increasing pressure to remarry,
and Agesandros is the most obvious suitor.
This novel is set in the archaic period – 250 years
before the Peloponnesian War that would warp Spartan society into a
caricature of its former self. It focuses on explaining how Sparta's
unique constitution evolved to make Sparta the first democracy in
They Singing In Sparta? can be ordered from
bookstores or on-line retailers such
as amazon.com. Order
In ancient Sparta during the Second
Messenian War, two women, one beautiful and one ugly, are captured and
enslaved in the same raid. This is the story of how each responds to
their new situation and the women they meet in Sparta.
beauty is so great that it captures the attention of the Messenian
leader, Aristomenes. He makes her a cherished concubine – until the
Spartan "Scourge of Messenia," Agesandros, captures Aristomenes'
palace. Niobe suddenly finds herself a slave, and the spoils of the
Spartan prince Anaxilas.
the beautiful and coveted Niobe, Mika is so disfigured by warts that
her own uncles sold her into slavery. She becomes the spoils not of a
prince but of Agesandros' squire, Leon, a slave himself. He sends her
back to serve his master's wife, Alethea, in Sparta.
Niobe provokes the hostility of the Spartan Queen, Mika encounters the
kindness of Alethea and her beautiful but spirited daughter, Kassia.
Soon Anaxilas turns his affections from Niobe to Kassia, while Mika
falls hopelessly in love with Leon, and Leon covets only the affection
picks up where Are
They Singing in Sparta? left off. Although the novel
revolves around unrequited love on all sides, it is really a reflection
on what beauty is and how it affects human interactions – with a surprise
Slave, Spartan Queen.
Slave, Spartan Queen can be ordered from bookstores
or on line retailers such
as amazon.com. Order
smaller of twins, born long after two elder
brothers, Leonidas is considered an afterthought from birth
– even by his mother. Lucky not to be killed for
being undersized, he is not raised as a prince like his eldest
brother, Cleomenes, but instead has to endure the harsh
upbringing of ordinary Spartan youth.
Barefoot, always a little hungry, and subject to harsh discipline,
Leonidas has to prove himself worthy of Spartan citizenship.
Struggling to survive without disgrace, he never expects
that one day he will be king or chosen to command of the combined
Greek forces fighting a Persian invasion. But these
are formative years that will one day make him the most famous
Spartan of them all: the hero of Thermopylae.
This is the
first book in a trilogy of
biographical novels about Leonidas of Sparta. This
first book describes his childhood in the infamous Spartan
agoge. The second focuses on his years as an
citizen, and the third describes his reign and death.
Leonidas: A Boy of the
Agoge, published 2010. Order Now!
Book II of the Leonidas Trilogy
the start of
the 5th century BC is in crisis. The Argives are attacking Sparta’s vulnerable island of Kythera, but King Cleomenes is more
interested in meddling in Athenian affairs. His co-monarch,
Demaratus, opposes Cleomenes' ambitions, and soon the kings are at each
other’s throats. Exploiting this internal conflict, Corinth
launches a challenge to Spartan control of the Peloponnesian League,
while across the Aegean Sea the Greek cities of Ionia are in rebellion
against Persia and pleading for Spartan aid. King
youngest half brother Leonidas has only just attained citizenship. He
has no reason to expect that this revolt will shape his
At 21, Leonidas is just an ordinary ranker in the Spartan
less interested in high politics than in putting his private life in
order. He needs to find reliable tenants to restore his
estate, and – most important – to find the right
be his bride. Meanwhile,
Gorgo is growing up. Not particularly pretty, she is nevertheless
precocious and courageous – qualities that get her into
more than once. This is the story of both Leonidas and Gorgo in the
years before Leonidas becomes king of Sparta, and before the first
Persian invasion of Greece sets Leonidas on the road to Thermopylae .
Leonidas: A Peerless Peer,
published 2011. Order Now!
(Come and Take Them!)
III of the Leonidas Trilogy
crushed the Ionian revolt and is gathering a massive army to invade and
punish mainland Greece, but in Sparta the dangers seem closer to
home. The Eurypontid King Demaratus is accused of being a
usurper, while the Agiad King Cleomenes is going dangerously
mad. More and more Spartans turn to Leonidas,
Cleomenes’ half brother and son-in-law, to provide
leadership. But Leonidas is the younger of twins, and his
brother Brotus has no intention of letting Leonidas lay claim to the
Agiad throne without a fight.
follows Leonidas and his wife Gorgo as they steer Sparta through the
dangerous waters of domestic strife and external threat, working
together as a team to make Sparta the best it can be. But the
forces that will destroy not only Leonidas but his Sparta are already
gathering – not just in Susa and Sardis, but in the
hubris of a rising Athens and the bigotry and xenophobia of his fellow
Spartans. The murder of two Persian ambassadors by an
agitated Spartan Assembly sets in train the inevitable conflict between
Sparta and Persia that will take Leonidas to Thermopylae – and into
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Text varies on this site between British and American English
Most research was done in Europe and compiled for British English
Interviews and reviews reflect both American and British
English, as Helena Schrader is a leading authority on this subject
in the US and Europe.