Plutarch’s vivid and engaging portraits of the Spartans and their customs are a major source of our knowledge about the rise and fall of their remarkable Greek city-state between the sixth and third centuries BC. Through his Lives of Sparta’s leaders and his recording of memorable Spartan Sayings, he depicts a people who lived frugally and mastered their emotions in all aspects of life, who disposed of unhealthy babies in a deep chasm, introduced a gruelling regimen of military training for boys, and treated their serfs brutally. Rich in anecdote and detail, Plutarch’s writing brings to life the personalities and achievements of Sparta with unparalleled flair and humanity.
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Plutarch (c.50-c.120 AD) was a writer and thinker born into a wealthy, established family of Chaeronea in central Greece. He received the best possible education in rhetoric and philosophy, and traveled to Asia Minor and Egypt. Later, a series of… More about Plutarch