Is this Sparta? Training, Warfare, and Reality with Dr. Helena Meskanen

Is this Sparta? Training, Warfare, and Reality with Dr. Helena Meskanen


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Ancient Sparta continues to evoke strong images of a warrior state, with discipline, training, and glory at its core. How much of this was true, and how much the stuff of legend? This webinar will focus on Sparta and war, from the education of boys to the battlefield and beyond.

The literary sources describing Spartan society are difficult to interpret and mostly written by their enemies or those looking at it from the outside. During this Conversation, we will examine what we know about Spartan education and society and if it was as uniquely militaristic as some of our sources state. We will then look at some legendary battles and try to separate the facts from fiction and propaganda. The stories of Spartan military success have had an enduring appeal to more modern governments as well, and we will finish by exploring the way a militaristic view of Spartan society was used in the political debate of the 20th century and popular culture.

Led by an expert on Spartan archaeology, Dr. Helena Meskanen, this interactive seminar will offer a deep dive into the question of a supposed militaristic Spartan society. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a more diverse picture of life in this fascinating city-state.

Dr. Helena Meskanen is an archaeologist specializing in ancient Greece, with research focusing on ancient Spartan religion. She has been leading tours of the British Museum for 3 years and feels passionate about the wide range of objects on display, and the stories they tell about the museum and the cultures that created them.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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