The popular image of a simple and austere soldier's life in barracks Sparta has been seriously questioned in the last 30 years. We now have a body of scholarship that contradicts a great deal of what the writer Plutarch, who lived in later Roman times, wrote about an idealised Spartan society.
This textbook highlights the early Spartan evidence for Spartiates (not just perioikoi) as potters, metalworkers, architects, traders and craftsmen. It shows how archaeology disproves much of Plutarch's information about Spartan burials. It discusses the Spartan army's weaknesses as well as it strengths, its significant losses as well as its famous victories. In short this text encourages students to think critically about a society that has been much misrepresented.