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Spartan Society Analysis

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Hellenic culture in the Spartan community was that of a humble elite. True Spartan culture is well captured in Xenophon’s work, Spartan Society, as he wrote of how this elitist society viewed not only themselves, but the other countries around them. This work shines light into the three-part worldview of the ancient, Hellenic Spartans of: humanism, idealism, and rationalism. As Xenophon begins to write over the whole of the Spartan society it can be seen how the Spartans lived out the worldview of this Hellenistic society. This living out of the worldview recorded in Xenophon’s, Spartan Society, illustrates their worldview through the noting of Lycurgus’ accomplishments and the contrast of the “other.” Some preliminary study of the authorship,…show more content…
The three aspects of this worldview often when illustrated in historical works, such as in Spartan Society, need to be understood and examined together because of the large amount of overlapping in worldview concepts. For example, the humanistic view of Lycurgus and his many great accomplishments does not only prove the emphasis of human accomplishments as seen in ancient Greek humanism, but as they are often put in contrast to the other countries and described as these ideals that the “other” cannot attain proves to illustrate the idealism present in the worldview of the ancient Spartan people. Lycurgus, as recorded in Spartan Society, also is seen in a rationalistic way of thought. Xenophon will even say, “I certainly admire him and consider him in the highest degree a wise man” (Spartan Society, 166). Lycurgus, the highest of wise men, is the leader, and the man who does not follow the ways of the “others,” but takes the high road and creates the ideal society through his many great accomplishments. The “others” or sometimes referred to as “elsewhere” is mentioned frequently in this account of this great…show more content…
Xenophon illustrated this very principle in Spartan Society in nearly every example of the greatness of the society is brought up. First, in describing the very ruler, Lycurgus, as wise and, “not copying the other states, but by deciding on an opposite course to the majority that he made his country outstandingly fortunate” (Spartan Society, 166). This statement is in the opening remarks of the writing and lays the foundation of how Xenophon views the Spartans and more clearly their wise leader, Lycurgus. Throughout the rest of the writing Lycurgus is always placed against and superior to the “others” or the nations referred to as “elsewhere.” This does not have specifics of other countries or people groups, but gives a general idea and concept of the ideal society being Sparta. Xenophon says two times in the middle of the work that the views and practices of Lycurgus are opposite of the majority and even the rest of Greece, but then goes to explain their superiority in the following paragraphs (Spartan Society, 173,174). This work goes to show that humanism, idealism, and rationalism all play a heavy part in the development of Xenophon’s Spartan Society, and also in the development of the people of
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