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Ἠθικά [PDF / Epub] ☆ Ἠθικά By Plutarch – 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 this remarkable Greek city state between the sixth and third ce 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 this 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 also disposed of unhealthy babies in a deep chasm introduced a gruelling regime 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 humanityLives Lycurgus Agesilaus Agis Cleomenes Sayings sayings of Spartans sayings of Spartan Women Appendix Xenephon Spartan Society.

  • Paperback
  • 260 pages
  • Ἠθικά
  • Plutarch
  • English
  • 04 January 2016
  • 9780140449433

About the Author: Plutarch

Plutarch later named upon becoming a Roman citizen Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus; AD – AD was a Greek historian biographer and essayist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia He is classified as a Middle Platonist Plutarch's surviving works were written in Greek but intended for both Greek and Roman readers.

10 thoughts on “Ἠθικά

  1. Cassandra Kay Silva Cassandra Kay Silva says:

    This book was freaking amazing You not only get the lives of Lycurgus Agis and Cleomenes some of the most amazing Spartans of all times of course you get some Leonidas as well All of which covers some fairly epic moments in history but it also includes a collection of Xenophons writings on Spartan society You get a pretty good picture painted here of what life was like in Sparta Man it was tough No portion better embodies the lives and minds of the spartan than his sections on Sayings which is famous uotes from men of spartan society I think Plutarch was inspired when he included this section It really gives you a feel for what Spartans valued and honored Here are the gems of the bunchWhen somebody was praising an orator for his ability to magnify small points he said In my opinion it's not a good cobbler who fits large shoes on small feet When a snake had coiled round the key on the inside of the gate and the seers were declaring this to be a portent he remarked; It doesn't look like that to me If instead the key had coiled round the snake that would be a portent To the man who declared his admiration and affection for him;I have two oxen in a field; even though neither says anything I'm fully aware of which one idles and which one worksand the women are eually skilled and cuttingWhen asked by a woman from Attica Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men? she said; Because we are also the only ones who give birth to menand this is the best burn of all timeTo the wretched character who freuently kept asking him who was the best Spartiate his response was; The one least like youOh you got told Of course you also get to read many of the famous lines from the Battle at Thermopylae So pretty much this is a must read

  2. Jesse Jesse says:

    Sparta poses a number of problems for dreamers of economic euality Firstly the rejection of luxury and avarice invariably results in a focus on military pursuits Secondly the apparent euality belies a vast slave network common in antiuity but the uniue brutality of the Spartan kind can only bring to mind the Gulag Lastly intellectual sterility sets in Sparta intellectually seems to be only good at cracking jibes Athenian I can imitate a sparrow Spartan So what I have heard the real thing Upon approaching the walls of a city a Spartan said What kind of women live here? Their poetry is stale and militaristic; their women are absolutely free; children are encouraged to steal; sex is made to resemble rape; parents mourn when their children return safe from war and celebrate when they die this is the weirdest state ever

  3. Falk Falk says:

    It is very practical to have this collection of Plutarch’s Lives focusing on Sparta presented together in one volume and I find I’d much rather read Plutarch’s own texts than have them presented rehashed by contemporary scholars I read in the new Preface that the Life of Agesilaus has been added to this Expanded Edition which is great – though it would have been even better if the Life of Lysander had been added as well I don’t see the point of leaving it out other than selling books of course Obviously there are good reasons for presenting the Lives by period and theme as is done in this Penguin Classics series but there’s also a problematic side to presenting the individual Lives outside the context in which they were originally written the Parallel Lives as is also mentioned in the first Preface to this book Still it is commendable that this volume on Sparta has been made available and it’s one I will return to My favorite is the Life of Lycurgus also because it is so basic to understanding the entire structure of Spartan societyThe translation flows well though there were a few occasions where I was wondering what Plutarch’s original wording may have been Likewise the notes are mainly useful though in some instances seemed irritatingly superfluous eg there’s a note added to a mention of the traditional system of education on p 99 that simply says that this means the agoge The maps are good and the same goes for the Historical Introduction to each of the Lives though it seemed an odd choice to place all the different introductions together in the beginning of the book instead of in front of the respective biographiesIn addition to Lycurgus and Agesilaus this volume includes the Lives of Agis and Cleomenes as well as Plutarch’s Sayings of Spartans Also included is the work on Spartan Society attributed to Xenophon which adds a lot to its value as a resource Plutarch’s sources are discussed in the Introduction to each of the Lives and there’s a glossary as well as a list of Spartan kings All in all a great book with some minor flaws Understanding Sparta is important for the understanding both of our own history and as well the political history of a number of Greek states – in addition to being an endlessly fascinating subject in itself This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 30 Unported License

  4. Harrison Harrison says:

    Funny and action packed? Well yes I wouldn't have guessed it before picking it up but Plutarch is a page turner In this updated collection of Ian Scott Kilvert's original translation of Spartan Lives for Penguin Richard Talbert adds the Life of Agesilaus as well as revisions to the original translation The result is a highly readable not like the free translations you can find online that are often archaic and difficult to follow At least for this modern brain On Sparta includes the lives of Lycurgus Sparta's lawgiver Agesilaus Agis and Cleomenes as well as Spartan sayings and Xeonophon's Spartan Society The Lives themselves read like something out of George Martin's Song of Ice and Fire political intrigue assassinations coups d'etat manufactured wars betrayals But behind all the grittiness Plutarch shows some examples of true honour His approval of Spartan society is clear and I have to admit there's a lot to like there's a lot not to like as well of course Many of Lycurgus' laws strike me as many degrees sane than our own and it seems clear to me that whoever he was he had a plan and knew what he was doing This chapter alone provides much food for thought The further Lives show the progressive downfall of Sparta and this is where things get gritty The Sayings sections are a real treat as well The Spartans were raised to express themselves in few words so pithy witticisms abound Some of them are laugh out loud funny Take the Spartan men's tendency to wear their hair long bearing in mind Lycurgus' statement that it renders handsome men better looking and ugly ones frightening And there's not a little manly bravado mixed in like Leonidas' remark at the battle of Thermopylae when the sky was invisible due to the number of Persians' arrows How pleasant then if we're going to fight them in the shade On Sparta is a classic worth reading Don't let your bad high school experiences with the old dead dudes turn you off Plutarch is pretty awesome

  5. Jim Jim says:

    Why is it that books on Ancient Greece have focused so intensively on Periclean Athens? It was after all a slave society in which women were relegated to a subordinate role In its favor great literature great philosophy except that they executed Socrates great architecture and statuary This year I have decided to concentrate heavily on books about Ancient Greece and by Ancient Greek authors To ensure that I do not unwittingly accept historical prejudices I decided to start out with Will Durant's The Life of Greece following it up with this collection of short essays on Sparta by Plutarch who lived in the 2nd century AD On Sparta is a rather mixed bag First there are four biographies of Spartan kings Lycurgus Agesilaus Agis and Cleomenes There follows by far the most interesting sections a chapter of Saying of Spartans followed by Sayings of Spartan Women Note There are no sayings of Athenian women except for hetairae like Aspasia Finally there is an essay attributed to Xenophon called Spartan Society This book is an excellent resource for information on Spartan society though inferior to Paul Cartledge's The Spartans The World of the Warrior Heroes of Ancient Greece as a general introduction

  6. Ryan Holiday Ryan Holiday says:

    Spartan sayings are something that have been a part of Western culture since its inception Most people whether they know it or not have used a few of them There's even a Spartan saying to explain Spartan sayings It goes something like this why are Spartan sayings so short? Spartan swords are short too but they reach their enemy all the same As Plutarch notes in the book the relationship between brevity and value runs through Spartan life Lycurgus weighted the highest currency with least heavy coinage and the heaviest was worth the least Something to think about The book starts with profiles of some of the greatest Spartans similar to Plutarch's Lives and then the second half is a collection of uotes or anecdotes broken down by who they are attributed to It's a great source of reference if you ever need an example or a story for something The uotes from Spartan women are good as well

  7. Pedro Gimenez Pedro Gimenez says:

    If you're looking for a book that has passed the Lindy test I recommend reading this one You should read about Solon tooThe book explores how Spartan society was developed Plutarch a Greek who lived between AD 50 and 120 describes in this well written book the fascinating lives of the most prominent characters of the era I recommend reading about the lawgiver Lycurgus one of the great leaders of SpartaAlthough I don't like the laws set by Lycurgus —he was something like an early socialist— he brought into the light of day not paper theories but a functioning constitution which was uite unmatched He created the institution of the Elders According to Plato its combination with the kings' arrogant rule and the right to an eual vote on the most important matters produced security and at the same time sound sense He redistributed the land He devised constitutional measures against the greed of the Spartan people With the aim of stepping up the attack on luxury and removing the passion for wealth he introduced his third reform the establishment of common messes The intention was that Spartans should assemble together and eat the same specified meat sauces and cerealsThis is a great book and it's a delight to read

  8. Paul Haspel Paul Haspel says:

    On Sparta’s behalf it must be said that the Spartans really knew how to fight In condemnation of Sparta it must be said that the Spartans really knew how to fight Such are the paradoxes involved in studying the warrior nation that for a time dominated the city states of ancient Greece; and for the student of classical culture who wants to get to know Sparta better the biographies sayings and historical work brought together in this Plutarch volume under the title On Sparta provide a fine place to startOriginally the biographies brought together for On Sparta would have paired these eminent Greeks with comparably important Romans as part of the compare and contrast structure that characterized Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans For this volume however Plutarch biographies of four particularly important Spartans are combined with collections of sayings that demonstrate the Spartan world view – and with a short historical work Spartan Society that is traditionally attributed to the Athenian historian XenophonThe first of the four eminent Spartans whose life stories are shared in On Sparta is Lycurgus the lawgiver whose stern code of laws “accustomed citizens to have no desire for a private life nor knowledge of one but rather to be like bees always attached to the community swarming together around their leader and almost ecstatic with fervent ambition to devote themselves entirely to their country” p 30 The second is Agesilaus a highly effective military commander who personified the Spartan notion of duty before self While campaigning uite successfully in Asia Agesilaus received a message from Sparta’s ruling ephors commanding him to return home at once as Sparta was then under attack by other Greek city states As Plutarch puts it “How fortunate it was for Sparta then that Agesilaus so honoured her and had such respect for her laws The moment the messagewas delivered to him although he was then at the height of his power and good fortune he abandoned these gave up the great hopes which beckoned him on and immediately sailed away” p 54The third is Agis a popular leader who sought to fight corruption in Sparta by restoring Lycurgus’ ancient laws in all their purity Traduced and betrayed by wealthy and powerful enemies he faced his death sentence with characteristic Spartan courage “When Agis was on his way to execution by strangling and noticed one of the attendants was in tears and distraught he said to him ‘Man stop crying for me since my death contrary to law and justice makes me superior to my murderers’ With these words he readily allowed the noose to be placed around his neck” p 96And the fourth is Cleomenes who like Agis wished to reform the Spartan state and who to remind the Spartan people of their former glory “reminded them of the remark made by one of their ancient kings that the pointed uestion Spartans ask about their enemies is not how many of them there are but where they are” p 101 That ethic of embracing combat eagerly – “ride to the sound of the guns” as commanders in later wars might have put it – is certainly a pre eminent characteristic of Spartan society as emphasized in these lives by PlutarchXenophon’s Spartan Society is a fine look at the city state if indeed Xenophon wrote it; translator Richard JA Talbert of the University of North Carolina has his doubts But readers of On Sparta may derive enjoyment from the collection of “Sayings of Spartans” and “Sayings of Spartan Women” that Plutarch collected The word “laconic” after all – referring as it does to a pithy saying that conveys a great deal in a few words – comes from “Laconia” the name of the Peloponnesian region of which Sparta was the capital; and these statements from both famous and otherwise unknown Laconians unuestionably have that laconic ualityAnd yes in case you were wondering those laconic statements include that of a Spartan mother who “as she was handing her son his shield and giving him some encouragement said ‘Son return either with this or on this’” pp 186 87 Over and over again it is emphasized that a son who would throw away his shield and run away from battle is a son that no Spartan mother would wantSome of the most famous of those sayings come from the Spartan king Leonidas who in 480 BC led 300 Spartan soldiers in defending the pass at Thermopylae against an attacking force of thousands of Persians Before the battle “When someone was saying ‘It isn’t even possible to see the sun because of the Persians’ arrows’ he said ‘How pleasant then if we’re going to fight them in the shade’” p 170 And ‘When Xerxes wrote‘Deliver up your arms’ he wrote back ‘Come and take them’” p 171 If you have seen in your drives along the streets of your town or city a pick up truck with a window sticker that reads μολὼν λαβέ then know that those words molòn labé are Leonidas’ words of defiance to Xerxes Whether the window sticker is there to express pride in past or present military service or to publicize anti gun control sentiments the driver of that truck is clearly identifying with Leonidas and the SpartansThat observation in turn brings up an important uestion Why do so many people in democratic nations of today identify with the Spartans? After all Sparta was a nation where male babies were routinely left out to die if they were considered too “weak” to make good soldiers for the state – a “custom” at which the modern mind recoils Why then does Sparta still get such a degree of respect indeed reverence in the modern world? Why are the sports teams for Michigan State University called the Spartans? Why did so many readers and viewers find inspiration in the heroism of the Spartan protagonists of Frank Miller’s 1998 graphic novel 300 or Zack Snyder’s 2006 film adaptation?The answer may lie in a shared realization of an ugly reality that underlies the existence of any nation even one founded on the most noble and humane ideals a government can only be maintained in existence for as long as it can command sufficient armed force to maintain its existence and defend its territorial integrityThat unwelcome element of realpolitik – that idea that documents like Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence have no practical meaning without an army strong enough to defend them – may be part of the reason why Sparta has become an emblem for the warrior ethic throughout the West I do not like Sparta – my own classical sympathies are thoroughly Athenian – but I recognize its importance And the writings of Plutarch and perhaps Xenophon collected as On Sparta capture well the reasons why the Spartan legacy is something that all citizens of any democracy must confront

  9. ܦܐܕܝ ܦܐܕܝ says:

    It’s not often that you find a book which records practices that genuinely shock or disgust the reader and provoke an anachronistic judgement The blockbuster films “300” and “300 Rise of an Empire” popularised Spartan culture and shifted the focus of modern viewers of classical Hellenic society from Athens to Sparta an extreme contrast akin to black and white shades This modern version gives us an account of Sparta her kings constitution and way of life as recorded by Plutarch and in a much shorter prose work attributed to Xenophon but strongly contested followed by the “Spartan Sayings”Plutarch’s text is broken down into the lives of four of Sparta’s most prominent rulers Lycurges the Lawgiver and kings Agesilaus Agis and Cleomenes and uses them to exemplify the city’s culture and ideology through the various wars and battles that took place throughout the 5th to 3rd century BC Plutarch demonstrates how Lycurges managed to achieve a bloodless constitutional revolution with the approval of the gods Austerity euality among citizens and military training were they basis of the reformed constitution one which not be put to paper but promoted as a lifestyle in order for it to be ingrained into all members of society In order to achieve the highest efficiency in the military the evils of greed and poverty were dispersed by the collection of all land and dividing it up into 9000 plots for allotment to citizens Property and all derived wealth could no longer be confined to the wealthy few nor could the desire to amass gold and silver thrive the precious metals were banned and possessors were fined while a heavily inflated form of iron currency was institutionalised This proto communist state perpetuated itself by ensuring materialistic desires were confined to the other Greek cities and allowed the military to become Sparta’s walls and towers hence the Spartan saying “Sparta’s young men are her walls and the points of their spears her frontiers” This ideology was not confined to the public sphere but manifested itself beyond into the populace Believing the citizens to belong to the city and not as individual units Lycurges’ and the rest of the citizenry’s ideology was reflected in the social norms Firstly newborn infants would be brought before their tribal elders for examination If the child passed it would be returned to the father for raising and assigned one of the 9000 plots of land as allotted by the aforementioned reforms However if the child was deemed to be “deformed” it would be taken to a cliffside spot known as “Apothetae” the place of rejection on Mount Taygetus a practise popularised in the film “300” The logic behind this was that it would be better for Sparta and the child to terminate its life leaving only a population of super soldiers The desire to produce ideal children also manifested itself in consensual adultery Were a man to find a younger male attractive and muscular he’d approach him and offer him to his wife to be impregnated and for him to adopt the offspring Inversely a man could approach another and showcase his skills and physiue in the hope of gaining approval to breed with his wife Lycurges likened this act to the art of breeding the finest canines and stallions While it may shock the modern reader almost all marriages throughout history were based on building political alliances raising capital producing troops for the workforce and army to name a few It was only in the late 18th and early 19th century following the French and American Revolutions that proponents of the Enlightenment Era promoted the “right to personal happiness” and love in a marriage With that being said Spartan women who were married appeared in public with a veil as practised in other Near Eastern cultures around the time while single women roamed uncoveredAttitudes towards warfare were similar in respect to the life of the individual where a death on the battlefield in service to Sparta was thought to be the most glorious outcome while cowardice and escape from battle was worthy of disgrace disavowal and murder Certainly women are recorded to have killed their own sons who returned home alive due to their cowardice while their comrades had succeeded in bringing honour to their name Fear the fear of shame and disgrace coupled with their discipline to obey drove the Spartans to victories regardless of the strength and numbers of their adversaries The young and inexperienced Cleomenes led a force of less than 5000 Spartans against an Achaen force of 20000 infantryman and 1000 cavalry under the command of Aristomachus The Spartan spirit granted them victory since Cleomenes did not fear the numerical superiority of the enemy and mustered his men for battle men who were willing to follow him to Hades Aristomachus was frightened by the tenacity of the Spartans and was routed without a single arrow being fired When the day was won the losers would be spared for it was considered neither noble nor Hellenic to slaughter those who had surrendered Such a reputation proved advantageous as their adversaries knew that fleeing would save their skin rather than standing their ground and risk being cut downThe Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis unified the Greeks and halted the Persian advance into mainland Greece but the status uo was not to last The Greeks resumed their civil wars and the Persians supported both sides in the hope of weakening them The Peloponnesian War ended Athens’ golden age and established Spartan supremacy Agesilaus was born in the final year of that war and dedicated his reign to freeing the Greeks of Asia Minor from Persian rule before being recalled to fend off a war against the Corinthian coalition where he is uoted saying “the Great King has driven me out of Asia with 30000 archers” in reference to the golden Persian coins that were paid to his Greek foes Having exhausted their population resources and political stability the Spartans and Athenians fell prey to the Macedonian onslaught under Phillip and Antigonus in particular and were eventually absorbed into the Roman republic

  10. Cal (Cal& Cal (Cal& says:

    This book is golden It has so many funny uotes from ancient bats I can't stop laughing Plutarch has such a sense of humour but I also value his historical elements too

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