Course Codes : HST335
Myth and Territory in the Spartan Mediterranean
OverviewThis book discusses Greek attitudes to settlement and territory as articulated through myths and cults. The emphasis is less on the poetic, timeless qualities of the myths, than on their historical function in the archaic and Classical periods, covering the spectrum from explicit charter myths legitimating conquest, displacement and settlement, to the 'precedent-setting' and even aetiological myths, rendering new landscapes 'Greek'. This spectrum is broadest in the world of Spartan colonisation - the Spartan Mediterranean - where the greater challenges to territorial possession and Sparta's acute self-awareness of her relative national youthfulness elicited explicit responses in the form of charter myths. The concept of a Spartan Mediterranean, in contrast to the image of a land-locked Sparta, is a major contribution of this book.