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The Shorter Writings$
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Xenophon and Gregory A. McBrayer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501718496

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501718496.001.0001

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Regime of the Lacedaemonians

Regime of the Lacedaemonians

(p.107) Chapter 3 Regime of the Lacedaemonians
The Shorter Writings
Catherine S. Kuiper, Susan D. Collins
Cornell University Press

Translation of and Interpretive Essay on Xenophon’s Regime of the Lacedaemonians, the only extant full treatise written by an ancient author that provides an account of the Spartan politeia (“regime” or “constitution”). It is therefore of interest to students of classics, history, and political philosophy alike. Yet its ironical character has made it subject to a wide range of readings: On one side, it is a naïve encomium of Sparta by an unreserved Laconophile lacking in philosophic depth; on the other, it is wonderfully wrought satire of Sparta by a topflight student of Socrates. In sympathy with the latter view, this essay offers guidance in reading the treatise and so in understanding Xenophon’s central criticisms of the politeia laid down by the legendary lawgiver Lycurgus.

Keywords:   Constitution, Sparta, Lacedaimonia, Oligarchy, Ephors, Politeia

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