Sparta in Literature Criticism: Spartan Poetry - Essay

J. T. Hooker (essay date 1980)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Hooker, J. T. “Music and Poetry.” In The Ancient Spartans, pp. 71-81. London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1980.

[In the following essay, Hooker examines the extant writings of the two outstanding Spartan poets of the seventh century, Tyrtaeus and Alcman.]

For the development of the visual arts at Sparta we now have a wealth of evidence, enabling us to trace the Spartan achievement in this field from Protogeometric down to the classical age. … By contrast, the remains of Spartan literature would fill only a very few pages. But these relics have a value out of all proportion to their bulk, both because of their intrinsic worth and because of the light they shed...

(The entire section is 4761 words.)

L. F. Fitzhardinge (essay date 1980)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Fitzhardinge, L. F. “The Poets.” In The Spartans, pp. 124-35. London: Thames and Hudson, 1980.

[In the following excerpt, Fitzhardinge concentrates on the poetic subjects and styles of Tyrtaeus and Alcman.]

Fairly extensive fragments have survived of the works of two seventh-century poets, Tyrtaeus and Alcman, who whether or not they were Spartan by birth were certainly so by adoption and interests.

Tyrtaeus wrote about the middle of the century, during and shortly after the second Messenian war. The Alexandrians had five books of his poems, containing martial exhortations, marching songs, and a poem known as Eunomia or ‘Good...

(The entire section is 5390 words.)