Sparta is most commonly known today as the militaristic rival of "enlightened" Athens in ancient Greece. It is remembered for its military accomplishments – particularly the heroic defense under King Leonidas of the pass at Thermopylae in 480 BC. Images of a society characterized by brutal, mindless discipline and a merciless emphasis on physical fitness, but lacking artistic and intellectual accomplishments – or even basic literacy – predominate in popular literature.
In fact, ancient Sparta – or Lacedaemon, as it was known in ancient Greece – was far more complex and multifaceted. Plutarch claims that "devotion to the intellect is more characteristic of Sparta than love of physical exercise." Lindsay Wheeler calls the Spartans warrior philosophers.
This site is dedicated to throwing some light on those forgotten achievements – and hopefully awakening more curiosity and understanding for this complex and fascinating ancient culture.