The Spartan Regime Its Character, Origins, and Grand Strategy Paul Anthony Rahe

Yale Library of Military History
Publication date:
22 Nov 2016
Yale University Press
232 pages: 235 x 156 x 22mm
7 b-w illus.

An authoritative and refreshingly original consideration of the government and culture of ancient Sparta and her place in Greek history

For centuries, ancient Sparta has been glorified in song, fiction, and popular art. Yet the true nature of a civilization described as a combination of democracy and oligarchy by Aristotle, considered an ideal of liberty in the ages of Machiavelli and Rousseau, and viewed as a forerunner of the modern totalitarian state by many twentieth-century scholars has long remained a mystery. In a bold new approach to historical study, noted historian Paul Rahe attempts to unravel the Spartan riddle by deploying the regime-oriented political science of the ancient Greeks, pioneered by Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Xenophon, and Polybius, in order to provide a more coherent picture of government, art, culture, and daily life in Lacedaemon than has previously appeared in print, and to explore the grand strategy the Spartans devised before the arrival of the Persians in the Aegean.

Paul A. Rahe is a Rhodes Scholar and the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Professor of History at Hillsdale College, and the author of numerous books including the three-volume Republics Ancient and Modern. He lives in Hillsdale, MI.

“Rahe thinks and writes big. . . . The Spartan Regime breaks important new ground.”—Jacob Howland, Commentary

“Persuasive”—Thomas E. Ricks, New York Times Book Review

“An important new history . . . The story of this ancient clash of civilizations, masterfully told by Paul Rahe . . . provides a timely reminder about strategic challenges and choices confronting the United States.”—John Maurer, Claremont Review of Books

“A superb account.”—Dominic Green, Minerva

“Paul Rahe combines the chops of a professional historian with a masterly grasp of political philosophy. He is also a shrewd analyst of human character. . . . Rahe’s ability to reveal the human side beneath [an] austere exterior is one of many reasons to read this beautifully written, meticulously researched, and deeply engaging book.”—Waller R. Newell, Washington Free Beacon