Department of Classics

Sparta in Comparative Perspective

The project, Sparta in comparative perspective, ancient to modern: history, historiography and classical tradition began in 2004 under the directorship of Prof Stephen Hodkinson.

From 2004-2010 the project was funded by a research grant from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), with additional assistance from the University's School of Humanities.

Project summary

The project integrated three interrelated areas of academic enquiry which are normally separated in scholarly research:

  • A substantive study of Spartan social institutions from the perspective of comparable institutions at other times and places.
  • An historiographical scrutiny of attempts in historical writings since the 18th-century to illuminate Sparta through comparison with other societies.
  • An examination of the broader intellectual context of this modern historiography: the appropriation of Sparta in modern European thought, especially through explicit or implicit comparison with contemporary European and non-European societies. 

More on project summary PDF format ...

Meet the Spartans: Professor Stephen Hodkinson interview
Meet the Spartans

Prof Hodkinson inteviewed by Elton Barker at the 2011 Classical Association conference, Durham.

Project team

Prof Stephen Hodkinson

Postdoctoral research fellow:
Dr Ian Macgregor Morris

Doctoral students:
Rosie Harman; Lydia Langerwerf; Malcolm Nicholson; Philip Davies; Peter Davies


Project Publications 

The project published four edited books.

  • Stephen Hodkinson and Anton Powell (eds.), Sparta and War (Classical Press of Wales, Swansea, 2006)
  • S. Hodkinson (ed.), Sparta: Comparative Approaches (Classical Press of Wales, Swansea, 2009)  –  the first volume from the project’s 2007 conference
  • Stephen Hodkinson and Ian Macgregor Morris (eds.), Sparta in Modern Thought (Classical Press of Wales, Swansea, 2012) - the second volume from the project's 2007 conference

The project has also published over 20 articles in journals and edited volumes: see list of publications  MS Word Icon

Project Doctoral Dissertations

  • Rosie Harman: Viewing Sparta, viewing Asia: Vision and Greek identity in Xenophon (2009)
  • Lydia Langerwerf: ‘No freer than the helots’: Messenian rebel behaviour in Pausanias’ Messeniaka in comparative perspective (2010)


Project Conference

Sparta: Comparative Approaches and Classical Tradition, University of Nottingham, September 2007

This international meeting brought together scholars in the fields of ancient history, classics and the history of ideas for focused discussion of:

  • Spartan institutions in the comparative context of other Greek poleis;
  • the appropriation of Sparta within later medieval and modern European thought and academic scholarship

Department of Classics

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details