What is CSPS?
The Centre draws together the significant range of research and expertise on the region within the University of Nottingham: academic staff, research fellows and postgraduate research students, primarily from the Department of Classics and Archaeology, who work on diverse aspects of the region’s archaeology, history, and classical tradition, from prehistoric times to the present day. The Centre – unique in its aims and scope worldwide – acts as a focus for international academics and researchers working on the area.
The Director of the Centre is Dr Chrysanthi Gallou, and the Emeritus Directors are Professor Emeritus Stephen Hodkinson and Professor Emeritus Bill Cavanagh.
Why is it important?
The region of Greece known as the Peloponnese has played an important role in the politics and economy of the Eastern Mediterranean from prehistory to the formation of the modern Greek nation. Classical Sparta has exercised an especially significant influence, both in its own day as a powerful ancient state and in later times through the impact of its legend on medieval and modern global thought.
Our research and impact strategy
The research strategy of CSPS is simple: to conduct excellent research that has a positive and transformational impact on people and culture.
We aim to do this through seven core strategies:
- fostering international dialogue and collaboration among the international community working on any aspect of Sparta, Laconia or other parts of the Peloponnese in any period
- collaborating with key researchers, exploring fresh approaches in a variety of disciplines
- hosting research visits from leading academics, archaeologists, postgraduates, and early-career researchers from universities and institutions in the United Kingdom and abroad
- engaging wider users and audiences with transformational research on ancient Sparta, and challenging political misappropriations of the ancient polis and its institutions
- co-operating with national and regional authorities in Greece and providing consultation on issues of cultural heritage and preservation in the region
- encouraging and providing facilities for postdoctoral and postgraduate study, especially (but not exclusively) in the fields of archaeology, classics, history and reception studies
- promoting the history and cultural heritage of Sparta and the Peloponnese at an international level
Inauguration of the Centre
The Centre was founded in the University of Nottingham by Professors Bill Cavanagh (Archaeology) and Stephen Hodkinson (Classics) in 2005 and held its first internal seminars that year. Its official inauguration took place in 2006, through public launches in both the United Kingdom and Greece.
The UK launch at the University of Nottingham in May 2006 included a lecture by Professor Paul Cartledge (University of Cambridge) on Sparta on the Silver Screen followed by a reception at the University Museum.
The Greek launch took place at the Central Public Library in Sparta on 3 June 2006, hosted by the Office of the Mayor of Sparta. The launch commenced with welcoming addresses by the then Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Sparta, Mr Sarantos Antonakos and Mrs Metaxia Papapostolou; by the Archbishop of Sparta Efstathios; and by the then Ephors of Prehistoric-Classical and Byzantine Antiquities for Lakonia, Anastasia Panagiotopoulou and Aimilia Bakourou, representing the Greek Ministry of Culture.
Responding on behalf of the Centre, Dr Chrysanthi Gallou gave a talk about its aims and facilities in Nottingham, Professor Bill Cavanagh spoke about the results of his excavations at Kouphovouno, and Professor Stephen Hodkinson spoke about the images of Sparta in 19th and 20th-century social and political thought.
The Mayor Mr Antonakos presented the Centre with a ceremonial key to the research office to be made available in Sparta for the use of Centre members. The event concluded with an open-air reception and meal.
The Centre's inauguration was widely publicised on Greek regional television and in the Greek national press. Read about it here