CSPSCentre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies

Sparta in comic books

Project summary

Professor Stephen Hodkinson was historical consultant to Kieron Gillen’s graphic novel Three (Image Comics, 2014).

The novel tells the story of three fugitive helot-slaves set in 4th-century Sparta. It includes an 11-page conversation between Gillen and Hodkinson.

Input from CSPS helped Gillen to counter-balance the over-glorification of the Spartans in the graphic novel and film 300. Instead, the novel presents a subaltern portrayal of Sparta, from the viewpoint of its exploited helot slaves.


Image of two white men, each standing holding opposite sides of a framed comic book panel and standing at the camera
Professor Stephen Hodkinson with Kieron Gillen at the launch of Three

Greek edition of Three

The Greek edition of Three was published by Jemma Press in late 2019 with sponsorship from the Centre for Spartan & Peloponnesian Studies, and its launch took place at the AthensCon2019 (30 November – 1 December).

To celebrate the occasion, the Centre and Jemma Press ran the panel ‘Beyond the Clichés: Ancient Greece in Comics’. The panel was formed by Professor Stephen Hodkinson, Kieron Gillen (graphic novelist, Three), Abraham Kawa (graphic novelist, Democracy) and Dr Lynn Fotheringham (discussant). 

Further resources and information

Read a Research Exchange blog on the inspiration behind the collaboration and development of Three

Read a Research Exchange blog on Kieron Gillen's visit to the University of Nottingham and round-table discussion of Three

Read the 2014 news item announcement of the collaboration




Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 4800
fax: +44 (0)115 951 4811
email: csps@nottingham.ac.uk