Department of Classics and Archaeology

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Stephen Hodkinson

Emeritus Professor of Ancient History,

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Biography

Born in Manchester, I was brought up in south London and educated at St Cecilia's School and Wimbledon College. My Mancunian roots have remained strong in my lifelong support for Manchester United football club. At Wimbledon College my passion for History was kindled by the renowned teacher and local historian Richard Milward.

I returned to Manchester for my undergraduate studies, gaining a First Class Honours degree in History (Ancient, Medieval, Modern). At Manchester I was converted from Modern to Ancient Greek History by the inspirational teaching of Cosmo Rodewald, under whose guidance I began my study of Sparta with an undergraduate thesis on 'Kings, Society and Foreign Policy: the Character of Government in Classical Sparta'.

I then went to Cambridge to undertake doctoral study in Ancient History, writing my PhD dissertation on 'Explorations in Classical Spartan Economy and Society', under the supervision of Sir Moses Finley and, after Finley's death, of Paul Cartledge.

I gained my first academic post at the University of Manchester as Lecturer in History in 1977 and was subsequently promoted to Senior Lecturer and then to Reader in Ancient History.

I joined the University of Nottingham in 2003 and was Professor of Ancient History until my retirement in 2018. Since 2004 I have led the research project Sparta in Comparative perspective, Ancient to Modern. In 2005 I co-founded the university's Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies and was Director until 2018. From 2010 to 2018 I was also Director of the university's Institute for the Study of Slavery.

In 2010 I was awarded Honorary Citizenship of the city of Sparta, Greece, for my contributions to the global understanding of Spartan history.

Expertise Summary

My broad area of expertise is the social, economic, political and military history of ancient Greece. Within that broad area, I have special expertise in

  • archaic and classical Sparta, especially its social, economic, and military organisation
  • Sparta in modern politics and popular thought
  • slavery, especially helotage and other forms of unfree agrarian labour
  • the agrarian economy of ancient Greece

My training as a historian covered the full chronological range from the ancient to the modern worlds. I am particularly interested in examining ancient Greece within the comparative perspective of other historical societies and in antiquity's role in modern political and intellectual thought .

Teaching Summary

I have now retired from the University of Nottingham and am no longer involved in teaching undergraduate or taught masters students. I am not currently able to act as an official supervisor for PhD… read more

Research Summary

My main current interest is ancient Sparta and its reception in modern times. Since 2004 I have led a project on Sparta in Comparative Perspective, Ancient to Modern. The project compares classical… read more

Recent Publications

  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2020. Sparta and War: Myths and Realities, The Historian. 144, 16-21
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2020. Professionalism, specialization and skill in the classical Spartan army?. In: EDMUND STEWART, EDWARD HARRIS and DAVID LEWIS, eds., Skilled Labour and Professionalism in Ancient Greece and Rome, Cambridge University Press. 335-361
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2018. Sparta: an exceptional domination of state over society?. In: ANTON POWELL, ed., A Companion to Sparta 1,. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 29-57
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2018. Une cité pas comme les autres?, L'Histoire. 446, 42-47

I am actively engaged in taking my research on Ancient Sparta outside the academy. I warmly welcome enquiries from individuals or groups outside the university (in Britain or abroad) who are interested in hearing about my academic research or drawing upon it for their own occupational or professional activities.

My public engagement activities include:

  • Acting as consultant to the comics author Kieron Gillen on his graphic novel THREE (Image Comics 2014) set in fourth-century Sparta: a story about three helot slaves and their resistance against their Spartan masters, including the infamous '300'.
  • Helping activists and practitioners to challenge misappropriations of Sparta by the Alt-Right
  • Collaborating with the Office of the Mayor of the modern city of Sparta in Greece to enhance the city's heritage and tourism policies and to develop awareness of the city's ancient history among the local and regional community.
  • Writing a guide to new approaches to Sparta for the New South Wales, Australia, Higher School Certficate, Spartan Society option: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/32475/
  • Advising and contributing to the LACTOR (London Association of Classical Teachers Original Records) volume of translated sources on Sparta: http://www.lactor.kcl.ac.uk/blogs/publication-list/lactor-21-sparta/
  • Visiting schools and VIth-form colleges around the UK, talking to schoolteachers and students, especially those taking the Sparta option within the OCR Ancient History. Please do contact me if you would like me to visit your school or college.

I have now retired from the University of Nottingham and am no longer involved in teaching undergraduate or taught masters students. I am not currently able to act as an official supervisor for PhD students. However, I am always willing to offer informal advice, with the agreement of official supervisors in the Department of Classics and Archaeology.

Recent PhD Theses supervised

  • Depictions of Spartan Masculinity in Classical Athenian Prose
  • Slaving Strategies in Classical Athens
  • Aeolian Identity
  • Finding the Non-Combatant within the Greek Polis
  • The Reception of Greek Thought in American Conservativism since 1945

Current Research

My main current interest is ancient Sparta and its reception in modern times. Since 2004 I have led a project on Sparta in Comparative Perspective, Ancient to Modern. The project compares classical Sparta with other ancient Greek city-states and with societies at other historical times and places. It also examines the way in which Sparta has been appropriated as a comparative model in modern political and intellectual thought.

As part of this project, I have published two edited volumes: Sparta: Comparative Approaches and Sparta in Modern Thought , For the full list of project publications by myself and other members of the project team, see the project webpage.

Allied to my research on Sparta, from 2005 to 2018 I was co-founder and Director of the University of Nottingham's Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies.

My other current research interest is in ancient slavery, especially helotage and unfree rural labour in ancient Greece. I am editing the Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Slaveries with Kostas Vlassopoulos and Marc Kleijwegt. From 2010 to 2018 I was Director of the University of Nottingham's Institute for the Study of Slavery.

Past Research

My past research has been directed at two important subjects within ancient history: (i) the agrarian economy of ancient Greece, especially the role of animal husbandry; (ii) the economy and society of archaic and classical Sparta.

These subjects are central to the understanding of ancient Greek society; but research in both areas had become somewhat stagnant, owing to the long-standing dominance of old-fashioned approaches. My work aimed to challenge the old orthodoxies with radically new approaches and interpretations. My core methods have been a close re-reading of both well-known and neglected ancient texts, together with use of hitherto under-utilised archaeological and epigraphic evidence, informed by insights drawn from other disciplines, especially the social sciences.

My approach to these subjects has viewed them against the comparative context of other areas of the ancient world and, cross-culturally, from the perspective of other historical times and places. My research ranges over many aspects of economy, society and culture, including education and upbringing; food and commensality; pederasty and homosexuality; patronage and friendship; political organisation and community; property and wealth; money and coinage; religious sanctuaries and votive offerings; slavery and unfree labour; sport and agonistic contests; warfare; women and gender.

Main past publications:

Property and Wealth in Classical Sparta (Duckworth & Classical Press of Wales, London 2000)

Sparta: New Perspectives, edited with Anton Powell (Duckworth & Classical Press of Wales, London 1999)

Sparta: Beyond the Mirage, edited with Anton Powell (Duckworth & Classical Press of Wales, London 2002)

Sparta and War, edited with Anton Powell (Classical Press of Wales, Swansea 2006)

Sparta: Comparative Approaches (Classical Press of Wales, Swansea 2009)

Sparta: The Body Politic, edited with Anton Powell (Classical Press of Wales, Swansea 2010)

Sparta in Modern Thought, edited with Ian Macgregor Morris (Classical Press of Wales 2012)

Slaves and Religions in Graeco-Roman Antiquity and Modern Brazil, edited with Dick Geary (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2012)

Future Research

I am currently working on a project on the interaction between war and society in classical Sparta, challenging Sparta's popular reputation as a military society. I have already published several articles on the subject, which are intended to lead to a book provisionally titled 'Comparing Spartan Militarism'. The book will examine how and why images of Sparta as a militaristic society developed in antiquity and in modern times, arguing that the growth of these images was rooted more in contemporary political factors than in authentic understandings of Spartan society. The book will also compare the role of war in Sparta with its role in a number of other societies in different historical periods, arguing that on most counts war in Sparta played a comparatively less important role than it did elsewhere.

  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2020. Sparta and War: Myths and Realities, The Historian. 144, 16-21
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2020. Professionalism, specialization and skill in the classical Spartan army?. In: EDMUND STEWART, EDWARD HARRIS and DAVID LEWIS, eds., Skilled Labour and Professionalism in Ancient Greece and Rome, Cambridge University Press. 335-361
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2018. Sparta: an exceptional domination of state over society?. In: ANTON POWELL, ed., A Companion to Sparta 1,. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 29-57
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2018. Une cité pas comme les autres?, L'Histoire. 446, 42-47
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2017. The episode of Sphodrias as a source for Spartan social history. In: LUIS FILIPE BANTIM DE ASSUMPÇÃO, ed., Esparta: Política e Sociadade, Editora Prismas. 187-231
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2017. Die Episode von Sphodrias als Quelle für die Sozialgeschichte von Sparta. In: VASSILIKI POTHOU and ANTON POWELL, eds., Das antike Sparta, Franz Steiner Verlag. 57-86
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2017. Introduction to the epigraphy of Lakonia and Messenia. In: M.G.L. COOLEY, ed., Sparta, The London Association of Classical Teachers. 15-18
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2016. ¿Era la Esparta clásica una sociedad militar?, Revista Universitaria de Historia Militar. 5(9), 231-279
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2015. Transforming Sparta: New approaches to the study of Spartan society, Ancient History: Resources for Teachers. 41-44, 1-42
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2013. New approaches to Classical Sparta, The Journal of Classics Teaching. 27(Spring 2013), 16-25
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON and IAN MACGREGOR MORRIS, eds., 2012. Sparta in Modern Thought: Politics, History and Culture, The Classical Press of Wales.
  • IAN MACGREGOR MORRIS and STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2012. Introduction. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON and IAN MACGREGOR MORRIS, eds., Sparta in Modern Thought: Politics, History and Culture, The Classical Press of Wales. vi-xxvi
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2012. Sparta and the Soviet Union in U.S. Cold War foreign policy and intelligence analysis. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON and IAN MACGREGOR MORRIS, eds., Sparta in Modern Thought: Politics, History and Culture, The Classical Press of Wales. 343-392
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON and DICK GEARY, eds., 2012. Slaves and Religions in Graeco-Roman Antiquity and Modern Brazil, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON and DICK GEARY, 2012. Slaves and religions: historiographies, ancient and modern. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON and DICK GEARY, eds., Slaves and Religions in Graeco-Roman Antiquity and Modern Brazil, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 1-31
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON and EDITH HALL, 2011. Appropriations of Spartan helotage in British anti-slavery debates of the 1790s. In: EDITH HALL, RICHARD ALSTON and JUSTINE MCCONNELL, eds., Ancient Slavery and Abolition: From Hobbes to Hollywood, Oxford University Press. 65-102
  • ANTON POWELL and STEPHEN HODKINSON, eds., 2010. Sparta: The Body Politic, The Classical Press of Wales.
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2010. Sparta and Nazi Germany in mid-20th-century British liberal and left-wing thought. In: ANTON POWELL and STEPHEN HODKINSON, eds., Sparta: The Body Politic, The Classical Press of Wales. 297-342
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, ed., 2009. Sparta: Comparative Approaches, The Classical Press of Wales.
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2009. Introduction. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON, ed., Sparta: Comparative Approaches, The Classical Press of Wales. ix-xxxiii
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2009. Was Sparta an exceptional polis?. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON, ed., Sparta: Comparative Approaches, The Classical Press of Wales. 385-416
  • MOGENS HERMAN HANSEN and STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2009. Spartan exceptionalism? Continuing the debate. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON, ed., Sparta: Comparative Approaches, The Classical Press of Wales. 473-498
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2008. Spartiates, helots and the direction of the agrarian economy: toward an understanding of helotage in comparative perspective. In: ENRICO DAL LAGO and CONSTANTINA KATSARI, eds., Slave Systems: Ancient and Modern, Cambridge University Press. 285-320
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2008. Bill Cavanagh: a personal appreciation. In: C. GALLOU, M. GEORGIADIS and G.M. MUSKETT, eds., Dioskouroi: Studies presented to W.G. Cavanagh and C.B. Mee on the anniversary of their 30-year joint contribution to Aegean archaeology, Archaeopress. 3
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2007. Five words that shook the world: Plutarch, Lykourgos 16 and appropriations of Spartan communal property ownership in eighteenth-century France. In: PAUL CARTLEDGE, NIKOS BIRGALIAS and KOSTAS BURASELIS, eds., The Contribution of Ancient Sparta to Political Thought and Practice, Ekdosis Alexandreia. 417-431
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2007. The episode of Sphodrias as a source for Spartan social history. In: NICHOLAS SEKUNDA, ed., Corolla Cosmo Rodewald, Foundation for the Development of Gdańsk University. 43-65
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2007. L’élevage dans la polis grecque. In: PIERRE BRULÉ, JACQUES OULHEN and FRANCIS PROST, eds., Économie et Société en Grèce antique (478-88 av. J.-C.), Presses Universitaires de Rennes. 155-202
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON and ANTON POWELL, eds., 2006. Sparta and War, The Classical Press of Wales.
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2006. Was classical Sparta a military society?. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON and ANTON POWELL, eds., Sparta and War, The Classical Press of Wales. 111-162
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2006. Introduction. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON and ANTON POWELL, eds., Sparta and War, The Classical Press of Wales. vii-xxi
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2005. The imaginary Spartan politeia. In: MOGENS HERMAN HANSEN, ed., The Imaginary Polis, Det Kongelike Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. 222-281
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2005. Review of Sarah B. Pomeroy, Spartan Women, New York 2002, The Classical Journal. 100(3), 312-315
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2004. Female property ownership and empowerment in Classical and Hellenistic Sparta. In: THOMAS J FIGUEIRA, ed., Spartan Society, The Classical Press of Wales. 103-136
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2004. Ιδιοκτησία και Πλούτος στη Σπάρτη της Κλασικής Εποχής, Εκδόσεις Πατάκη.
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2003. Spartiates, helots and the direction of the agrarian economy: towards an understanding of helotage in comparative perspective. In: NINO LURAGHI and SUSAN E ALCOCK, eds., Helots and their Masters in Laconia and Messenia: Histories, Ideologies, Structures, Center for Hellenic Studies, Trustees for Harvard University. 248-285
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2003. La crianza de animales en la polis Griega. In: JULIÁN GALLEGO, ed., El Mundo Rural en la Grecia Antiqua, Ediciones Akal. 134-184
  • ANTON POWELL and STEPHEN HODKINSON, eds., 2002. Sparta: Beyond the Mirage, The Classical Press of Wales and Duckworth.
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2002. Introduction. In: ANTON POWELL and STEPHEN HODKINSON, eds., Sparta: Beyond the Mirage, The Classical Press of Wales and Duckworth. vii-xx
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2002. Spartiate landownership and inheritance. In: MICHAEL WHITBY, ed., Sparta, Edinburgh University Press. 86-89
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2002. Social order and the conflict of values in classical Sparta. In: MICHAEL WHITBY, ed., Sparta, Edinburgh University Press. 104-130
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2001. ΠΛΟΥΤΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΙΔΙΟΚΤΗΣΙΑ (ΣΤΗΝ ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΣΠΑΡΤΗ), IΣΤΟΡΙΚΑ (ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΟΤΥΠΙΑ). 87, 16-21
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2000. Property and Wealth in Classical Sparta, Duckworth and The Classical Press of Wales.
  • ROGER BROCK and STEPHEN HODKINSON, eds., 2000. Alternatives to Athens: Varieties of Political Organization and Community in Ancient Greece, Oxford University Press.
  • ROGER BROCK and STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2000. Introduction: Alternatives to the democratic polis. In: ROGER BROCK and STEPHEN HODKINSON, eds., Alternatives to Athens: Varieties of Political Organization and Community in Ancient Greece, Oxford University Press. 1-31
  • G.J. OLIVER, R. BROCK, T.J. CORNELL and S. HODKINSON, eds., 2000. The Sea in Antiquity, British Archaeological Reports.
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 2000. ΟΙΚΟΝΟΜΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΕΜΠΟΡΙΟ (ΣΤΗΝ ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΣΠΑΡΤΗ), IΣΤΟΡΙΚΑ (ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΟΤΥΠΙΑ). 61, 32-37
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON and ANTON POWELL, eds., 1999. Sparta: New Perspectives, Duckworth with the Classical Press of Wales.
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1999. Introduction. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON and ANTON POWELL, eds., Sparta: New Perspectives, Duckworth with The Classical Press of Wales. ix-xxvi
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1999. An agonistic culture? Athletic competition in archaic and classical Sparta. In: STEPHEN HODKINSON and ANTON POWELL, eds., Sparta: New Perspectives, Duckworth with The Classical Press of Wales. 147-187
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1998. Patterns of bronze dedications at Spartan sanctuaries, c.650-350 BC: towards a quantified database of material and religious investment. In: W.G. CAVANAGH and S.E.C. WALKER, eds., Sparta in Laconia: The Archaeology of a City and its Countryside, The British School at Athens. 55-63
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1998. Lakonian artistic production and the problem of Spartan austerity. In: NICK FISHER and HANS VAN WEES, eds., Archaic Greece: New Approaches and New Evidence, Duckworth with The Classical Press of Wales. 93-117
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1997. The development of Spartan society and institutions in the archaic period. In: LYNETTE G. MITCHELL and P.J. RHODES, eds., The Development of the Polis in Archaic Greece, Routledge. 83-102
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1997. Servile and free dependants of the Spartan oikos. In: MAURO MOGGI and GIUSEPPE CORDIANO, eds., Schiavi e Dipendenti nell'ambito dell'Oikos and della Familia, Edizioni ETS. 45-71
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1997. Review of N.M. Kennell, The Gymnasium of Virtue: Education and Culture in Ancient Sparta, Chapel Hill and London 1995, Journal of Hellenic Studies. 117, 240-242
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1996. Spartan society in the fourth century: crisis and continuity. In: PIERRE CARLIER, ed., Le IVe siècle av. J.-C.: Approches historiographiques, Association pour la Diffusion de la Recherche sur L’Antiquité. 85-101
  • ANTON POWELL and STEPHEN HODKINSON, eds., 1994. The Shadow of Sparta, Routledge for The Classical Press of Wales.
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1994. 'Blind Ploutos'? Contemporary images of the role of wealth in classical Sparta. In: ANTON POWELL and STEPHEN HODKINSON, eds., The Shadow of Sparta, Routledge for The Classical Press of Wales. 183-222
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1993. Warfare, wealth and the crisis of Spartiate society. In: JOHN RICH and GRAHAM SHIPLEY, eds., War and Society in the Greek World, Routledge. 146-176
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1992. Sharecropping and Sparta's economic exploitation of the helots. In: JAN MOTYKA SANDERS, ed., ΦΙΛΟΛΑΚΩΝ: Lakonian Studies in Honour of Hector Catling, The British School at Athens. 123-134
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1992. Modelling the Spartan crisis: computer simulation of the impact of inheritance systems upon the distribution of landed property, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library. 74(3), 25-38
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1992. Imperialist democracy and market-oriented pastoral production in classical Athens, Anthropozoologica. 16, 53-60
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1992. Review of P. Cartledge and A. Spawforth, Hellenistic and Roman Sparta: A Tale of Two Cities, London and New York 1989, Journal of Hellenic Studies. 112, 206
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1992. Review of Robert Sallares, The Ecology of the Greek World, Ithaca NY 1991, Classical Philology. 87(4), 376-381
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1990. Politics as a determinant of pastoralism: the case of southern Greece, c.800-300 BC, Rivista di Studi Liguri. 16, 139-164
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1989. Inheritance, marriage and demography: perspectives on the success and decline of classical Sparta. In: ANTON POWELL, ed., Classical Sparta: Techniques behind her Success, Routledge. 79-121
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1988. Animal husbandry in the Greek polis. In: C.R. WHITTAKER, ed., Pastoral Economies in Classical Antiquity, The Cambridge Philological Society. 35-74
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1988. Review of Paul Cartledge, Agesilaos and the Crisis of Sparta, London 1987, History of Political Thought. 9(1), 168-173
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1987. Review of D.M. MacDowell, Spartan Law, Edinburgh 1986, Journal of Hellenic Studies. 107, 231-232
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1986. Land tenure and inheritance in classical Sparta, Classical Quarterly. n.s. 36, 378-406
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1986. Review of J.F. Lazenby, The Spartan Army, Warminster 1985, The Classical Review. 36(2), 327-328
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1983. Social order and the conflict of values in classical Sparta, Chiron. 13, 239-281
  • STEPHEN HODKINSON, 1981. Mantineia and the Mantinike: settlement and society in a Greek polis, Annual of the British School at Athens. 76, 239-296

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University of Nottingham
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