Friday, March 18, 2016

On Sparta

I have found myself of late consumed by an incessant need to read about Sparta.
I have devoured (again)  Thermopylae:  The Battle for the West.  I have paged through (again) portions of A War Like No Other and The Spartans: The World of the Warrior Class in Ancient Greece.  I am reading through Plutarch's On Sparta and have just about finished Sparta's Kings.

Why, you might sensibly ask, have I been consumed with an ancient state in a province of Greece that is so dissimilar from anything that we experience in the modern world?

I am not sure.  Perhaps it is a longing for a simpler time.  Or perhaps a longing for nobility in leadership (Reading about the Battle of Thermopylae will do that for you).  Or perhaps, especially as I get towards the end of Sparta's Kings, it is the melancholy of seeing the dissolution and decline of a society - in so many ways, it seems like looking into a mirror of the state of the world as it is.

Is there a lesson in all of the things I have been reading?  Perhaps not any I can immediately take away but must meditate on to make sense of them.  But the one that truly seems to stick out at me is that once the fabric of a society is torn, it is never true mended back together.

And it is only fools that otherwise feel this to be so.

No comments: