The Spartan Heroic Death in Plutarch’s Laconian Apophthegms

Hermes 143 (1):72-82 (2015)
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Abstract

A number of aphorisms in Plutarch’s Laconian Apophthegms contain a similar verbal formulation indicating death in battle. This formulation can be traced back to Thucydides, and was likely descriptive of expected Spartan behavior from the time of Thermopylae. Its employment in the Apophthegms, masking personal and civic shortcomings, reveals both an insistence on maintaining this behavioral directive and the social anxiety surrounding its maintenance.

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Andrew Scott
University of Alaska, Anchorage

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