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A History of Ancient Sparta

Valor, Virtue, and Devotion in the Greek Golden Age
Narrated by: Prof. Timothy B. Shutt
Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: History, Ancient
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Summary

A born teacher and lecturer, Professor Timothy B. Shutt examines the history and culture of ancient Sparta, a society renowned for military excellence and adherence to the values of courage, discipline, duty, and the overcoming of fear. Vastly outnumbered at the Battle of Thermopylae, the Spartan "300" held off an overwhelming Persian force before finally succumbing - but not without inflicting massive casualties and inspiring the rest of the Greeks with the notion that they could persevere.

In this enlightening series of lectures, Professor Shutt delves into Spartan culture, examining its origins, government, religion, and the major events that defined its history.

©2009 Timothy B. Shutt (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent overview

Found this to be a informative and enjoyable listen..Gives a great insight into all aspects of Spartan life.Definitly would recommend to all with an interest in this history period

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dry overview of Spartan history.

Well researched and with a good combination of fun anecdotes and historical narrative this book is a good sign posting exercise for ancient Sparta from the legendary descendants of Heracles; their role at troy; the ever famous Thermopylae to the Pellipolesian wars and eventual subject to Rome.

The performance could have done with much more direction and editing as there is a lot of dead air and the lecturer stops in mid sentence or quote making you wonder if the book had stopped.

There isn't a discussion of the controversy about if the Spartans killed any young that were considered unfit but I'm not sure if this was a recent discussion.

As pop history goes there are a number of references to historical fiction Gates of Fire (Pressfield) which whilst enjoyable I understand uses a lot of fictional creations where history is not forthcoming.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Adam Brown
  • 16-03-15

Can't get enough

Masterfully told, a true pleasure to listen to. I found myself listening to these lectures over and over again.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dale
  • 11-11-10

OK for a beginner

I'm a pure amateur with an interest in ancient history. I stumbled on this and assumed it would be an introduction to the topic. It was but I can easily imagine how this treatment might be bothersome to anyone not ignorant of the subject or with more than a passing knowledge of the subject. These are a series of lectures that seem to be designed to be spaced out as they would be in a college classroom. There is a lot of repetition and the lectures are about the duration of a college classroom session. Dr. Shutt often gets a bit off topic and uses a number of digressions which are a little odd. Bottom line: If you are totally ignorant of the topic, want a "big picture" treatment, and don't mind the "classroom" lecture structure then check it out. Otherwise you might find something more substantial and tightly organized.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 06-03-15

Great overview!

An exciting though relaxed approach to Greek history. Shutt comes across as a teacher you could easily discuss Sparta over a beer at your favorite pub.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chet
  • 22-11-11

Enjoyable and thorough overview of the Spartans

I'm not a professional historian, but have read/listened to many books on this subject. I found Professor Shutt's work enjoyable and thorough. His narration was excellent...makes it seem like you are sitting in and auditing his course.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • melanie
  • 16-12-09

interesting and enjoyable

i really enjoyed this audiobook. Unlike another reviewer, I liked the old professor's delivery style and found it charming in an old professorish sort of way. I have always wanted to know more about Sparta and this book certainly did that for me - and it was so interesting!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • steve
  • 26-05-11

Can I get more?

This was a great listen, extremely education and in depth. My only question is where can I find more of other titles just like these.?.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sammy
  • 07-12-18

Entertaining and informative

I learned much while listening to this book. Easy to follow and well enjoyed.

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  • Trace
  • 16-07-18

excellent lecture

i love hearing professor Shutt! His ability to bring past civilizations to life is astounding, and how he rarely speculates but when he does he tells you he is. An excellent read all around.

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  • Brett
  • 27-11-16

Great info

I usually have it on in the truck on my way to work. I think it's facinating how much we have garbled 1000 years of history into what we think is the spartan story at Thermopylae. Worth a listen if you want to delve into what Sparta actually was in the ancient world. Even better if you have read the Iliad, Odyssey and The Histories first.

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  • Peter S. Shirley
  • 10-05-16

Very informative and well structured

This book did a great job of telling what is known. The author did a good job of injecting his own opinions about contested history while labeling them as that. I found the pace of the narration too slow but at 1.5x speed it was fine (I almost never use that feature).