Sparta Live: Spartan death and commemoration
From Hannah O'Regan
Sparta Live! Spartan Death and Commemoration
Excavations conducted in Sparta between 1906 and 1994 uncovered fewer than 20 graves from entire time span between the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Roman period. Our knowledge of Spartan burial practices was, as a result, based on a handful of short passages in ancient literary sources. A major change came in 1994 with the extension of archaeological protection to the entire area of ancient Sparta. That change produced a sharp increase in the number of rescue excavations in previously unexplored parts of Sparta and resulted in the discovery of the first known extramural cemetery in Sparta and dozens of intramural graves. This new information has greatly enhanced our knowledge of Spartan burial practices.
Professor Paul Christesen (Dartmouth College) presents a brief overview of what we now know about Spartans buried their dead and how that compares to burial practices in other nearby city-states.
Professor Polly Low (University of Durham) discusses the expectations and customs surrounding the treatment of the war dead in the Greek world (outside Sparta): what happened to those killed in battle, how, where and by whom were they buried, and how were they commemorated? As a case-study, she focuses on the burial of the Athenians killed at Marathon: an atypical example in some ways, but one which still exemplifies some important aspects of Greek practice, and provides an interesting comparison/contrast to Spartan treatment of their dead.
Professor Paul Christesen (Dartmouth College)
Professor Polly Low (University of Durham)
Dr Petros Doukas (Mayor of Sparti)
Dr Chrysanthi Gallou (University of Nottingham)
SPARTA LIVE Series is a new programme of online live presentations and discussion workshops on the history, archaeology and legacy of ancient Sparta. The programme is run by The Centre for Spartan & Peloponnesian Studies (CSPS) at the University of Nottingham, in partnership with the City of Sparti in Laconia, Greece – the site of ancient Sparta.
Find out more about the UoN Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies (CSPS), visit: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/csps/home.aspx