This 3-part series charts the rise and fall of one of the most intriguing and extreme civilizations of the ancient world. Classical historian Bettany Hughes reveals this secretive, surprising society of battle-hardened warriors, weak babies left exposed on hillsides to die and powerful, liberated women. The story unfolds against the spectacular mountain scenery of Sparta in the Peloponnese and the stunning landscape and archaeology of classical Greece. Unlike its more famous rival, Athens, Sparta can't boast of philosophers, playwrights or politicians. It's famous for its frugality and its fighters - reputed to be the bestin the whole of ancient Greece.
The Spartans Previous Broadcasts
KQED World: Sun, Aug 2, 2009 -- 8:00 PM
The second hour explores the bitter rivalry between Sparta and Athens and their startlingly different views of women. They are two cities with opposite views of the "good life." For Athens, Sparta is a frightening place that turns its children into fighting machines. Worse still are Sparta's women: liberated, independent, opinionated, they take an active part in sport, race horses and chariots, celebrate nudity and wield power in the absence of their men. They are unique in the ancient world -- and an affront to Athenian notions of femininity. When war between Sparta and Athens finally comes, it rages for decades and splits the Greek world until on the island of Sphacteria, the reputation for fearlessness of Sparta's famed warriors is shockingly undermined.
- KQED World: Mon, Aug 3, 2009 -- 2:00 AM