Article ID: CBB803080395

Servile Spartans and Free Citizen-soldiers in Aristotle’s Politics 7–8 (2018)


In the last two books of the Politics, Aristotle articulates an education program for his best regime in contrast to what he takes to be the goal and practices of Sparta’s educational system. Although Aristotle never refers to his program as liberal education, clearly he takes its goal to be the production of free male and female citizens. By contrast, he characterizes the results of the Spartan system as ‘crude’ (φορτικός), ‘slavish’ (ἀνδραποδώδης), and ‘servile’ (βάναυσος). I argue that Aristotle’s criticisms of Spartan education elucidate his general understanding of Sparta and provide an interpretative key to understanding Politics 7–8. But although Aristotle contrasts the goals and methods of Spartan education with that of his own best regime, the citizens of his best regime are more like Spartan citizen-soldiers than Athenian participatory-citizens.

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Authors & Contributors
Sachs, Joe
Moraux, Paul
Kouremenos, Theokritos
Lines, David A.
Younesie, Mostafa
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Ancient Philosophy
History of Political Thought
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Gender and History
Journal of the History of Philosophy
Green Lion Press
Walter de Gruyter
Franz Steiner Verlag
E. J. Brill
Cambridge University Press
University of Southern California
Philosophy and politics
Universities and colleges
Science and politics
Time Periods
14th century

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