Fascinating talk unpicks misconceptions and misuse of Spartan history

Fascinating talk unpicks misconceptions and misuse of Spartan history

11 March 2022

Katy, Lower Sixth

On Thursday 10 March, Professor Stephen Hodkinson from the University of Nottingham gave us a fascinating talk - “Spartans on the Capitol”.

He began by addressing the problematic usage of Spartan symbolism by far-right extremist groups, such as at the Capitol insurrection in January 2021, and even its regular use by gun lobbies in the USA with the Spartan motto “molon labe”. We then moved on to look at where all these violent and solely militaristic interpretations of Sparta had come from, and Professor Hodkinson explained why the Spartans were not just war-crying, blood-thirsty tribes. Don’t get me wrong – they were definitely good at war; it simply was not the most central aspect of their lives.

I believe there is an important lesson to be learned here about not only how we interpret history and avoid the pull of what has been “generally accepted”, but also about how we now view different cultures and groups of people. We must strive to avoid misconceptions to reach the truth, which Professor Hodkinson demonstrated wonderfully.

The talk was a great success, and I’m sure inspired many of us to do some research of our own. Many thanks to Dr Dixon for organising such a great event.

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