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  Luxury and Wealth in Sparta and the Peloponnese
Edited by Stephen Hodkinson and Chrysanthi Gallou
ISBN 978-1-910589-83-0 Hardback 2022

A Spartan lifestyle proverbially describes austerity; ancient Greek luxury was associated with Ionia and the oriental world. The contributions to this book, first presented at a conference held by the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies, reverse the stereotype and explore the role of luxury and wealth at Sparta and among its Peloponnesian neighbors from the Iron Age to the Hellenistic period.

Using literary, archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic evidence, an international team of specialists investigates the definition and changing meanings of the term luxury and its nearest ancient Greek equivalents, providing new insights into Sparta’s supposed abstention from luxury, and the way that this was portrayed by ancient writers. They analyse wealth production and private and public spending, emphasising features that were distinctive to Sparta and the Peloponnese compared with other parts of ancient Greece. Other chapters investigate issues still familiar in the contemporary world: economic crisis and debt, austerity measures, and relief provisions for the poor.


Shortly after this volume was submitted to the Classical Press of Wales (CPW), the world of Spartan and Peloponnesian studies suffered a great loss with the untimely death in June 2020 of the press’s founder and General Editor, Dr Anton Powell. Since the late 1980s Anton has been a towering figure in the field of Spartan studies. Not only has he personally authored many important and seminal articles on archaic, classical and hellenistic Spartan history and society; equally importantly, he has developed a diverse global community of like-minded academic colleagues within the International Sparta Seminar and has used the CPW as a venue for the Seminar’s deliberations to appear in print. Since 1999, CPW has published no fewer than 15 books on Spartan history and its modern reception, including several monographs by international colleagues. The astounding renaissance of Spartan history over the last generation would have been impossible without Anton Powell. - Stephen Hodkinson


Stephen Hodkinson is an internationally recognised authority on Sparta and the founder of the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies. Author of numerous influential studies on Greek history, his Property and Wealth in Classical Sparta (CPW, 2000) is the leading work in its field. He has been made an Honorary Citizen of modern Sparta for his contributions to the global understanding of Spartan history. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at the University of Nottingham.

Chrysanthi Gallou is a leading specialist in Aegean prehistory, especially in the archaeology of Sparta and Lakonia. She is Director of the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies. Author of many studies on the Greek Bronze and Early Iron Ages, her monograph Death in Mycenaean Laconia: A silent place (2020) is the first book-length study of the Late Bronze Age burial tradition in the southeastern Peloponnese. She is currently Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Nottingham.


The contributors

Robin Osborne (University of Cambridge)

The politics of flashing: from wealth of material to discourse of luxury in a world full of gods.

P.J. Finglass (University of Bristol)

Alcman’s early transmission and archaic Spartan society

Chrysanthi Gallou (University of Nottingham)

'as we carry a robe to the dawn Goddess' : luxurious textiles in Spartan and Lakedaimonian sanctuaries

Annalisa Paradiso (Università della Basilicata) and James Roy (University of Nottingham)

Kyniska: production and use of wealth

Alain Bresson (University of Chicago)

Closed economy, debt and the Spartan crisis

Ellen Millender (Reed College)

Spartan female luxury? Wealth, τρυφή, and Sparta’s ‘loose’women

Paul Christesen (Dartmouth College)

7 Luxury, lost in translation: τρυφή in Plutarch’s Sparta

Alain Duplouy (Université de Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Funerary luxury and austerity in pre-classical Argos and Corinth: the making of citizen communities

Elena Franchi (Università di Trento)

Women in gold: luxurious objects, excellence and prestige in the Peloponnese

Georgia Kokkorou-Alevras (University of Athens)

Marble: a luxury material in early Greek architecture

Sarah C. Murray (University of Toronto)

Paths to wealth in Central Greece, Ionia and the Peloponnese

Lucia Cecchet (Universität Mainz)

Austerity for the poor: imposition and relief

Sophia Aneziri (University of Athens)

Civic and religious euergetism in the Hellenistic Peloponnese: the epigraphic evidence

Selene Psoma (University of Athens)

Luxury and wealth in the Hellenist