Paul Cartledge “The Context and Meaning of the Battle of Marathon” – Marathon2500 Lecture #1

Professor Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Professor Greek Culture, Cambridge University and Hellenic Parliament Global Distinguished Professor in the History and Theory of Democracy at New York University, delivered on September 28, 2010 in front of a live audience at New York University’s Center for Ancient Studies and around the world to the Reading Odyssey’s remote lecture network, the Marathon2500 kickoff kickoff lecture.

Professor Cartledge’s Marathon2500 launch lecture, “The Context and Meaning of the Battle of Marathon: Why we are celebrating the 2,500 year anniversary”, a sometimes funny and always scholarly talk, set the stage for the yearlong Marathon2500 program. 

Listen here to Professor Cartledge’s kickoff lecture delivered September 28, 2010:

See the slides:

About Marathon2500

With the support of several of the world’s best Hellenic scholars and sports historians, Marathon2500 commemorated the 2,500-year anniversary of the Battle of Marathon with nine lectures between September 2010 and September 2011 on the cultural, intellectual and athletic legacy of the battle. Delivered before live audiences, webcast online and archived for listening on demand, Marathon2500 was a program of the Reading Odyssey chaired by Professor Paul Cartledge. To multiply the impact around the world, the Reading Odyssey worked with libraries, community centers, universities, colleges, high schools, museums and sports organizations to create satellite listening centers (see more about the remote lecture network here).

Marathon2500 Podcast Library 

Professor Paul Cartledge and the Reading Odyssey have preserved the Marathon2500 lecture series in podcast format for readers, students and scholars. 

To access the whole library, click here:

– – –
Professor Paul Cartledge Biography

Clare College, Cambridge CB2 1TL
Tel: 01223 335163 (Faculty)

Paul Cartledge, Hellenic Parliament Global Distinguished Professor in the History and Theory of Democracy at New York University and A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek History, the A G Leventis Professor of Greek Culture and a Fellow of Clare College at Cambridge, is a world expert on Athens and Sparta in the Classical Age and has been described as a Laconophile. He was chief historical consultant for the BBC TV series The Greeks and the Channel 4 series The Spartans, presented by Bettany Hughes. He is also a holder of the Gold Cross of the Order of Honour (Greece) and an Honorary Citizen of (modern) Sparta. Besides the posts at Cambridge, he holds a visiting Global Distinguished Professorship at New York University, funded by the Greek Parliament.

He has written a wide number of scholarly articles, books and books for the general public. He has a real passion for reaching the general reader and is a longtime advisor to and board member of the Reading Odyssey. He was the chief advisor and chair of Marathon2500.


1.   Sparta and Lakonia: a regional history 1300-362 BC, 2nd edn (London & NY, 2002; Ist edn, 1979)

2.   CRUX. Essays in Greek History presented to G.E.M. de Ste. Croix on his 75th birthday (London, 1985) [co-editor & contributor]

3.   Agesilaos and the Crisis of Sparta (London & Baltimore, 1987; reprint 2000)

4.   Hellenistic and Roman Sparta: a tale of two cities (London & NY, 1989, corr. pb. 1991) [co-author] (repr. with bibl. add. 2002)

5.   Aristophanes and his Theatre of the Absurd (Bristol & London, 1990; updated edn, 1999) [Greek tr. 2006]

6.   NOMOS. Essays in Athenian Law, Politics and Society  (Cambridge, 1990, repr. 2002) [co-editor & contributor]

7.   Religion in the Ancient Greek City, by L. Bruit-Zaidman & P.  Schmitt-Pantel (French original 1989, Cambridge, 1992 & many repr. with bibliogr. updates) [editor & translator]

8.  The Greeks. A Portrait of Self and Others, 2nd edn (Oxford, 2002; original edn, ‘OPUS’ series, 1993, rev. edn 1997) [enlarged German trans. 1998; Japanese trans. 2001; Greek trans. 2002]

9.   Hellenistic Constructs: Essays in culture, history, and historiography (Berkeley, L.A. & London, 1997) [co-editor, contributor]

10. The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece rev. edn       (Cambridge, 2002; original hb edn, 1997; US 1998; [creator, editor and contributor] [German trans. by W. Nippel, 2000; Greek, Korean, Portuguese & Chinese transl., 2004] [won John D. Criticos Prize of London Hellenic Society, 1998]

11. Xenophon: Hiero the Tyrant and Other Treatises (London, Classics, 1997, rev. reissue 2005) [co-author, trans. & comm.]

12. KOSMOS. Essays in Athenian Order, Conflict and Community      (Cambridge, 1998, repr. 2002) [co-editor and contributor]

13. Democritus and Atomistic Politics (London, 1998) [Spanish,       Portuguese, Finnish, Italian, Hebrew, Greek, Japanese trans.]

14. The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization (N.Y., 2000; London, 2001) [Spanish trans., 2001]

15. Spartan Reflections (London & Berkeley/L.A., 2001) [a collection of 13 essays, revised/updated and new; Greek trans. 2004]

16. Money, Labour, and Land. Approaches to the economies of ancient Greece (London & N.Y., 2001)[co-editor and contributor]

17. The Spartans: An Epic History (London, 2002, pb 2003; N.Y. York, 2003;    pb. 2004 [Greek trans. 2004]

18. Alexander the Great: the Hunt for a New Past (London, & NY, 2004, pb 2005) [Greek, Bulgarian,
Korean trans, 2005]

19.  Thermopylae: the Battle that Changed the World  (London & NY, 2006; pb 2007)

20. I Symvoli tis Arhkaias Spartis stin Politiki Skepsi kai Praktiki/ The Contribution of Ancient Sparta to Political Thought and Practice (Athens: Alexandria, 2007), [co-ed. with N. Birgalias, K. Buraselis]

21. Eine Trilogie uber die Demokratie (Stuttgart: Steiner-Verlag, 2008)

22. Ancient Greek Political Thought In Practice  (Cambridge, 2009)

23. Ancient Greece. A History in Eleven Cities (O.U.P., 2009, OUP NY 2010)

24. Forever Young. Why Cambridge Has a Professorship of Greek Culture (A.G. Leventis Professorship Inaugural Lecture, Feb. 16  2009, C.U.P. December 2009)

25. Responses to Oliver Stone’s *Alexander*: Film, History, and  Cultural Studies (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010) [co-ed.  with F. Rose Greenland]


ARTICLES  (refereed journals and books) include:

1.     ‘The Second Thoughts of Augustus on the res publica in 28/27 BC’ Hermathena  119 (1975) 30-40

2.    ‘Toward the Spartan revolution’ Arethusa  8 (1975)

3.    ‘The enlightened historigraphy of Edward Gibbon, Esq.: a bicentennial celebration’ Maynooth Review  3 (1977) 67-93

4.    ‘Hoplites and Heroes: Sparta’s contribution to the technique of ancient warfare’ JHS 97 (1977) 11-27 [German trans., with add., in K. Christ (ed.) Sparta (WdF 622, Darmstadt 1986) 387-425, 470]

5.      ‘Literacy in the Spartan oligarchy’ JHS 98 (1978) 25-37

6.      ‘The peculiar position of Sparta in the development of the Greek city-state’ Proc. Royal Irish Academy 80C (1980) 91-108 [repr. with add. in Book no. 15]

7.      ‘Spartan wives: liberation or licence?’ CQ 31 (1981) 84-105 [repr. with add. in Book no. 15]

8.      ‘The politics of Spartan pederasty’ PCPhS 27 (1981) 17-36 [repr., with add., in A.K. Siems (ed.) Sexualität und Erotik in der Antike (WdF 605, Darmstadt 1988) 388-415; and in W.R. Dynes & S. Donaldson (eds.) Homosexuality in the Ancient World (Garland, N.Y. 1992)] [repr. with add. in Book no. 15]

9.       Sparta and Samos: a special relationship?’ CQ 32 (1982) 243-65 [repr. with add. in Book no. 15]

10.    ‘”Trade and Politics” revisited: Archaic Greece’. In Trade in the Ancient Economy, ed. P. Garnsey, K. Hopkins & C.R. Whittaker (Hogarth P. & U. Calif. P., 1983) 1-15

11.    ‘The Greek religious festivals’. In Greek Religion and Society, ed. P.E. Easterling & J.V. Muir (C.U.P., 1985) 98-127, 223-6

12.    ‘Rebels and Sambos in Classical Greece: a comparative view’.   In CRUX [Book, no. 2, 1985] 16-46

13.     ‘The “Tacitism” of Edward Gibbon (200 years on)’ Mediterranean Historical Rev. 4 (1989) 251-70

14.    ‘Herodotus and “the Other”: a meditation on empire’ EMC/CV 9 (1990) 27-40 [Greek translation in A. Melista & G. Sotiropoulou eds Herodotos. Dekatessara Meletimata, Athens 2005]

15.    ‘The importance of being Dorian: an onomastic gloss on the       Hellenism of Oscar Wilde’ Hermathena 148 (1990) 7-15 [repr. with add. in Book no. 15]

16.    ‘Fowl Play: a curious lawsuit in Classical Athens (Antiphon frr. 57-59 Thalheim)’. In NOMOS [Book, no. 6] (1990) 41-61

17.    ‘Early Lakedaimon: the making of a conquest-state’. In PHILOLAKON. Lakonian studies in honour of H.W. Catling, ed. J.M. Sanders (Oxbow P. & British School at Athens, 1992) 49-55

18.    ‘A Spartan education’. In APODOSIS. Essays presented to Dr W.W. Cruickshank on his eightieth birthday (St Paul’s Sch., 1992) 10-19 [repr. with add. in Book no. 15]

19.    ‘The silent women of Thucydides: 2.45.2 re-viewed’. In NOMODEIKTES. Fest. M. Ostwald, ed. R. Rosen & J. Farrell (U. of  Michigan P., 1993) 125-32

20.    ‘”Like a Worm i’ the Bud”? A heterology of Classical Greek slavery’ Greece & Rome 40 (1993) 163-80

21.    ‘”We are all Greeks”? Ancient (especially Herodotean) and modern contestations of Hellenism’ BICS n.s. 2 (1995 [1996]) 75-82

22.    ‘Vindicating Gibbon’s good faith’ Hermathena 148 (Summer 1995 [1996]) 133-47

23.    ‘Comparatively Equal’. In Demokratia: A conversation on       democracies, ancient and modern, ed. J. Ober & C.W. Hedrick (Princeton U.P., 1996) 175-85 [repr. with add. in Book no. 15]

24.    ‘La Politica’. In I Greci: storia-cultura-arte-società, ed. S. Settis (Einaudi, 1996), vol. I: 39-72

25.    ‘La nascita degli opliti e l’organizzazione militare’. In ibid. II.1 (1996) 681-714 [publ. in original Eng. version, with add., in Book no. 15]

26.    ‘Utopie et Critique de la politique’. In Le Savoir grec. Dictionnaire critique, ed. J. Brunschwig & G.E.R. Lloyd (Flammarion, 1996; E.T. Harvard UP, 2001 = no. 44) 200-17

27.    Some 35 articles in The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd edn (1996) incl. ‘Economy, Greek’, ‘Slavery, Greek’, Trade, Greek’, ‘Industry’

28.    ‘Introduction’ and ‘Historiography and ancient Greek self-definition’ in M. Bentley (ed.) Routledge Companion to Historiography (1997) 3-10, 23-42

29.    ‘Agathoergoi’, ‘Agelai’, ‘Agoge’ in Der Neue Pauly 1 (1997)

30.    ‘”Deep Plays”: theatre as process in Athenian civic life’, Inaugural chapter of The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, ed. P.E. Easterling (C.U.P., 1997) 3-35

31.    ‘Introduction’ to [Book, no. 10, 1997] 1-19

32.    ‘Editorial Introduction’. In [Book, no. 12, 1998] 1-12

33.    ‘Writing the history of Archaic Greek political thought’ in N. Fisher & H. van Wees (eds.) Archaic Greece: New Approaches and New Evidence (Classical P of Wales/Duckworth 1998) 379-99

34.    ‘Enomotia’, ‘Freigelassene [I, Griechenland]’, ‘Gymnetes’, ‘Heloten’, ‘Homoioi’, ‘Krypteia’ Der Neue Pauly vols 2-3 (1998)

35.    ‘The economy (economies) of ancient Greece’ DIALOGOS 5 (1998) 4-24 [repr. in W. Scheidel & S. von Reden eds The Ancient Economy (2002) 11-32]

36.    ‘Cambridge Classics for the Third Millennium’ in S. Ormrod (ed.) Cambridge Contributions (C.U.P., 1998) 103-21

37.    ‘Classics: from discipline in crisis to (multi)cultural capital?’ in Pedagogy and Power: Rhetorics of Classical Learning, ed. Y.L. Too & N. Livingstone (C.U.P., 1998) 16-28

38.    ‘The machismo of the Athenian empire – or the reign of the phaulus?’ in L. Foxhall & J. Salmon (eds.) When Men Were Men: Masculinity, power and identity in classical antiquity (Routledge, 1998) 54-65

39.    ‘City and chora in Sparta: Archaic to Hellenistic’ in W.G. Cavanagh & S.E.C. Walker (eds.) Sparta in Laconia (Proc. 19th B.M. Classical Colloquium, 6-8 Dec. 1995) (London 1999) 39-47 [repr. with add. in Book no. 15]

40.    ‘The Socratics’ Sparta and Rousseau’s’ in S. Hodkinson & A. Powell (eds.) Sparta: New Perspectives (London 1999) 311-37

41.    ‘Democratic politics ancient and modern: from Cleisthenes to Mary Robinson’ Hermathena 166 (Summer 1999 [2000]) 5-29

42.    ‘Utopia and the Critique of Politics’ in J. Brunschwig & G.E.R. Lloyd (eds) Greek Thought. A Guide to Classical Kn
owledge (Cambridge, MA & London 2000) 163-79

43.    ‘The Historical Context’. Inaugural chapter of The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought, ed. M. Schofield & C. Rowe (C.U.P., 2000) 11-22

44.    ‘Introduction’ to George Grote A History of Greece: From the Time of Solon to 403 BC, ed. M.O.B. Caspari and  J.M. Mitchell (Routledge, 2000 [originally 1907])

45.    ‘Martin Bernal et la fureur Black Athena’ in F.-X. Fauvelle-Aymar et al  (eds) Afrocentrismes: l’Histoire en jeu (Karthala, Paris, 2000) 47-63  

46.    ‘Boeotian Swine F(or)ever? The Boeotian Superstate, 395 BCE’ in P. Flensted-Jensen et al. (eds.) Polis & Politics. Studies in Ancient Greek History presented to M.H. Hansen on his sixtieth birthday (Copenhagen 2000) 397-418

47.    ‘Spartan justice? or “The State of the Ephors”?’ DIKE 3 (2000) 5-26

48.    ‘Peloponnesian War aftermath’, in D. McCann & B.S. Strauss (eds.) War and Democracy. A comparative study of the Korean War and the Peloponnesian War (Armonk, NY, & London 2001) 104-23

49.    ‘Pausanias in Laconia’ in S.E. Alcock, J.F. Cherry & J.R. Elsner eds, Pausanias: Travel and Memory in Roman Greece (NY 2001)

50.    ‘Odysseus in Auschwitz’, Foreword to F. Hartog, Memories of Odysseus: Frontier tales from Ancient Greece (Edinburgh U.P., 2001) vii-xi

51.    ‘Ellines kai Barbaroi’ in A-Ph Christidis (ed) Istoria ti Ellinikis Glossas (Thessaloniki 2001) 

52.    ‘The political economy of Greek slavery’ in Money, Labour and Land [book no. 16] 156-66

53.    ‘The reliability debate: truth, fiction, polarity’ in H. van Wees ed. A Companion to Herodotus (Leiden 2002) ch. 19 [with E. Greenwood]

54.    ‘Greek civilisation and slavery’ in T.P. Wiseman ed. Classics in Progress: Essays on Ancient Greece and Rome (London: British Academy 2002) 247-62

55.    ‘What is Social History Now?’ in D. Cannadine (ed.) What Is History Now? (Basingstoke 2002) 19-35

56.    ‘Raising hell? The Helot mirage – a personal re-view’ in N. Luraghi & S.E. Alcock (eds) Helots and their Masters in Laconia and Messenia. Histories, Ideologies, Structures (Washington, DC, 2003) 12-30

57.    ‘Some (More) Talk of Alexander’, preface to Cl. Mossé, Alexander. Destiny and Myth (2004) vii-xi Games in Antiquity. Bring Forth Rain and Bear Fruit, Athens, 2004, 22-39 (parallel Greek-English texts)

59.    ‘What have the Spartans done for us?: Sparta’s contribution to Western civilisation’ Greece & Rome 2nd ser, 51.2 (2004) 164-79 and [slightly different] in Rivista Storica dell’ Antichità 34 (2004) 129-46

60.    ‘Gibbon, Edward’ and ‘Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière’ in R.B. Todd ed. Dictionary of British Classicists (2004)

61.    ‘The Greeks for All? The Media and the Masses’ Greek Art in View. Fest. B.A. Sparkes, ed. S. Keay & S. Moser (Oxford, 2004) 159-67

62.    ‘Why/How Does Classics Matter?’ in Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 4.2 (June 2005), ed. S. Ormrod, 185-99

63.    Numerous entries in G. Shipley et al. (eds) The Cambridge Dictionary of Classical Civilization (C.U.P., 2006)

64.    ‘Sparta and the Spartans in Thucydides’ in A. Rengakos & A. Tsakmakis eds The Brill Companion to Thucydides (Leiden 2006) 559-87 [with P. Debnar]

65.    ‘Democracy, origins of: Contribution to a debate’ in K.A. Raaflaub & R. Wallace (eds.) Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece: interpretations and controversies (U Cal. P, 2006) ch. 6

66.    ‘Spartan traditions and receptions’ in Fest. G.L. Huxley, ed. B.C. McGing & M. Humphries (special issue of Hermathena 181 [Winter 2006, publ. 2007]) 41-9

67.    ‘Greeks and “barbarians”‘ in A.-F. Christidis ed. A History of Ancient Greek.  From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2007) ch. 21

68. ‘Economy of Ancient Greece’ in S. Durlauf & L. Blume eds New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

69. ‘Black Sparta(n)?’ in C. Gallou, M. Georgiadis & G.M. Muskett  eds DIOSKOUROI. Studies presented to W.G. Cavanagh and  C.B. Mee on the anniversary of their 30-year joint  contribution to Aegean Archaeology (B.A.R. Int. ser. 1889,  2008) 329-33

70. ‘Introduction: the Spartan tradition – a personal re-view’ in  W.G.Cavanagh, C. Gallou & M. Georgiadis eds Sparta and Laconia From Prehistory to Pre-Modern (BSA Studies 16,  London 2009) 1-4

71. ‘Foreword’ in S.Goldhill & E. Hall eds Sophocles and the Greek Tragic tradition (Cambridge, 2009) xi-xii

72. ‘”Rights”, Individuals, and Communities in Ancient Greece’ in  R. Balot ed. A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought (Malden, MA, & Oxford, 2009) 149-63 [with M. Edge]

73. ‘Taking Herodotus Personally’ Classical World 102.4 (2009) 393-404

74. ‘Hellenism in the Enlightenment’ in G.R. Boys-Stones, B. Graziosi, & P. Vasunia (eds) Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies (O.U.P., 2009) 166-72

75. ‘Sparta’s Apollo(ne)s’ in L. Athanassaki, R. Martin & J. Miller eds. Apolline Politics & Poetics (Hellenic Ministry of Culture-ECCD 2003, Athens, 2009) 643-54

76. Appendix E , ‘Spartan Government and Society’, 347-58;  Appendix F, ‘The Spartan Army  (and the Battle of Leuctra)’,  359-63; Appendix G, ‘Agesilaos’, 364-68, in R. Strassler, ed. The Landmark Xenophon’s Hellenika (trans. J. Marincola) (Pantheon, 2009)


29. September 2010 by Phil Terry
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