Guerra e iniziazioni a Sparta e a Yulami: il miraggio spartano nell'antropologia oceanistica

Elena Franchi


Rites of socialization and war customs are two aspects of Spartan society significantly distorted by the 'Spartan mirage': i.e., the notion that the Spartans practiced initiation rites and undertook ritual warfare - a point of view from which Sparta appears very different from the other ancient Greek cities but similar to some African or Aboriginal tribes. Although classical scholars have now freed themselves from this illusion, it nevertheless persists in a part of contemporary anthropological studies: a very conventional and idealized image of Sparta is often the point of reference and shapes descriptions of rites of socialization and war customs in present-day ethnographic contexts.

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