Xénophon et le mythe de Lycurgue

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Xenophon’s Lakedaimoniōn Politeia marks a crucial stage in the development of a political myth – the myth of Lykourgos. It is here that, for the first time in our sources, one finds a categorical defence of Lykourgos’ originality, which is supported inter alia by a chronological manipulation : the primordial date ascribed to the Spartan lawgiver. This work marks the beginnings of a veritable cult of personality, which is based on the concept of a culture hero : a pragmatic philosopher, a brilliant statesman and a pedagogue – the embodiment of perfect wisdom. Xenophon’s Lakedaimoniōn Politeia also marks a complete fusion between the myth of Lykourgos and that of an ideal Sparta which, for the first time in the surviving sources, is contrasted to a decadent Sparta (probably under the influence of King Pausanias’ lost pamphlet).
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)297-310
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007

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