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Posts Tagged ‘Frank Miller’

“The best are those who are raised in the severest school.” To the best of my knowledge, my grandmother never read Thucydides (whence that quote comes; Archidamus at 1.84), or Herodotus, or Plutarch’s life of Lycurgus, or any of the other ancient accounts of Sparta and its values, but she didn’t have to; she could draw on a substantial popular tradition of images of Spartan life and attitudes, including her favourite admonitory story of the Spartan boy and the fox. As a child I was never sure what the lesson was supposed to be – don’t get caught? if you get caught, never confess? – but in retrospect I think it was more a kind of mood music: big boys don’t cry, that’s just a scratch, a family of starving Bangladeshis could live on that for a week (on failing to eat one’s crusts), and in my day we’d have been sent to bed without any supper for less than that. The Spartans tell you why you shouldn’t ever have more than one slice of cake. (more…)

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