Cartledge, Paul 1947–

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Cartledge, Paul 1947–

PERSONAL: Born March 24, 1947, in London, England; son of Marcus Raymond (a banker) and Margaret (Oakley) Cartledge; married Judith Portrait (a lawyer), July 21, 1976; children: Gabrielle. Education: Oxford University, B.A. (with first class honors), 1969, D.Phil., 1975.

ADDRESSES: Office—Clare College, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB2 1TL, England.

CAREER: New University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, lecturer in classics, 1972–73; Trinity College, Dublin, lecturer in classics, 1973–78; University of Warwick, Coventry, England, lecturer in classical civilization, 1978–79; Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, lecturer in ancient history, beginning 1979, professorial fellow in classics at Clare College, beginning 1981, reader in Greek history, 1993–99, professor of Greek history, 1999–, chair of the faculty of classics.

MEMBER: Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, Society of Antiquaries of London (fellow).

AWARDS, HONORS: Leverhulme grant, 1982; Gold Cross of the Order of Honor, Greece, 2002; Honorary Citizen of Sparta, Greece, 2005.



Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History, 1300–362 B.C., Routledge & Kegan Paul (Boston, MA), 1979, 2nd edition, Routledge (New York, NY), 2002.

Agesilaos and the Crisis of Sparta, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1987.

(With A.J.S. Spawforth) Hellenistic and Roman Sparta: A Tale of Two Cities, Routledge & Kegan Paul (Boston, MA), 1989.

Aristophanes and His Theatre of the Absurd, Duckworth (London, England), 1990.

The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1993, 2nd edition, 2002.

Democritus: Democritus and Atomistic Politics (Volume 14 of the "Great Philosophers" series), Phoenix (London, England), 1998, published as Democritus, Routledge (New York, NY), 1999.

The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization (companion volume to a Public Broadcasting Service documentary), TV Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Spartan Reflections, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2001.

The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece, from Utopia to Crisis and Collapse, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2003.

Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past (biography), Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2004.


(With F.D. Harvey, and contributor) Crux: Essays in Greek History Presented to G.E.M. de Ste. Croix, Duckworth (London, England), 1985.

(With P.C. Millett and S.C. Todd, and contributor) Nomos: Essays in Athenian Law, Politics, and Society, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Peter Garnsey and Erich Gruen, and author of introduction) Hellenistic Constructs: Essays in Culture, History, and Historiography, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1997.

The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Paul Millett and Sitta von Reden) Kosmos: Essays in Order, Conflict, and Community in Classical Athens, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Edward E. Cohen and Lin Foxhall) Money, Labour and Land: Approaches to the Economies of Ancient Greece, Routledge (New York, NY), 2002.


(Author of introduction and notes) Xenophon, Hiero the Tyrant and Other Treatises, translated by Robin Waterfield, Penguin (New York, NY), 1997.

Author of introduction to A History of Greece: From the Time of Solon to 403 B.C., by George Grote, condensed and edited by J.M. Mitchell and M.O.B. Caspari, Routledge (New York, NY), 2001. Editor, with Peter Garnsey, of the monograph series "Key Themes in Ancient History," Cambridge University Press; editor, with Susanna Morton Braund, of the monograph series "Classical Inter/Faces," Duckworth. Contributor to classical studies journals, newspapers, and periodicals, including History Today. Member of editorial board, Dialogos, POLIS, and History of Political Thought.

SIDELIGHTS: Paul Cartledge is a well-known expert on Greek history, especially on the subjects of Sparta and Athens. His Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History, 1300–362 B.C. is, in many ways, the best book available on Sparta, according to Simon Hornblower in the Times Literary Supplement. Hornblower found the book to be both a "densely documented" archaeological study and "a vigorous political and social history of Classical Sparta." The author's "major achievement," Hornblower concluded, "is to bring out the importance of Sparta's perioikoi, that is, the members of the communities which were controlled by Sparta but were not reduced by her to serfdom."

Cartledge's The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization is the companion volume to a three-hour Public Broadcasting System documentary of the same title that aired in February 2000. According to Jay Freeman in Booklist, the book is "a superb general history" that both "pays tribute to the Hellenes" and details "their warts." Instead of using a chronological approach, Cartledge presents the classical Greek world in thematic discussions and biographical sketches. In addition to popular figures such as Homer, Pericles, Socrates, Sappho, and Alexander the Great, Cartledge presents portraits of lesser known figures, including women and slaves. "Cartledge personalizes ancient Greek history by using this biographical material," acknowledged a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, who stated that The Greeks is "easy to read and even jaunty in style" and has a "thoughtful introduction."

In The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece, from Utopia to Crisis and Collapse, the historian returns to the subject of Sparta. Cartledge uses archeological, mythological, and historical evidence to show how Sparta developed. The author also argues against the long prevailing attitude towards Sparta as simply a militaristic counterpart to the more democratic Athens. Cartledge asserts that it was more than a rigid society, one respected by some of its peers in its heyday and able to change when needed. Unlike their counterparts in Athens, for example, women were equals to their husbands in many ways. Yet, as a critic in Kirkus Reviews reported, "though admiring of Spartan accomplishments and the bravery of its warrior heroes, Cartledge takes pains to note the dark side of Spartan life." A Publishers Weekly reviewer further commented: "Cartledge's crystalline prose, his vivacious storytelling and his lucid historical insights combine here to provide a first-rate history of the Spartans."

With Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past, Cartledge focuses on one key but controversial figure in Greek history. Alexander was one of the greatest military leaders and builders of empires in world history. Cartledge wrote in History Today: "My own version of him seeks to do some sort of justice to the many facets of this multi-talented individual." In this biography, the author paints Alexander as a complex personality, touching on his importance as a political figure, philosopher, scientist, and sometimes romantic, sometimes ruthless hero.

Cartledge argues that one means of understanding Alexander's importance and success is to learn of his interest in hunting, and how he successfully modified strategies for hunting game into military success. Though Alexander conquered the Persian Empire at the age of twenty-six, and Central Asia a few years later, he died at the age of thirty-two, leaving his full potential to revolutionize Greek society unfulfilled and his empire to disintegrate. In the Library Journal, Robert C. Jones observed that the book is really "a provocative survey of how historians have perhaps misunderstood" Alexander. A critic for Publishers Weekly summarized Alexander the Great's appeal, writing that "Cartledge's knack for bringing history to life makes for an absorbing new biography of the legendary Greek leader."

Cartledge once told CA: "Though my professional preoccupation is with ancient Greece, the history I write has to be meaningful to people living in societies with radically different economic, social, religious, and political structures. Comparative study of contemporary non-Western societies and Mediterranean village communities is therefore vital to my work. Equally important is a sense of place: hence my extensive travel and archaeological field work in Greece, especially in the region around Sparta in the southern Peloponnese."



Booklist, February 15, 2000, Jay Freeman, review of The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization, p. 1076.

History Today, July, 2004, Paul Cartledge, "Alexander the Great: Hunting for a New Past?," p. 10.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece, from Utopia to Crisis and Collapse, p. 652.

Library Journal, November 1, 1999, Terry C. Skeats, review of Democritus: Democritus and Atomistic Politics, p. 86; September 15, 2004, Robert C. Jones, review of Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past, p. 65.

Publishers Weekly, February 28, 2000, review of The Greeks, p. 75; review of Alexander the Great, p. 52; April 14, 2003, review of The Spartans, p. 55.

Times Literary Supplement, February 15, 1980, Simon Hornblower, review of Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History, 1300–362 B.C.


Faculty of Classics, Cambridge University Web site, (November 19, 2005), biography of Paul Cartledge.

Hoplite, (November 19, 2005), biography of Paul Cartledge.