Aleksandr Mishurin 1
  • 1 State Academic University for the Humanities, Maronovskiy pereulok, 26, Moscow, Russian Federation 119049

The Power of Corruption: Xenophon on the Upbringing of a Good Citizen in Sparta

2021, vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 107–123 [issue contents]
In the given article, the author offers an interpretation of the work titled Lacedaimonion Politeia, written by the ancient political philosopher Xenophon of Athens. Judging from Xenophon’s sober and open-minded attitude to the regime he researches, the author focuses on the central issue of the treatise, namely, the upbringing of a virtuous or good citizen. This became the cornerstone of Sparta’s success as a polis, and provided it with a fame as a unique political entity praised by all, but copied by none. The author identifies the three stages of the Spartan education given by Xenophon and continues with the practices of its implementation at a mature age. The research makes it clear that the purpose of the laws of Lycurgus, as described by Xenophon, is twofold. On the one hand, the given laws instill respect, obedience, and the virtue of manliness which the lawgiver desired in citizens. On the other hand, the laws create citizens who merely imitate the above-described traits of character and law-abidance, and who are actually more like unmitigated criminals constantly fighting with each other. It is the second type of people—good criminals—who find themselves in power in Sparta, and they are the ones who end up destroying the Spartan state. By providing this diagnosis of the Spartan regime and the laws of Lycurgus, Xenophon attempts to show that handling the problem of the education of good citizens as suggested in Sparta is misguided and requires additional deliberation.
Citation: Mishurin A. (2021) Sila korruptsii: Ksenofont o vospitanii khoroshego grazhdanina v Sparte [The Power of Corruption: Xenophon on the Upbringing of a Good Citizen in Sparta]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 20, no 1, pp. 107-123 (in Russian)
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