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"Helot" is the life story of a member of the down-trodden slave population of Sparta in the years from c 530-480 BC. He becomes the personal slave to kings, first Cleomenes, who clashed with the cities of Athens and Argos, then Leonidas, commander of the 300 Spartans who died gloriously at Thermopylae. The helot becomes deeply involved in the plots and counter-plots of the Spartan royal houses, and is given as his partner an Egyptian girl who had, before she was sold into slavery, been a servant to the Persian princess Atossa, wife-to-be of King Darius and mother of King Xerxes, the two kings who strove to add Greece to the Persian empire. The helot is an eye-witness at the battles of Mrathon, Thermopylae and finally Salamis, where he is used to carry messages to the Persian king and an exiled king of Sparta.The basis of the story is to be found in the "Histories of Herodotus". It has been carefully researched and sticks closely to what is generally accepted as the course of events at that period.
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Markoulakis Publications, an independent academic publishing house based at Nottingham Trent University, publishes periodicals, journals and books which will strengthen our classical heritage. Helot is their first novel, by JACT/CA member M. The Helot of the title, named Micro by his master Cleomenes, witnesses the murder of his family by the Crypteia for their involvement in resistance activities in Messenia. In the course of the novel Micro is passed on to Leonidas, and thence to Eurybiades, which enables him to narrate the world-changing events of that period, some times with the help of Herodotus and Aeschylus. This means you are not going to learn much new about helots, but what you do get is a sequence of beautifully written set pieces (the games, the establishment of the Three Hundred at Athens, Cleomenes subsequent expulsion and descent into madness, Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis) set against the social, political and economic history of the times. Then there are the characters: Demaratus puts the case for an enterprising Sparta pitching against the best of them, including Corinth and Persia. Cleomenes counters this with the Stalinist defence of all things Spartan. Leonidas understands his destiny, and what that means to ensure the right outcome. Miltiades thumps tables, and Themistocles has his way by means of breathtaking, Odyssean wiles. Perhaps the least successful character is Micro himself. We understand his growing disappointment, then disgust, with Cleomenes; his fear for himself and his family in his unique position of helot trusty in dangerous times; the pride he develops in Spartan achievement in the games and at war. Yet despite all, he s a remarkably uncomplicated Helot. There are some well-worked surprises: Micro and the death of Cleomenes; Micro and Sicinnus; Micro and Gorgo. And what about the role of cheese in the development of the young Spartiate (trust M... google cheese and Artemis Orthis)? The use of fictional characters involvement in key events (as a rule of thumb it is history whenever Lampito, Nefertari and Micro are not around) makes it a risky choice for student use. But it s a novel: buy it for those friends and relations who don t quite get what it is with you and the ancient world. It will certainly help them. --Adrian Spooner, The Journal of Classics Teaching no. 17 Summer 2009About the Author:
Robert Montgomerie read Greats at Oxford. He taught at St Edward's School, Oxford, and, from 1969 until retirement in 1998, at Rugby. He taught both Latin and Greek, but specialized in Ancient History and Classical Civilization. Robert is a member of the Classical Association and the Joint Association of Classical Teachers. He also is the Managing Editor for Sparta - Journal of Ancient Spartan and Greek History.
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Book Description Markoulakis Publications, 2008. Paperback. Condition: Used; Good. 9780552158985. Seller Inventory # 2548217