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The Spartans (Channel 4) [DVD]

Bettany Hughes    Exempt   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Bettany Hughes
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Simply Media
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Sep 2011
  • Run Time: 146 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002PC25Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,245 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Who were the Spartans and how did they earn their fearsome reputation as some of the mightiest warriors the world has ever known? In this critically acclaimed Channel 4 Series, Bettany Hughes reveals one of the most extraordinary city states of ancient Greece and the secrets of its people. Having enslaved their neighbours and turned the day-to-day tasks of society over to them, the Spartans devoted their entire lives to producing the ultimate warriors.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go tell the Spartans! 4 Feb 2005
Bettany Hughes does an excellent job of bringing to the layman the history of the Spartan people. True it doesn't go into a great amount of detail, but it doesn't have to. Set against the rugged backdrops of what was once Sparta, Bettany explains the history of how the Spartans lived, fought and were finally defeated in the wars with Athens and Thebes. Also explained is how the Spartans viewed themselves and their one time allies and later, their deadly enemies Athens.
If I had one complaint to make, it would be that it was a little short. Two and half hours to cover the history of this fascinating period of history and the Spartan people isn't enough.
That said though, well worth the price! More please Bettany, how about "The Athenians" next?
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
An engaging documentary artfully assembled, this 2003 British production has been a hit for PBS in the United States, with the videos and tie-in book (the US edition of Paul Cartledge's The Spartans) often on backorder status. It is a rarity in that it gives Sparta its due for helping Greece resist the Persian threat and credits Sparta for its more enlightened attitude toward women. Host Bettany Hughes is a sympathetic and knowledgeable narrator. THE SPARTANS boasts terrific location photography by Douglas Hartington, with some impressive aerial shots of the Taygetus gorges. For the first time in a television documentary, we are treated to detailed examination of many artifacts in the Sparta Museum as well as shown many photos of archaeological excavations at Sparta. The atmospheric soundtrack is composed by Anthony Burke. Evocative reenactor footage is used, even if the footage tends to be come repetitive by Part 3.
Part 1
THE SPARTANS opens at Thermopylae and with the epitaph of the Three Hundred -- and very stirring it is to hear this spoken in the original Greek -- before introducing some of the topics that will be addressed in the program. (Hmm. The claim that "male homosexuality was compulsory" is extremely dubious; the first boldfaced assertion as fact of a subject hotly debated among ancient and modern experts.) After the introduction, we journey to the Dark Ages of Greece, the end of the Achaean Age and the coming of the Dorian Greeks to the Peloponnesus and Laconia. An effective look at the development of hoplite warfare is presented. Next comes the Messenian conquest, then the establishment of the Spartan constitution. The upbringing of Spartan youths, warts and all, is then addressed at length.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & simply told 26 May 2008
By Juno
Lots of interesting facts, and a scenic tour of some of the sites Bettany Hughes tells us about, make this a very entertaining and informative DVD. Time did whizz by a little as I watched it, and I rather wished it had been longer. But besides that, not too heavy going! Lots of beautiful scenery to feast your eyes on, and then to try and imagine how it must have looked long ago. Recommended for anyone with an interest in Spartan life and culture.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spartans - Bettany Hughes 14 Oct 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Bettany Hughes just brings the Spartans to life. She has a way of presenting the facts and telling the stories on a down to earth level, without making anything complicated. She just draws you in and leaves you hungry for more. Indeed you feel you are there. I have watched the spartans several times and it just would not be the same if anyone else presented the programmes. To not have this in your DVD collection would be like having a beer festival without the beer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have seen several other documentaries on the Spartans and this is the one that I enjoyed the most.

Bettany seductively guides us through the radical Spartan culture and legendary military prowess. Whilst being very informative the first motive of the production is to entertain. It is shorter than a lot of people would like but I think that that helps make it more vibrant. Bettany has now quite a catalogue of work to her name, but I think that this series is her best work.

I would recommend this as the best introduction to anyone wishing to learn about Sparta. There are then many other more focused documentaries available on Spartan military history, political figures, the wars with Athens, the Persian wars, etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic Historical Documentary 16 Sep 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have commented Bettany Hughes brings her telling of History to life. Her enthusiasm and presentation are of a very high calibre, but not highbrow. The Spartans and her telling of their lives and culture of these elite warriors is really top notch. On average I re-watch the DVD at least once a year and I never tire of it, for those of you have not seen this DVD, please put this DVD in your must see list.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hughes is not Spartan on the Spartans 28 Nov 2011
RL Holly's full review and programme list make another complete review unnecessary and I agree with most of his comments. Currently, there are only a few good historians on television, mostly men; Hughes is the only women, unless one includes Dr Alice Roberts for her evolutionary programmes but that would stretch a point.

Bettany Hughes follows in Michael Wood's metaphorical footsteps; taking his programmes as an example of how it should be done, she always visits the places she is researching, walks on the ground and, by so doing, engenders a deeper interest and imbues her history with an appreciation of the places. The Spartans have a special place in classical history, a race apart with a culture unique to them, a culture which even gave a new word to our language.

Hughes conveys a vivid impressions of this culture, its history and famous places with her usual clarity of language and fluent detailed descriptions, while the camera work enhances her words by showing us the rugged beauty of the country, the searing heat featuring as a backdrop.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Consider it a Backgrounder for Watching The 300
THE SPARTANS, (2004). A BBC Channel 4 British television series by popular presenter Bettany Hughes that focuses on the ancient Greek city state of Sparta. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended.
Most people will have heard of the Spartans and their heroics at the battle of Thermopylae in ancient Greece. There is of course much more to them than that. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Speedygee
3.0 out of 5 stars review the spartans
Item has not arrived yet, so I can't say anything about this item. Although I have seen this history dvd before.
Published 15 months ago by Avenger
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, if little known, documentary
"The Spartans", a three-part documentary series originally aired on Channel 4, is a programme I remember most fondly, as the first episode and half of the second episode... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Andrew Norris
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating documentary
I purchased this DVD along with 'Spartan Warrior 735-331 BC' as I am starting to study the wars between Sparta and Athens at the moment. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Will Staffs
5.0 out of 5 stars the Spartans
Bettany Hughes is, in my opinion, one of the best documentary deliverers around. Like Attenborough she is clear, engaging in style, and shows a passion for the subject being... Read more
Published on 13 May 2012 by Mr. I.V. Creeper
5.0 out of 5 stars best spartan doc ever
i saw this years ago when first seen on tv, and tried time and time again
to buy it, ms hughs description of event during the series is brilliant
well worth seeing... Read more
Published on 2 April 2011 by Cambria
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
I first saw this as a programme on the television, and found it so factual and interesting that I had to order the DVD to go over the series again and again. Read more
Published on 2 Oct 2010 by Christine Burr
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