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Paul Cartledge

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Paul Cartledge
Cartledge in Stockholm 2014 due to his books Alexander the Great and The Spartans: An Epic History
Paul Anthony Cartledge

(1947-03-24) 24 March 1947 (age 77)
Academic background
Alma materNew College, Oxford
Doctoral advisorJohn Boardman
Academic work
DisciplineAncient history

Paul Anthony Cartledge (born 24 March 1947)[1] is a British ancient historian and academic. From 2008 to 2014 he was the A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge.[2][3] He had previously held a personal chair in Greek History at Cambridge.

Early life[edit]

Cartledge was educated at St Paul's School[4] and New College, Oxford, where, with his contemporaries Robin Lane Fox and Terence Irwin, he was a student of G. E. M. de Ste. Croix. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, later promoted to MA (Oxon) by seniority, in 1969. He remained at the University of Oxford to undertake postgraduate studies, completing a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) under the supervision of Professor Sir John Boardman. His thesis focused on Spartan archaeology.

Academic career[edit]

Cartledge lectured at the New University of Ulster in 1972–73, at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1973 to 1978, and at the University of Warwick in 1978–79.[1] In October 1979 he moved to Cambridge University[5] where he is a fellow of Clare College.[6]

In 2008, Cartledge was elected to the newly established A. G. Leventis Professorship of Greek Culture at Cambridge University,[2] a position from which he retired at the end of September 2014.[7]

Cartledge holds a visiting Global Distinguished Professorship at New York University, funded by the Greek Parliament,[2] and sits on the European Advisory Board of Princeton University Press.[8]

Cartledge is also a holder of the Gold Cross of the Order of Honour of Greece and an Honorary Citizen of (modern) Sparta.[9]

He is Vice-Chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.[10]

Field of study[edit]

Cartledge's field of study is Athens and Sparta in the Classical Age; he has been described as a Laconophile.[11]

He was chief historical consultant for the BBC TV series The Greeks and the Channel 4 series The Spartans, presented by Bettany Hughes.[12]

Cartledge has appeared several times over his career on the BBC radio program In Our Time on episodes that discuss the ancient world. [13]

Personal life[edit]

Cartledge is married to Judith Portrait, a solicitor who acts as trustee of part of the Sainsbury family shareholding in Sainsbury's in blind trust.[14]

In August 2014, Cartledge was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[15]


  • Agesilaos and the crisis of Sparta (1987), The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 9780801835056
  • Aristophanes and His Theatre of the Absurd (1989), Duckworth. ISBN 1-85399-114-7
  • Nomos : Essays in Athenian Law, Politics and Society (1991), Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37022-1
  • The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization (TV Books, L.L.C., 2000; BBC Worldwide, 2001)
  • Spartan Reflections, a collection of essays new and revised (Duckworth, 2001), ISBN 0-7156-2966-2
  • Sparta and Lakonia (2nd edn., Routledge and Kegan Paul, 2002).
  • Hellenistic and Roman Sparta (rev. edn., Routledge, 2002), (with A. Spawforth).
  • The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others (2nd edn, Oxford University Press, 2002), the product of research into Greek self-definition.
  • Kosmos: essays in Order, Conflict and Community in Classical Athens (coauthor Paul Millett; (2002), Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52593-4
  • The Spartans: An Epic History (2nd edition, Pan Books, 2003). Published in the U.S. by The Overlook Press/Peter Mayer Publishers as The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece, from Utopia to Crisis and Collapse (2003) ISBN 1-58567-402-8.
  • Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past (Macmillan, 2004).
  • Helots and Their Masters in Laconia and Messenia: Histories, Ideologies, Structures (Center for Hellenic Studies, 2004). ISBN 0-674-01223-2
  • Thermopylae: The Battle That Changed the World (The Overlook Press, 2006). ISBN 1-58567-566-0
  • Ancient Greek Political Thought in Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2009). ISBN 978-0-521-45455-1
  • Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities, (Oxford University Press, 2009). ISBN 978-0-191-57157-2
  • Democracy: A Life (Oxford University Press, 2016). ISBN 978-0-199-83745-8
  • Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece (Picador, 2020). ISBN 978-1509873166
  • Demokratia: Une histoire de la démocratie (Passés composés 2023) (translated from English by Simon Duran, original: Democracy: A Life). ISBN 978-2379335587.


  1. ^ a b "CARTLEDGE, Prof. Paul Anthony", Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010; online edition
  2. ^ a b c "University of Cambridge News 7 October 2008". Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
  3. ^ Cambridge University Reporter 11 June 2008
  4. ^ St Paul's School: Classics Department
  5. ^ Sophocles and the Greek Tragic Tradition, Cambridge University Press 2009 ISBN 978-0-521-88785-4 foreword by Paul Cartledge
  6. ^ Cambridge University Classics Faculty website
  7. ^ A. G. Leventis Professorship of Greek Culture Cambridge Classics Faculty News January 2014
  8. ^ Princeton University Press Accessed 17 April 2014 Archived 8 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Scott, (Doctor), Michael. "Honorary Graduands and Medallists - Summer 2017". warwick.ac.uk. U. of Warwick. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  10. ^ Cartledge, Paul (11 June 2023). "Elgin, Byron, and those marbles revisited". NEOS KOSMOS. Retrieved 14 June 2023.
  11. ^ "British Philhellene Paul Cartledge Honored by the Greek State". Greece Is. 31 March 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2024.
  12. ^ "Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria - Ancient Sparta: Myths versus Reality". old.greekcommunity.com.au. Retrieved 16 June 2024.
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - in Our Time - Episode guide".
  14. ^ The Observer 5 September 2004 accessed 9 October 2014
  15. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". theguardian.com. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
None: new position
A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University
2008 – 2014
Succeeded by