The Spartan Boy and the Fox - Ancient Sparta
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The Boy and the Fox

fox

The Roman writer Plutarch, who wrote about 75 BC, told this story about the Spartans:

"So seriously did Spartan children go about their stealing, that a boy, having stolen a young fox and hid it under his cloak, let it tear out his guts with its teeth and claws and died right there, rather than let it be seen."

(from Plutarch's essay on Lycurgus 18. 1).

Learn by doing: write a different ending to this story
More about the Spartans

Bibliography and further reading about this story:

Plutarch's Lives Volume 1 (Modern Library Classics) by Plutarch , translated by Arthur Hugh Clough. Includes the biography of Lycugus that has the fox story in it.

The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece, from Utopia to Crisis and Collapse, by Paul Cartledge (2003). This is pretty hard going, but Cartledge knows everything about ancient Sparta.

More about ancient Sparta
Ancient Greece
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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