Spartan Lessons; or, The Praise of Valour: in the Verses of Tyrtaeus, an Ancient Athenian Poet, Adopted by the Republic of Lacedaemon, and Employed to Inspire Their Youth with Warlike Sentiments

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by Tyrtaeus

Spartan Lessons

Title page from Spartan Lessons, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Tyrtaeus
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published Glasgow: Robert and Andrew Foulis
Date 1759
Edition First Foulis edition
Language Greek text, followed by English commentary and Latin translation
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages xxvii, 30
Desc. 4to (20 cm.)
Location Shelf I-4
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
Tyrtaeus (685-668 BCE) was a Greek elegiac poet, probably born in Sparta. His war songs inspired the Spartans during the second Messenian War (650-630 B.C.E.)[1] and are examples of early Spartan militarism.[2] The name Tyrtaeus has been given to many martial poets who have encouraged their countrymen to deeds of arms and victory.[3]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Tyrtaeus. Gr. Lat. 4to. Foul." This was one of the titles kept by Thomas Jefferson and later sold to the Library of Congress in 1815. According to Philip Gaskell, the Foulis Press published one volume of Tyrtaeus, Spartan Lessons, in 1759.[4] Both George Wythe's Library[5] on LibraryThing and the Brown Bibliography[6] list this work. Millicent Sowerby also included it in Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson,[7] but, Jefferson's copy no longer exists. The Wolf Law Library acquired a copy of the 1759 Foulis Press edition for the George Wythe Collection.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in green quarter-calf with marbled boards. Spine features raised bands and gilt lettering. Includes marbled endpapers and pencil inscription "1579" on title page.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

See also


  1. Chambers Biographical Dictionary, s.v. "Tyrtaeus," accessed September 27, 2013.
  2. The Hutchinson Encyclopedia, s.v. "Tyrtaeus (lived 7th century BC)," accessed September 27, 2013.
  3. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, s.v. "Tyrtaeus," accessed September 27, 2013.
  4. Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of The Foulis Press, 2nd ed. (Winchester, Hampshire, England: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986), 233-234.
  5. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe" accessed on February 20, 2014.
  6. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  7. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 4:474 [no.4397].