OB Holly Roberts and the Spartan Mirage

Holly Roberts left Bedales four years ago and went to Oxford University to study History. She is about to finish at Oxford.  She spoke to The Green Ribbon Club (sixth form history) on the subject of the Spartan Mirage, a fascinating examination of the myths surrounding the history of Sparta. She made us aware of the problems of studying Sparta since they wrote nothing down, leaving historians reliant on much later written versions such as Herodotus and Xenophon. She illustrated the talk wonderfully including a film version of Spartan warfare and gave us fabulous stories (the little boy who stole a fox cub but too terrified to admit to it under interrogation, he held it under his tunic where it ate away his stomach and he died) as well as exposing the extraordinary ménage a trios of Spartan Warriors which involved the warrior, his older male lover and the warrior’s wife. Holly drew comparisons between the New Model Army (which AS students study) and The Spartan Army. We listened intently and her address was very well-received.

By Jonathan Selby, Head of History


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.