Spartan Women Essay

854 words - 3 pages

Most ancient Greek women were under control of men from the moment of their birth to the moment of their death, weather it be their father or husbands. This may be quite true about Athenian or any other women from different city-states, but Spartan women had a lot more freedom and when compared are found out to be a lot more different then the traditional image of which ancient Greek women are thought to of been treated.Firstly Spartan women had many more rights then other women of different city-states. They were able to own and control their own property, as well as having the right to pass it down to their son or daughter. Spartan women could even take another husband if theirs had been away at war for too long, which Plutarch recorded in his writings: When king Leonidas left to fight the Persians he advised his wife and presumably other likely widows: To marry good men and bear good children.(The Ancient World,, 1997, p104) Social and economic status was restricted within the Spartan women's community. This status was only of importance in issues such as marriage, as a Spartan woman could only marry within the Spartan community as well as within their own social and economic status. The jobs Spartan women were eligible for also depended on their economic/social status. It was unusual for well born women to have a job outside of the house, except some did become priestesses in the temples, whilst the lower born women usually became midwives, shopkeepers, dancers or musicians.Education would be one of the most recognised differences, which made the Spartan women quite different from the rest of the women living in different city-states. Such domestic arts as spinning and weaving, which would have been a usual routine for Athenian women, were relegated to helots by Spartan women. Spartan girls from the age of 7 were entitled to an education. This education however was physical more so than academic, but nevertheless must have been extremely important to Sparta as they are the only Greeks to of instituted it as state policy. The girls attended their own sisterhood barracks where they were taught gymnastics, wrestling and survival skills. There are some reports that even mention a girl's education being equally as brutal as the boy's, including many events such as javelin, discus, foot races, and staged battles. In many such events Spartan women usually competed naked in the presence of their male counterparts, and were respected for their athletic feats.Women were usually expected...

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