Differences Between Athens And Athens

1364 Words6 Pages
What can ancient and modern sources tell us about the major differences between Athenian woman and Spartan woman in Greece during the Classical Period? During the Classical period in Greece, there was a significant difference between the women of Sparta and Athens. This difference is apparent in their everyday lives, and this essay will try to pinpoint some of those significant differences in daily activities. Spartan women participated in physical activity, public education and were quite outspoken while in comparison, Athenian women were taught little besides how to be a housewife and how to keep quiet.
From a young age, Spartan girls participated in physical activity such as wrestling and gymnastics. Spartans believed that for females to
…show more content…
Boys and girls in ancient Sparta were considered more like equals while in Athens women and girls were found to be lesser than males. “There are not only men but women also who pride themselves on their, education and you can tell that what I say is true and that the Spartans have the best education in philosophy” (Plato, Protagoras. 342D). Plato describes Spartan women in comparison to Spartan men and explains how they both received the same public education. For most Greek states philosophy was something only taught to men and this is one of the educational facts that would differ between Spartan and Athenian women. Therefore, Spartan women were unlike most other ancient Greek women because they were taught things other than domestic skills. While in Athens, the most important education for a girl was how to run a household and make her husband happy. An excellent example of Athenian women and their constant domestic work is in a Terracotta Lekythos attributed to the Amasis Painter. Found in Attic, Greece between 550-530 BC, and now located in the British Museum in London it is a black figure vase providing an example of Athenian woman’s daily activities. It depicts a group of women weaving wool which as other scholars have discovered was a common act for Greek women and therefore shows how ordinary Athenian women were in comparison to…show more content…
In Athens, women were much more secluded from the world and discouraged from talking to people outside the house. “The words of modest women must never be public property. She should be shy with her speech as with her body, and guard it against strangers, feelings, character and disposition can all be seen in a women’s talk… a wife should speak only to her husband or through her husband” (Plutarch, Advice to the Bride and Groom, 31-32). This quotation reinforces the idea of not being talked about by other people in Athens because this was necessary to Athenian women. Plutarch discusses how a proper Athenian woman should act which is an example of how they were expected to be silent, and keep to themselves to be respected. Drawing attention to themselves would draw bad attention to their families which was not wanted. “Your great glory is not to be inferior to what God has made you, the greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men, whether they are praising you or criticizing you” (Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, II, 45). Here, Thucydides reinforces what was discussed by Plutarch. Athenian women did not want to be a topic of gossip or any matter at all. They were supposed to be subtle women who spoke as little as possible because they were not as superior as men. As Thucydides say, women should not worry if they are inferior because they
Open Document