Essay about The Role of Spartan Women

Essay about The Role of Spartan Women

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Unlike other Greek city states, women played an integral role in Spartan society as they were the backbone of the Spartan economic system of inheritance and marriage dowry and they were relied upon to fulfill their main responsibility of producing Spartan warrior sons. These principle economic systems affected wealth distribution among Spartan citizens especially among the Spartan elite class. Spartan women led a completely different life than women in most other ancient Greek city states, as they were depended upon to maintain Spartan social systems. In a society where the state is more involved in home life women had freedom of movement and they were permitted to communicate with men who were not their husbands. Women had domestic responsibilities including the maintenance of homes and farms when the men were on campaign, while the typical Greek female responsibilities such as weaving were delegated to slaves. Girls were raised much like Spartan boys as they were made to go through physical training insuring their success in fulfilling their most important role in society, child-bearing. The few primary sources on Sparta and Spartiate women, namely Aristotle, Plutarch, Herodotus and Xenophon were historians who lived after the prominence of ancient Sparta; therefore, the facts regarding the women’s influence in social, economic and political issues must be carefully interpreted and analysed with help from secondary sources.
In his Politics, Aristotle offers three defects in the Spartan System, the constant threat of a helot uprising, the nature of the estates and the status of women. Like other Greek women, the main responsibility of Spartan wives was Fertility and childbirth. The average age of a Spartan bride was between 1...

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...had more opportunities to exercise political influence.


Plutarch. Plutarch Moralia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976.
Herodotus. The Histories. New York: Anchor Books, 2009.
Moore, J.M. Aristotle and Xenophon on Democracy and Oligarchy. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1983.
Powell, Anton. Classical Sparta: Techniques Behind her Success. London: Routledge, 1989.
Hodkinson, Stephen,ed. Sparta: Comparative Approaches. Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, 2009.
Fantham, Elaine, Helene Peet Foley , Natalie Boymel Kampen, Sarah B. Pomeroy, and H. Alan Shapiro.Women in the Classical World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
Lefkowitz, Mary R., and Maureen B. Fant. Women's Life in Greece and Rome. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2005.
Hooker, F.T. The Ancient Spartans. Toronto: J M Dent & Sons Ltd, 1980.

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