Women 's Role And Status Of Spartan Women Essay example

Women 's Role And Status Of Spartan Women Essay example

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Archaeological evidence collected in ancient Laconia reveals great insight into the role and status of Spartan women until 371 BC. A compilation of written sources shows the unique treatment of women in Sparta compared with that of other ancient Greek societies. This treatment differs the economic, religious, marital, reproductive and social responsibilities from those of gender archetypes.

As men were away at war and occupied with training in the agoge, women were involved in trading, agriculture and supervising helots. This system was criticised by Plutarch as he noted “the men were indeed obliged to leave their wives in sole control at home, and for this reason paid them greater deference than was their due.” Some women were extremely wealthy and often managed the finances of private estates and in some cases began to take over the full ownership while their husbands or fathers were away at war. By the 5th century BC, two-fifths of the land was owned by women due to the decrease in male population and inability to buy or sell land. Ladies who inherited land often submitted this as a dowry which became a motivating part of the economy as it allowed the husband to increase his land holdings and thus his status. Bradley supports this is his statement that “women had effective control of plentiful wealth.” The accumulation of written sources reveals the economic roles that women of status performed in ancient Sparta.

Spartan girls were required to undergo physical training alongside the boys in order to produce strong offspring. Instead of performing menial tasks, the girls would participate in javelin, discus, running, wrestling and dancing competitions so that the children would become competitive and eager to continue t...


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...ment worn by women was a short, revealing peplos which was fastened on the shoulders to allow free movement although many times, girls were naked while training. This lead to an illusion of promiscuity and which earned girls the name “thigh flashers”.

The role and status of women in Spartan society is uncovered through the analysis of evidence from written sources and archaeology. As Aristotle states “Spartan women live without restraint”, and this is true in their involvement in all aspects of Spartan society. Women were crucial to the unique Spartan system, they held economic, marital, reproductive, religious and underwent physical training to create strong, healthy babies, It is evident that Spartan women, through their power, influence and strength of character, were crucial to Sparta and were fairly independent in a highly military and male dominated society.

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