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The role and status of woman in Spartan society.

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Introduction

The role and status of woman in Spartan society. Woman in Spartan society had much more power, influence and freedom then those in other neighbouring Greek states. Woman in other Greek areas were given manual tasks of making clothes, and harvesting crops. They were also given the plainest of foods and were rarely permitted to drink wine. This was not the case in Sparta. Spartan woman were criticised by many ancient historians such as Aristotle for their power, but they maintained a very important role in Spartan society. Woman of Sparta had the primary duty of producing physically and mentally strong children. They were expected to train regularly in order to maintain a high level of fitness. The view Lycourgus supposedly held was that if the mother and father of the child were fit and healthy as possible, the child would also have these traits and therefore a strong Spartiate. ...read more.

Middle

Women were also able to mingle freely with men and wear less restricting clothes, another display of power. One can speculate that Woman were of almost equal levels of respect and standing in society as men. They had much freedom and enjoyed many of the activities men were required to undergo. Another huge responsibility of woman was to run a household. While men were absent on campaign woman maintained Spartan society. They were essential in keeping the warrior society functioning and maintaining itself. As woman could inherit property, and wealth derived from landownership woman of Sparta could become subsequently wealthy and influential. Aristotle believed that by the end of the classical period woman owned 2/3 of the land. He also states however that their freedom and influence woman had on both their husbands and society inevitably lead to their downfall. Woman also held a very powerful position when it came to influencing men of Sparta. ...read more.

Conclusion

They remained in the household and were taught what officials thought necessary to learn. They learnt to weave, but this was only thought to be the weaving of ritualistic wear. (Every day weaving was left to the helot slaves) it is also assumed they learnt basic literary skills but there is no strong evidence to support this. Physical training was apart of their education as dictated by Lycourgus. They participated in outdoor group sports and athletics, which were frowned upon by many Greek states. They were also taught to sing alone and in choruses. Along with these aspects of education they were taught to be powerful woman who supported their warrior husbands, fathers or brothers. They were taught to enforce military prestige to their sons, when they themselves were mothers. We know this from the famous quote; 'come home with your shield or on it' a saying of Spartan woman. They were also taught how to manage e properties while their husbands were away on campaign. Aristotle saw their education and prominence as Spartans downfall. ...read more.

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