Role Of Women In Ancient Sparta

1230 words - 5 pages

- According to Lykurgus "the purpose of girl's education was to produce healthy bodies so that they can undergo more child bearing".- To breed strong, fit champions and warriors who would defend the city with total obedience and courage- Plutarch wrote that women were noted for their freedom and respect, which mainly derived from Lykurgus- Mother love was replaced by a mother's pride in her son's bravery in battle and disgust with any sign of cowardice- "With never a tear do I bury you, my son, who are mine, yea, and are Sparta's as well"- "Where have you come now in your cowardly flight, vile varlets? Do you intend to slink in here whence you came forth" (as saying this she showed them)Women: - Emancipated (free), mingled freely with men and shared their sports, but from holding public office and couldn't vote- Trained to be fit companions and mothers of warriors and heroes- Known for natural beauty, strength and grace (Helen of Sparta). Forbidden to wear jewelry, cosmetics and perfume (artifacts contradict this)- Very wealthy, in the c.5th B.C 2/5 of land owned by women as numbers of man declined- Grew up in physical freedom but were modest and health conscious- Did not spin or weave (helot woman did this)The Rights of Women- Highly valued and respected, particularly roles mothers/nurses- Reputation for physical beauty (Helen) and a strong character- Sources including a running girl, and mirrors with the handles being statuettes of naked girls, portrays Spartan women as very healthy, slim and attractive. Entwines with the myth of Sparta- Typically the jobs of women in all societies were centered on family, but in Sparta, with the boys/men away at the barracks, there really was no such thing as family for the Spartan women."The highest function of a free woman was the bearing of children" (Plutarch)- Lykurgus instituted contests in running and feats of strength for woman as for men. He believed that if both parents were physically strong, their offspring would be more vigor. With marriage, Lykurgus laid down as an ordinance that a man should be ashamed to be seen visiting the chamber of his wife. Believed that the mutual longing for each other would definitely increase, hence giving more robust children. Marriage could only take place in the prime of ones bodily development, again giving off healthy offspring. Lykurgus also introduced a custom, for matured husbands to select a prime, younger citizen to fertilise his wife to produce stronger children. All this was to produce a superior race of men.Education- Known, ancient world, strict military discipline, particularly the powerful men who were bred/trained in their systems.- However, no only men who were physically fit and dominant. Females in society had their own systems, and arguably trained as hard as the men.- Not brought up for spinning/weaving, helot/slaves.- For the boys, the main reason for the very harsh and intense training through the agoge was to produce strong, healthy and overall...

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