Athenian Women vs. Spartan Women-Research Paper

Essay by serenavwCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2012

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Spartan vs. Athenian Woman: who had it better?

When comparing power levels and women's rights, Sparta was the clear leader of its time period. Though both Athens and Sparta were Greek city-states, each differed in the way they operated. Specifically, the states differed in the treatment of women. In most cultures, back then and still today, women tend to be treated differently. This difference, however, is usually between men and women over the ever present issue of equality. Indeed, the battle of the sexes has reigned as supreme debate throughout the generations. Not many question the difference of treatment among the sexes, and as a society that supports equal rights we want to believe everyone, especially within their own gender, is treated the same. This was not the case decades ago. Women within their own cultures were treated very differently from one another, and one of the most studied cases was the difference in treatment between Athenian and Spartan women. Because the methods were so majorly separate, researchers are able to compare and contrast the cultures in a way that highlights the significance in the treatment of women.

Before writing this paper, I had a very general idea of how Spartan and Athenian women were treated. I didn't have much interaction with studying Athenian women besides the standard historical references in Latin class, but I knew enough to understand that they were treated very poorly. Women were clearly not regarded as equals to men, and their sole purpose in life was to serve their husbands. Their lifestyle was degrading and limiting, and leaves one with the idea of abuse and neglect as a reflection on the Athenians. My knowledge of Spartan women, however, comes from both extensive research in Latin and history classes, as well as movies such...