The role of women in Spartan society to the Battle of Leuctra 371 BC

Essay by maryyHigh School, 12th gradeB+, March 2009

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According to many historians such as Powell "The citizen women of Sparta were believed to lead unusual lives by Greek standards." As stated by Lycurgus in the Great Rhetrawomen of Sparta were aware of their role in society in regards to staying healthy and fit to produce healthy offspring as well as partaking in the running of the economy. Women in Sparta were treated with the utmost respect, as they were an essential element in the ancient warrior society. Spartan women enjoyed much more freedom then women from the other polis (Greek city states). Spartan women were given great privileges as they involved their prominent positions in society in regards to education, family, religion and the economy, which soon became desired by women all over ancient Greece. Ancient historians such as Plutarch, Xenophon, Aristotle, Plato, Euripides, Herodotus, Thucydides and Aristophanes provide valuable insight to the girls, women and mothers of Sparta, as they left no records themselves.

Plutarch's famous Sayings of Spartan Women aims to promote a Spartan society where females play an essential role in the indoctrination of their sons and where mothers are painted has brutal patriots.

Women were perhaps the most important feature of Spartan society for many reasons and even so their most important role was to give birth to healthy sons for Sparta. They weren't allowed to spin or weave like women from other parts of Greece; such menial tasks were meant for the helots - state owned slaves. Source 2 (Plutarch on Sparta, p.160) "When an Ionian woman was priding herself on one of the tapestries she had made (which was indeed of great value), a Spartan woman showed off her four most dutiful sons and said they were the kind of thing a noble and good woman ought to produce, and should...