Flashcards in Spartan Women Deck (14):
What did Athenians think about Spartan women?
Aristotle labelled Spartan society "lawless". They thought the women were too licensed, and that if women were equal to men you could not have a happy state.
To what extent were Spartan women citizens of Sparta?
Women were considered Spartiates and citizens of Sparta, but were not allowed to attend public assembly. This was unlike perioikoi, free individuals surrounding Sparta but not in the community.
What were helots?
Lifetime servants/slaves of the Spartiates. They were Greeks, unlike Athenian slaves.
Why were strong women seen as important in Sparta?
Strong women could give birth to strong, healthy children who could become good Spartan warriors. Child mortality rates were high and there was no medicine.
How were Spartan women rewarded for having children?
If a woman gave birth to three or more sons, she was rewarded special privileges and status similar to veteran soldiers. If she died in childbirth, she would be honoured in death.
What were the duties of a Spartan woman?
Having strong sons
Managing her own and her husband's land (farm). Worked on farm so were strong and healthy
Took care of estates while men were fighting
Provided monthly food for the syssistion
Payed their son's agoge fees
Weaving and spinning was below them and was work for helots
What were Spartan women allowed to own?
She could own property - if widowed she could live on her own, not needing to marry again
After marrying, she kept her property and it did not become her husband's
It was fine for her to be wealthy - unlike in Athens, where she could not control more money than she needed to buy a bushel of grain
Why were Spartan mothers happy for their sons to go to the agoge and to battle?
Family was not as important as the state
Would say "either with your shield or on it" - either victorious or dead
Soldiers should not come back after having lost - would be an embarrassment to the family.
If came back after having lost, soldiers could be killed by mothers. If not, would be cast out, family wouldn't talk to you.
What did Spartan girls do?
Girls lived at home, and were possibly organised into bands.
They exercised with boys to be healthy and have strong babies - e.g wrestling, fighting, ball games, sport. Boys would be unclothed.
Took part in gymnastic, musical and choral competitions.
Prided themselves on their minds - systematic education in philosophy, rhetoric and literature
What did Spartan women wear?
Short skirts and revealing clothing, and they also had no need for escorts.
What was the process of a Spartan marriage?
The bride married around 18.
The marriage took place in secret, and was simple and private.
The bride's hair was cut off and she dressed as a man for the ceremony.
After dinner, the bridegroom came and had sex with her, then left.
The bridegroom slept in his own barracks, and couldn't live with his wife until she was 30.
Reason? - since contact would be limited, sexual desires would be heightened
Why was adultery encouraged?
If an older man couldn't get his wife pregnant he allowed a younger Spartan to sleep with her.
For the good of the state.
So there were lots of babies.
Why were so many babies required?
The population was hard to maintain due to constant absence and loss of men in battle, as well as the intense physical inspection of newborns.
Therefore, Spartan female babies were remarked to have been nourished that other female Greek children, and in some cases male babies. Were needed to make babies.