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Analysis of Athenian & Spartan Women

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: History
Wordcount: 3934 words Published: 13th Aug 2021

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Greece is a country which has many mountains and juts into the eastern Mediterranean sea.There only a quarter of land that can be farm,so the early greek people were famers and herders.Then many greece people turn to fishing and trading for living according to the limit of usable land and the increasing of popullation.Greece people have a difficulty in communication and transportation because of the limit of mountains and it also made a difficult to unite the country.According to it geographical the Greek developed small and separate communities.The community own their independent and value so it led to a war in the country.

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The created of Minoan cicilization between about 2000B.C and 1400B.C ,the name of Minoan was called after the name of the king Minos.The Minoan was one of the famous civilaztion of greek history.They were great at trading and at that time the Minoans seem to enjoy their life.Through the colourful wall painting at the king palace we can see many thing that describe about their life ,But they can’t not enjoy their happines for long time. The Greek mainland started to invaded civilization and The Minoans grew weak.About 1400B.C perhaps by an earthquake or volcano was destroyed the Knossos.After this civilization the Greek started to experinced the war.About 1100B.C and 750B.C it was a trouble period for Greek and it called the Dark Age.A city-started consisted on the hilltop and surrounding fields start to emerged during the Dark age by some Greek villages .At that time Athens and Sparta were also emereged as leading Greek city-state but the way of they live ,outlook and government are completely different.


After gone through the history briefing of the Greek,actually we can get some information of the ancient Greek but, Why does the Athens and Sparta are completely different from each other? There are many point that we need to compare between these two city-state. According to some information about the Greek we gonna reveals the differnces about Athens and Sparta ,especailly the woman live in the two city-states.

Comparing the lives of Athen and Sparta women

A The role of women in religious

Athenian women

There are several story-telling that reveal the true and exact activities about human in ancient Greek world, but unwilling to cover everything very much that women in Greek did in Athens and Sparta. In the fact that, it is very complicated to many ideas that contradict to each other about women in Athens, by knowing that , there should be specific reasons to talk about those in Athens. Interestingly, women in Athens seem to be famous in spending their time to go the worship place to favor gods, especially to pray for relentless happiness marriages in the family or to request a male child from their own god or goddesses to scarify for their husbands. Surprisingly, when there were regular ceremonies or festivals in the town or city which lasted maybe half of the day in every year, woman in Athens felt free to go to spend time with other women in several people but some went in a group of a lot of people to two or three days. The festivals have given a lot of women to join in, which make them to get rid of the stress in the family that they were facing every day and it was not the individual problem when they hung out to go outside because this was the community ceremony ritual to get together, enjoy with one another, and worship the gods and this event made up of half of the population. Incredibly, this involvement not only showed that they were belonging to the group of the society and the Greek world, for gave them the opportunities to learn and seek to world outside their family issues, but also gave the women status. Perhaps, Athens’ women participation, all ages, was a successful task that reflected clearly that women were extremely playing lots of important roles in their community besides attending in small group such as friends and relatives weddings, funeral and other family occasion meeting. ‘

Sparta women

In contrast, Sparta women society were playing important part in everyday life both religion and festival. In fact, women in Sparta had formed their military foundations very well since they were young and were strong enough as the men to prevent any dangerous action or enemy invasion which will happen against them. Particularly, when there was the alerted war that was the sign to inform all Sparta to get ready to fight war they will be give off everything for the coming war. Similarly, women will delay the ritual ceremony or religious festival or even abandon it completely which lead to unfulfilled or missed participation during that war. Another true story that happened to every Sparta women was that they were not respect to the religion or ritual when it came to the real life Sparta women , by just noticed that they followed only few god such as god of fertility, beauty, and health. This shows clearly that they are not a hundred percent conduct the religious ceremony which affecting to the society in mean time.


Sum up, I think that Athens women is much more better in conducting their own god or goddess because they have many roles and enough free time to join the ceremony peacefully unlike the Sparta women who always training their military base and lead to miss their role the religious and festival ritual.

The lives of women in tradition

Athenian women

As we have explained above about the role of women in both states, here is the further information about the two lives of women in term of tradition.

In the ancient era, marriage was decided by parents, especially the girls from a wealthy family. Girls got married in their teen ages while men in his 30’s, those girls even did not know or meet their husbands until the dowry (the girls’ portion of the father’s estate) and betrothal had been agreed to. On the first day of their marriage, there was a celebration was held to honor the passing girls from their father to their husbands. This celebration may differ in length and also religious influence. It was clear that the bride might be washed and dressed by female relatives and dress was white as it was the correct color for religious ceremony. Also, the groom wore a crown and carried a pomegranates or a fruit contain of many seeds that likely symbolized fertility. On the second day, a feast was held for all the families that the bride and groom could go to the groom’s home, that he could pretend to force her and then carry her across an entrance of the house. When a woman was married her husband controlled all property-any property that she could have inherited may go directly to her husband. In addition, it was the rule that the young bride could only become a full member of the new household in case she had her first child. Women did have too little influence, or power in their society and were not highly regarded until they will be able to produce this child. However, the baby had the rights to alive depended on the father because the baby would be rejected if the baby was born of parents who not married to each other, unhealthy or not grow in normally, the wrong sex (female), or too good a burden on the family. However, if that baby was accepted, there could be a celebration- given a name, and presented to their gods and goddesses. In their house, the wife was responsible for raising the children and making the families clothes. She controlled the daily running of the household. In a totally slave based economy a lot of female slaves were available to do the cooking, cleaning and carrying water from the lake or pool. Only in the poorest homes was that the wives expected to do these duties by themselves. Custom dictated that women should limit her time outside the home. Visiting with a female neighbor was really the only appropriate time for the woman to leave her indoor duties. Talking about the divorce, it was not that easy for a woman for the reason she had to try to find an archon and official of Athenian, and give a suitable reason for a divorce to be accepted. Athenian women might not own property in their own right. In case they were married, complete control went to their husband. If they divorced, control and rights over their property went back to their father or nearest male relative instead. A woman would perform in the public roles only when there were weddings, funerals and state religious festivals that women were expected to play a well-known public roles.

Sparta women

Sparta and Athens shared the same culture in term of marriage. However, Sparta had another special practice called “Wife Sharing”. In accordance with the Spartan belief that breeding should be between the most physically fit parents, many older men allowed younger more fit men to impregnate their wives. Other unmarried or childless men might even request another man’s wife to bear his children if she had previously been a strong child bearer. Because of this practice Spartan women were considered to be polygamous or polyandrous. It was an encouragement practice in order for women to bear as many strong-bodied children as they could. In addition, this practice was so important at that time due to the decreasing population. It was so hard to maintain the population due to the constant absence and loss of men in the battle and intense physical inspection of newborns. During Sparta era, women could own property and did in fact own more than a third of the land in Sparta, and they could dispose of it as they wished. Daughters inherited along with sons. Daughters may have inherited half of what a son inherited; it is also possible that if you combine dowry with inheritance they ended up with a full share of the estate. In the house, mothers or women were essentially the head of the households in Spartan society. Women were not expected to learn domestic duties like weaving and cleaning, as the estate’s helots would perform these tasks. Therefore, women were more preoccupied with maintaining their physical stature, bearing children, and supervising the helots who worked the land. Daughters or women were somehow allowed to get education in both arts and athletics; especially women were encouraged to develop their intellect. Last but not least, women were more free to take charge of almost everything outside of the army since their husbands were rarely home. Finally, Spartan women were allowed to divorce their husbands without fear of losing their personal wealth. Women seemed to be equal in the society. Hence, they could divorce and were not required to or discouraged from remarrying.


After comparing these two societies, personally, Sparta society is much better than Athens for women because women had almost equally rights to men like women had the rights to own their properties and demanded their wealth back in case they wanted to get divorce. Furthermore, more or less women could get educations in both arts and athletics. Indeed the women were expected to take control of their husbands’ assets when they were away on military duty. It seemed like Sparta society, women were given more value and respect than Athens society.

The lives of women in Education

Athenian women

In ancient Greece, women in Athens society were living in the strict situation and provided a very `few educations. They had no power or social status far apart from Sparta women. Even freedom and property also depended on their three mains social positions. Those Slaves women, who were not supposed to be taught in written or read, according to the case of Greece for Athenian men claimed to have a fairly low opinion of women “A man who teaches a woman to write should know that he is providing poison to an asp.”(Women In Athens). They weren’t allowed to leave their home; they were only learning and training in household management by their mother. They were treated unequal between men and women. An Athens woman was given only use items like clothes, gifts or jewelry from their husbands, relatives and family. Besides, they were taught in weaving, sewing, spinning, cooking, cleaning, and child caring. Distant from Athenian Citizen Women and the Hetaerae, they were responsible for the children, managed the bondswomen, the house and ran the households budget. They also had lessons in the tradition musical instruments and social occasion for the religious events to fulfill the honor of the gods and weddings. Besides during the funerals, they had made the dead body ready and the food delivered safe to the grave. These women could move freely in society and had educated better than the Slave Women. Women in Athens had no right in politics or legal rights; they couldn’t own their property and all the stages of their lives were completed controlled by their husbands. Since the husbands most often away from home, the wives were spent their time mainly in daily’s life running the households such as cleaning, cooking, raising the child, going to the market, washing and preparing all the clothes, carrying the water from town fountain and also guarding the house. They could only gain the knowledgeable to be a housewife and disappearing on the outdoor activities.

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Sparta women

Life of Sparta women was greatly formed in education and enjoyed more freedom rather than Athens women. They weren’t supposed to learn sewing, cooking or making clothes, but they expected to spent their time daily on training in the basic physical exercise, wresting, hunting, horse riding, foot racing as well as gymnastic and other battle skills in order to become the strong women, so the childbirth would also turned to be the healthy child. In this city was mainly focused on a strong military state. If the child were born in weak bodies, they would take them away to the mountainsides and let them died there. Therefore, Spartan women had treated equal and be part of combat culture. They were provided the food, drink and hard military trained the same as men. They were taught how to read and write in both arts and athletics disciplines included sang and danced. In the age of 18 years old, these women had to pass the test of fitness and skills. If they couldn’t pass the examination, they wouldn’t allow returning home, also lost the right or the true citizen of Sparta and worked in the middle class. Additionally, citizen women had wide legal rights to managed and controlled their own property different from Athenian. They were allowed to live freely and enjoyed the great freedom without the permission from their husbands. They had high social positions and more indoor activities one step ahead forward Athens women.


After went through the historical of two Greek city-states, we could see that they were `treated women in a very different way, although they were formed in the same position, but they were highly respected and allowed freedom or upright and educated greatly more over on Spartan women. In similarly they regarded Athenian as a slave whereas Spartan as warrior. This showed us how they behaved toward the women in society and unfairly. However, that leads to expand the women’s right and reputation.

The lives of women in Ecomomic

Athenian women

Athena is a state of Greece Empire which considers women as an inferior sexual. Women cannot attend in agora, which means the public place. All the property is being control by different men in the different position that she holds known as Kyrios. When she stills a kid and lives in the family, all the wealth own by her father, even the dowry when she married, Mason mentioned that the dowry helped to attract a suitable husband and was supposed to be used for the woman’s maintenance(2012, para 9). Then, when the time has come her father choose one of the most appropriate man to married her, and she cannot confuse the married because it is there traditional and all the wealth in the house ruled by her husband. As a result, the Athenian women job in their daily life is just to take care of the house hold, give birth to children and take care of them, and finally serve her husband like a servant, Hibbison also mentioned in his research paper “Athenian women were barely considered to be better than slaves” (2005, para 3). Yet, all the way of living that I mentioned above only occur to the women who married to the rich family, but for poorer wife is completely different. For the poorer wife, they can go to agora, they can conduct trade and they can work outside the house. Moreover, the poorer wife enjoyed their life than the richer but according to Mason, the poorer wife still look after by Kyrios and they have to protect their status by kept themselves away from the male and try not to get in to any trouble (2012,para 14). All in all, most of the Athenian women did not have any role to involve in economics, “Athenian women of the classical period did not have much power or input into their personal or financial lives” (K.Mason, 2012).

Sparta women

Sparta women enjoy greater life than any other women in other society in the entire Greece Empire because Sparta believes that Sparta women give birth to strong men in Sparta, Guaghan said that “regardless of gender all Sparta had an obligation to serve the militaristic end of Sparta.” (2005). So, Sparta women have a lot of authority in their hands to satisfy their fabulous life. Sparta women have the mandate to possess the property and manage their own life because most of the time in the Sparta family, there is only women that in the house. The rule in the Sparta is that Sparta men can marry in the age of 20, yet they still have to live in the military barracks for other 40 year. Even on the Sparta wedding day, after the couple has sex, the Sparta men have to go back to the military barrack (Manda, 2010). Thus, the Sparta women own all the house wealth and take care of the house and also their own life. Moreover, Sparta women can also conduct trade by this economic sector that make female in Sparta has lots of power, University of North Carolina Press say that” Economic power has always had the concomitant effect of increasing status”(1990). Also Sparta husband usually listen to his wife (University of North Carolina Press, 1990). Furthermore, Sparta women can receive their parents’ legacy, according to British Museum Press, “Sparta women could inherit and so transfer wealth” (1995). Nonetheless, Sparta women still have small voice in the political and mostly it came from their wealth and property.


Between the Sparta women and Athenian, I think Sparta women far better than Athenian women in the Economics sector. Because, first of all, Sparta women got higher education which allow them to manage their life well, even without their husband nearby. So, they can earn the money to feed their family because in Sparta men have to serve the military for such long period of time. The another reason is that Sparta women regard as superior as the men because they possessed all the wealth in the house hold and their husband always listen to them. Last but not least Sparta women can receive the heritage from her father alike to the man did.

The lives of women in Politic

Athenian Women

The role of Athenian women were limited. There was no political position for women in Athens. Athenian women grew up with almost no rights. In addition, Athenian women can reach their citizen status, incase their son became the state citizen or their daughter could marry citizens only. Another thing was that Athenian women could not achieve their freedom, prior to the 7 century, they could not attend their state assembly and none of them could travel alone they must accompany by the men or their slaves. It was clear that they were considered inferior after the reform of the six century .Because at that time only men were the citizen of the state, those men could hold polictical office, also they could speak in the ekklesia which was the public place and those men have the power to vote on their state affair while all women received nothing which mean they were excluded, and this exclusion showed us that Athenian women did not obtained any political power. More importantly, even the top class of Athenian women seemed less involve in Athenian democracy, there was no throne for elite women to rule their state. Women play a very low role in the judicial system. For example, it must be her son who have to swore for her innocent in the case the a mother was charged with a crime.

Sparta women

The role of Sparta women in politic differed from the women of Athens, in Sparta women born with respectable right. they were feed in a better condition that mean a girl was feed the same condition as their brother. it was clear that Sparta women had their own freedom. They were allow to move freely in there city , either waking or they could even drive the chariot along the city. More importantly, in 300 BC women was able to inherit their land and at that time most of the land was belong to women. The role of Sparta women in Politic was very active. They had a large duty which was the protection of their state by training away usually in the war in order to protect their people. With this, they were treat as equal as men did by such serving. Although, Sparta women could not attend the state assembly, women were still influence their thought through their husband to deliver their concern or opinions in order to help the state Policies making. To conclude, it was not surprising that the role of Sparta women in Politic is much more better than the role of Athenian women in term of the way that Sparta people treat the men and the women equally, the highly influence of the women in to the politic, women stastus , rights freedom involving the whole city state.


After reviewing the lives of women in Athens and the lives of women in Sparta, we can see the strengths and the weakness of these two city state. If we talk about the participation of these two city states , we would say that Athenian women conduct their own God and Goddess in a greater level, base on their role and their free time in to perform the various ritual the ceremonies. However, Sparta women somehow gain much more better lives than Athenian women in their tradition, they were give a very large value in their society. Additionally, Sparta women involve in a huge degree of Education. They were taught how to read and write in both arts and athletics disciplines included sang and danced. In the age of 18 years old, these women had to pass the test of fitness and skills. Also, women in Sparta is far better in the economic factor.in addition, they can run their own business, possess the any property and they even can pass it to their generation. Beside these, Sparta role in politic is very active. Women gain a high influential in the state decision making, their statues are powerful, their right and freedom are respectable in the whole city. According to the examples that we have mentioned early, it is no doubt that the lives of Sparta women was more pleasant than the lives of Athenian women in the ancient time.


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