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Comparison of Sparta and Athens Women

Info: 1106 words (4 pages) Essay
Published: 18th May 2020 in History

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Sparta Women Vs. Athens Women

Greece Empire have two poleis which are Sparta and Athens that dominated Greek life and politics in the Classical Age.  According to the textbook World Civilizations, Sparta is located in the southern Peloponnesus about eighty miles from Athens. Also, Sparta was small city surround by pastoral villages (Chapter 8 page 99). As for Athens, Athens is the capital of Greece which is located on “the island of the Aegean Sea and the small, rocky peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean Sea” (Chapter 8 page 93).  Even though, Sparta and Athens were in close piercement; Sparta differ from Athens in a lot of ways especially the women that lives in these city – states.  Between these two cities- states the women role in marriage, education, and freedom in society are different.

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One of the ways that Sparta and Athens are different their view on what was best for their citizens. Sparta’s society “was a militaristic, authoritarian that held the arts and intellectual life in contempt and dreaded the extension of freedom to the individual or the community (Chapter 8 page 98). As for Athens’ society, their focus was on the “Greek educational, artistic, and scientific activity as well as the birthplace of the political democracy (Chapter 8 page 98).” However, it come to the women in these two city-states its different because in Greece “women were excluded from any direct role in the exercise of political and economic power (Chapter 9 page 113). Sparta women had more freedom than the women in Athens.

In Sparta, there were laws that were reformed by the Lycurgus which effect what women could do. The law by Lycurgus included certain rules and allowances according to the article “The Women of Sparta: Athletic, Educated, and Outspoken Radicals of the Greek World”.  Even though, the women in Sparta seem to be freer than the average Greek female. The textbook says “……, the women were equal with their menfolk.” Women in Sparta were viewed as the “vehicle by which Sparta constantly advantage” (“The Women of Sparta: Athletic, Educated, and Outspoken Radicals of the Greek World”). As for women Athens, the women that are look as respectable they were limited to the home (Chapter 9 page 113). Since they are limited to home their duty was to management the household and supervision the children and servants (Chapter 9 page 113).  As one read more about Sparta and Athens women one sees the difference between the two when it comes to these topics.

In Sparta, marriage is important to Spartans because they put pressure on the couples to have male children so, they will become citizen- warrior and replace the warriors that die in battle.  Sparta women normally get at the age 18 and the person they married is never a stranger. Sometimes the father can choose their daughter’s husband, but if the daughter rejects the father option. There nothing the father can do because its no law that prevent the daughter objection.  In Sparta the ceremony consists of short friendly fight between the bride and groom. After the fight the groom will carry the bride out over his shoulder. However, Sparta women do not live with their husband until his is the age 30 because of the Sparta being military base city the men have to live in Barrack (where Spartan men between the age of 21 and 30 had to stay there collectively for military training) (Comparing Lives of Athenian And Spartan Women History Essay). Sparta marriage is different from Athens marriage because the women/girl get married at a young age. Athens women get married at the 12 -15 that are normally arranged by their family. The young from Athens does not know who she’s going marry till the day of the wedding. As one sees that Sparta can choose their own husband while Athens women marriage is arranging and thought of by the time she is five years old.

The second way that Sparta and Athens women are different is their education. Typically, Greek women did not have a formal education.  Sparta women education is consisting of her having a permitted to exercise outdoors and unclothes like the Sparta men do (The Women of Sparta: Athletic, Educated, and Outspoken Radicals of the Greek World). As far as education goes for Athens women, they are taught by their mother or a private tutor. Athens women education is basically a domestic education.

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Lastly, the different between these two city-state women is their freedom in their society. I previously discuss briefly that Sparta women freer than the women in Athens. Sparta women “have a reputation of being independent-minded, and enjoyed more freedoms and power than their counterparts throughout ancient Greece”( Sparta). Sparta women were able to explore their sexuality in public. According to the textbook World Civilization, Sparta women allegedly shared the sexual favor of their men, regardless of marriage. Even though, they freer than Athens women they did not get the emotional support from their marriage. Athens women freedom all depend on their classification. So, Athens women to have some type freedom they had to be born free in order to be recognized as having some civic rights (World Civilization). Basically, an Athens woman that is not a slave she had some type of freedom in her society.

In conclusion, Sparta and Athens women are totally different when it comes to their role in society. Especially, when it comes to their marriage, education, and freedom. As I doing research on Sparta and Athens women, Sparta women live kind of the norm than the other Greek women. Sparta women freedom is close to the freedom of Sparta men. As for Athens women, they were basically controlled by the men in their lives. Probably in some way, Sparta women and Athens women might have some things in common but from what I research I do not think so.

Work Cite

  • Adler, P. J., & Pouwels, R. L. (2018). World civilizations. to 1700. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
  • History.com Editors. “Sparta.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 12 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/sparta.
  • writer873. (2019, September 27). The Women of Sparta: Athletic, Educated, and Outspoken Radicals of the Greek World. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/123/the-women-of-sparta-athletic-educated-and-outspoke/.


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