Essay about Sparta and Women

Submitted By Vimm3l
Words: 2552
Pages: 11

Women's rights reveal a lot about a civilization, as they dictate life in that society, and they show

how advanced a civilization is. The amount of rights and freedoms that women are granted in a city-

state is a vital part of their society, as it reveals where their morals are. Ancient Athens was a great

place to live, however, women had significantly fewer rights there than women in ancient Sparta did.

Sparta and Athens were different in many ways, especially when it came to women's rights. Marriage in

Sparta was arguably better for women. Also, women were allocated a lot more freedom in Sparta than

in Athens, and they were almost equal to men as well. It is also important to note how the rest of

Greece reacted to these very unique Spartan women. Another important point is that, even though many

of them did not enjoy many rights or freedoms, there were a lot of important women in all

parts of Ancient Greece. Regardless of the strict, totalitarian government and rough life, women in

Sparta enjoyed much better lives with more rights and freedoms than the women of Athens.

Before discussing women's rights, it is important to first achieve an understanding of Ancient

Greece, and Athens, and Sparta. Ancient Greece was a great civilization, with city-states that were

separated by the mountains. Because of this separation, Greek city-states would develop their own

cultures and government systems. Two of the great city-states were Athens and Sparta. Sparta was

unique in ancient Greece for its social system and its importance on fighting and strength, as it

completely focused on military training and excellence. Spartan education focused on producing

soldier citizens. Athens placed importance on both the body and mind. Education focused on producing

smart, thinking soldiers. Of course, these distinct differences meant that the two city-states had very

unique and extremely different ways of living.

Marriage in Sparta was very unique, as women had a lot of choice. First of all, girls would normally

not be married off until they were eighteen or nineteen years old, when they were truly women. They

also had the ability to choose who they would marry quite often, which gave them more freedom than

usual in ancient societies. Husbands and wives were also close in age, with the average man marrying

his eighteen or nineteen year old wife when he was around twenty-five years old. Even the wedding ceremony itself was very unique in Sparta. Women would cut off their hair and dress in men's clothes.

They would then sneak to the barracks to see their new husbands.1 Another very unique part of

marriage in Sparta was the great divorce rules. The very liberal divorce rules in Sparta were very good

for women, as they offered freedom in marriage. The laws regarding a divorce were the same for both

men and women. Women could file for divorce as easily as men were able to, and they would not be

forced to remarry, but they would not be discouraged from it either. They could divorce for whatever

reason, and did not need male support to do so. They also would not have to worry about losing their

homes or their personal wealth. These rules were very unique in all of ancient Greece, as the women

had an amazing amount of control in their relationships. The freedom that women had was not strictly

in marriage and divorce, though.

Even the every day lives of women in Sparta were extremely free. Women ran their homes to an

extreme. They did not simply cook, clean and control the servants. They were in charge of their home's

affairs. As their husbands were in the military, they were not home much. So, women took complete

charge of their homes and families. They made all of the important decisions, they had a voice in

decisions, and they handled financial matters. Women acted as the man of the house, and their

husbands did whatever they said. This immense freedom was