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