Spartan Women: role and status, land ownership, inheritance and education

  • Created by: Alice
  • Created on: 01-08-13 13:42


Around greece women had very low social status, were barred from public life and were restricted to domestic roles. Pomeroy demonstrates that spartan women were better fed and educated then other greek women. They trained with Spartan men, lived in public lives and came to control much wealth of Sparta. She also argues that they had a high level of control over this own fertility and played a singificant role in maintaining spartan society. 

There was an obvious attempt to maintain uniformity between the sexes

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  • - Age groups - through a state funded education
  • - javelin and discus, wrestling and running
  • - women were naked while exercising 
  • - learnt reading and writing- literate
  • - learnt weaving and domestic skills so they could supervise such work
  • - key to education - produce spartan soildiers
  • - girls and boys performed atheletics side by side and wore tunics and naked (archeological evidecne is the bronze statues) 
  • - were educated in areas of sexuality, marriage and maternity


Lycurgus ordered the maidens to exerciese themselves with wrestling etc

to take away their tenderness and that they go naked in their procession

"so they might, in strong and healthy bodies, take firmer root and find better growth and might be more able to undergo the pains of childbearing"

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Inheritance, Landownership and Influence

- possible that ancient writers exaggerated the freedom because it was so different to what they were used to

- wide powers in running households because their husbands were frequently away on military duty

- girls recieved half as much property as their brothers for inheritance

plutarch: suggests that they had more power than other greek women and played a powerful role in perpetuating military values

Aristotle: "nearly two fifths of the whole country are held by women"

- really tough - had a book of spartan women sayings - archeological evidence

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