Roles of Spartan Women

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Question 1: With reference to source A, what does the evidence reveal about the roles and status of women in Spartan society. In Sparta, women were well respected and had multiple roles within society. They were given more freedom than in most other Greek societies. The main reason for this was the fact that Sparta had a warrior culture and the men were away either at war or training for war. while the men were away the women had multiple roles. The most important of which was to give birth to healthy Spartan children to become warriors. Some of the other roles women had included; participating in religious festivals, and managing the kleros. As mentioned above, the most important role of Spartan women was to give birth to healthy Spartan babies to become warriors. Xenophon stated “for free women the most important job was to bear children”. In order to produce healthy children, women underwent physical training. This was because it was thought that a healthy mother would produce a healthy child. Lycurgus stated that only women who died in childbirth would be allowed to have a marked grave. Archaeological evidence has been found to support this statement. This highlights the importance of childbirth in Spartan society. From birth, mothers disciplined their children and instilled the attitudes of the agoge. They implanted the ideas of performing at perfection and were responsible for raising children to conform and be loyal to Sparta. When their sons reached the age of seven, the mothers would freely give their sons to the agoge for their military training. Women would maintain the ideologies of the agoge and Spartan society by ridiculing men that were cowards and praising those who were heroes. Plutarch speaks of this in source A. In Sparta, “marriage by capture” was thought to have been practiced. As described by Plutarch, the bride would have her head shaved, she would be dressed in men’s clothes, and she would then lie in a dark room. The men would then...
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