Both Athenian and Spartan women lived much of their lives separately from the men of their societies. Athenian men spent time away discussing politics and philosophy, but when they went home they expected obedience from their wives. Moreover, no Athenian citizen would ever admit that he took advice from a woman. Spartan men were gone even more, since they were soldiers. Only the men held official office, but everyone recognized the influence of women in decision making. Spartan women gained freedom from male domination, but they were not likely to get any emotional support from their marriages. The men of Athens had to be the boss in public, but not necessarily in the home behind closed doors. In Athens, the men held public power, but in Sparta the state held public power (Perry, et al, 1992, pp.54-55, pp. 60-61).
Even the style of dress reveals the relative liberty of the Spartan women, compared with the Athenian women. Athenian wives wore plain, modest clothing. Only prostitutes were allowed to wear... [continues]
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