Spartan Woman Essay

1152 Words5 Pages
Both physically and mentally strong, the Spartan woman was educated, with knowledge of the arts, music, philosophy, and more. Spartan women were allowed rights that were not afforded to any other women in the Hellenistic world during the Bronze Age. In Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, Xenophon describes a practice where a man could father children with a woman who was not his wife, so long as he obtained the permission of her husband, Or an older man could chose a younger, healthier man to father children with his wife. As an Athenian man, Xenophon has understated the societal power of women in Sparta. It was named ‘wife sharing’ by male scholars who took Xenophon’s lack of acknowledgement of women’s desires as a proof that only men were involved in the decision making process. Such scholarship also ignores the evidence that Spartan women were known were speaking their minds, and held much more power in society than their Athenian counterparts. Sarah Pomeroy suggests the practice should instead be known as ‘husband doubling’, since women likely had a large amount…show more content…
Xenophon is regarded as the most reliable source on Spartan ways of life. Xenophon of Athens was a Greek historian and philosopher who studied under Socrates. He is most well known for his accounts of the late 5th and early 4th centuries, specifically his Hellenica, which recounts the Peloponnesian War and is considered a continuation of Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War. His service under Spartan generals in the Persian Wars, pro-oligarchic views, and friendship with King Agesilaus II endeared him to the Spartans. Xenophon even raised his sons in Sparta as trophimoi; foreigners who underwent Spartan education. Though favoured by the Spartans, Xenophon was still an Athenian, and likely retained some Athenian biases in regards to women. The

More about Spartan Woman Essay

Open Document