Assess the Role Played by Spartan Women Within Their Society

Assess the role played by Spartan women within their society.

Women of Sparta were aware of their role in society in regards to staying healthy and fit to produce healthy offspring as well as partaking in the running of the economy. According to Aristotle, “the women dominated the men which is not good in a military state”, however, they were treated with respect, as they were an essential element in the ancient warrior society. They were involved in prominent positions within the Spartan society such as education, family and religion. It was thought that Spartan women lead unusual lives by Greek standards.

The Spartan society expected the women to give birth to healthy sons who would grow up to be soldiers for Sparta. Traditional roles for women were inexistent in Sparta seeing as they thought such menial tasks were meant for the helots – state owned slaves, instead the most important role played by the women was to bear their children. In order to guide the offspring with patriotism, the mother had to have the correct attitude herself. A Spartan woman would rear her son(s) according to the customs and expectations of their state and society. They were proud of their role within Sparta seeing as they shaped the new generations of citizens that were to defend their polis. Especially women who gave birth to strong and healthy sons, they felt superior to other women and felt self-righteousness. This implies that women with strong sons were strong themselves because it was believed that only strong and healthy Spartan women were to produce such strong offspring.
Within Sparta, women played a major role in encouraging patriotism by sacrificing the men whom they loved. It was thought that, women cried tears of joy over the bleeding bodies of their wounded husband and sons for they had died in honour by fighting for their beloved polis. They took pride in the bravery that had led the men to death and were expected not to mourn for their absence. If a son came home...