Athenian Women And Sparta

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The treatment of women in ancient Greece varied wildly from state to state. Two particular cities stand out as stark opposites: Athens and Sparta. When considering the two, many consider Sparta to have been far more progressive in terms of women’s rights, at least for that day and age. Compare: in Sparta women were encouraged to eat well, and train their bodies, that they might be at their peak physical form, while in Athens women were fed what the men did not eat, and were rarely allowed to leave their homes. At first it appears that Sparta embraces the idea of equality, but I believe that Sparta’s apparent feminism is only a coincidence, a byproduct of Sparta’s unique patriarchy. I will argue that the reason Athenian women and Spartan women …show more content…
Athens and Sparta may have existed at the same time, but they couldn’t have been further apart. Athens is considered the birthplace of democracy, and for good reason. Citizens were given the right to vote, hold office, and serve on juries. They decided, created, and ruled upon the laws of their city. The men of Athens were poets, scholars, artists, farmers, doctors, philosophers, and they believed in the power of mind. It was a hub of culture and invention, maintained by its people who farmed their own food and weaved their own …show more content…
Women were meant to further the station of their family, in terms of political power or wealth. Daughters in Athens were married off by their fathers, often to a more powerful family. In Athens caste was everything, and women were pawns for improving the station of men. Women were a sort of middleman in terms of legacy: by marrying your daughter to a wealthy man, you could ensure that your grandchildren were born into a wealthy family as well. In Euripides’ play Medea, the character Jason leaves his first wife and son to marry a more powerful woman, the daughter of a king. Jason gives one of his reasons as a desire to improve the station of his children, as they would be born princes instead of paupers (Euripides). He gave no concern to his wife, however, because women existed as objects in Athenian

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