5. Study questions Copy

For the remaining sessions, we recommend that you try to answer the questions before clicking on the arrows.

The main differences appear to be in the amount of freedom allowed to Spartan women (in terms of education, access to the outside, physical training). However, this freedom is allowed because it fits the ethos of the Spartan political and social system. They train so they are fit to produce children.

Our sources are male and not Spartan (in fact, usually Athenian). Plutarch, when writing about the life of Lycurgus is about a thousand years distant from his subject. Even Herodotus (writing about the Spartan kings) is writing maybe a century afterwards. Sparta was a notoriously closed society, so we need to be careful about the information that we have.

Spartan women had lives that were on the surface more ‘free’ but if you look at Spartan society as a whole, then these freedoms were part of the need to coordinate activities in the service of the state. Spartan women were trained to be fit to increase the chances of healthy children. Failure to have children or to produce unhealthy children would have had negative consequences for Spartan women.


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