A Woman's Role in Ancient Greece

Topics: Sparta, Ancient Greece, Classical Athens Pages: 4 (1473 words) Published: December 15, 2007
Running head: A WOMAN'S ROLE IN ANCIENT GREECE: 1000-500 BC

A Woman's Role in Ancient Greece: 1000-500 BC

A Woman's Role in Ancient Greece
Most people can relate the city of Athens to freedom and democracy, as well as relate the city of Sparta to a highly restricted military dictatorship. This is because school has taught us that modern democracies are modeled after Athens, while military dictatorships are modeled after Sparta. However, history shows us that women had much more liberty in Sparta than in Athens. In fact, the democracy of Athens was available only to free men who were citizens of Athens. Moreover, to claim citizenship, an Athenian had to prove that both his parents were "astoi." For the father, being "astos" meant he was an Athenian citizen, but the mother could not be a citizen. Women were never citizens, but only able to transmit the rights of citizenship to their sons (Perry et al., 1992, Pages 60-61). On the other hand, Sparta provided more liberty for more people, especially women. This belief goes against current society beliefs, but there is an abundance of evidence to support this theory. Both Athenian and Spartan women lived much of their lives separately from the men of their societies. Athenian men spent the majority of their time away discussing politics and philosophy, but when they went home they expected obedience from their wives. 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, Pages 60-61). The...

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