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Spartan Women

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Brooke
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« on: February 17, 2007, 09:19:59 pm »



"Scandalous" Spartan Women
In no other Greek city-state did women enjoy the same freedom and privileges of Spartan women. 

Only in Sparta did girls receive public education—in other city-states, most women were completely illiterate.

Only in Sparta were girls allowed to engage in sports.

Only in Sparta did women possess economic power and influence.

Scandalized observers from other Greek cities commented that not only did Spartan women have opinions, they also were not afraid to voice them in public; and worse still their husbands actually listened to them!



The freedom and greater respect for Spartan women began at birth with laws that required female infants and children to be given the same care and food as their brothers—in contrast to other Greek cities, where girls were frequently given less and lower-quality food. Like their brothers, Spartan girls were expected or required to attend the public school, although for a shorter period of time than the boys. At school they were allowed and encouraged to engage in sports. (And it was, incidentally, a Spartan who became the first woman to ever have an Olympic victory—by entering a chariot at the races.)

When girls reached sexual maturity they were not rushed—as were their sisters throughout the rest of the contemporary world—into marriage and childbed. On the contrary, the Spartan laws explicitly advocated marrying girls only after they had reached an age to "enjoy sex." The reasoning was simple: for young girls not yet psychologically ready for sexual intimacy, sex was an "act of violence." Nor were Spartan girls married to much older men as was usual in other Greek cities. It is estimated that most Spartan wives were only 4 to 5 years younger than their husbands.

With their husbands confined to barracks and on active service until the age of 31 and frequently called up for campaigns or engaged in political and civic duties thereafter, it was left to Sparta's matrons to run the estates. These meant that Spartan wives controlled the family wealth—and in effect the entire Spartan agricultural economy. A Spartan citizen was dependent on his wife's efficiency to pay his "dues" to his dining club. This economic power is in particularly sharp contrast to cities such as Athens, where it was illegal for a woman to control more money than she needed to buy a bushel of grain. What was more, Spartan women could inherit and so transfer wealth. Athenian women, by contrast, were never heiresses; all property passed to the next male kinsman, who might at most be required to marry the heiress in order to claim the inheritance. Economic power has always had the concomitant effect of increasing status. This is clearly evidenced by contemporary descriptions of Spartan women. They were "notorious" for having opinions ("even on political matters!") and—what was clearly worse from the perspective of other Greek men—"their husbands listened to them." Aristotle claimed that Spartan men were "ruled by their wives"—and cited the freedom of Spartan women as one of two reasons why the Spartan Constitution was reprehensible.

In a frequently quoted incident, the wife of King Leonidas was allegedly asked why Spartan women were the only women in Greece who "ruled" their husbands. Gorgo replied, "because we are the only women who give birth to men." In other words, only men with the self-confidence to accept women as equals were men at all.

Spartan women did not have a voice in the Assembly, nor were they required to spend 40 years in the army.

Last but not least, it is a frequent misconception that Spartan society was also blatantly homosexual. Curiously, no contemporary source and no archaeological evidence supports this widespread assumption. The best ancient source on Sparta, Xenophon, explicitly denies the already common rumors about widespread pederasty. Aristotle noted that the power of women in Sparta was typical of all militaristic and warlike societies without a strong emphasis on male homosexuality—arguing that in Sparta this "positive" moderating factor on the role of women in society was absent. There is no Spartan/Laconian pottery with explicitly homosexual motifs—as there is from Athens and Corinth and other cities. The first recorded heterosexual love poem was written by a Spartan poet for Spartan maidens. The very fact that Spartan men tended to marry young by ancient Greek standards (in their early to mid-twenties) suggests they had less time for the homosexual love affairs that characterized early manhood in the rest of Greece. Certainly the state considered bachelorhood a disgrace, and a citizen who did not marry and produce future citizens enjoyed less status than a man who had fathered children. In no other ancient Greek city were women so well integrated into society. All this speaks against a society in which homosexuality was exceptionally common.

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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2007, 09:21:20 pm »

WOMEN IN SPARTA

 

            By 600 BCE Sparta had conquered her neighbors in the southern half of the Peloponnese.  The vanquished people, called Helots, were required to do all of the agricultural work on land owned by the victors, making Sparta self-sufficient in food and ruler of a slave population seven or eight times as large.  Not needing to import anything allowed Sparta to isolate herself from the culture of the rest of the world; fearing revolt by such a large number of slaves forced the country to become an armed camp:  thus was determined the character of one of the oddest societies in the ancient world.

            At the age of seven Spartan boys left home to be raised by the state in barracks.  When they turned 30 they could set up their own households but they still ate dinner every night with the other men.  One outsider on tasting such a dinner remarked, “Now I know why Spartan’s don’t fear death.”  The nation, not the family, was the center of focus for every man.  The survival of the state, it was believed, depended on the ability of every Spartan to fight and defeat at least eight Helots.  To that end, boys learned from an early age discipline, willingness to endure hardship, and the skills of a soldier.  As part of their basic training, Spartan youths were sent into the countryside to seek out and kill those Helots who looked as if they might become leaders in their community.

            While North American children are raised on Mother Goose rhymes and the Muppets, Spartan children were told tales of courage and fortitude.  A favorite concerned the young boy who endured the repeated bites of a fox rather than admit he had the animal hidden under his jacket.

            If boys left home for good at age 7 and husbands and fathers spent the greater part of their life in military training with other men, the impact of all this on the lives of women must have been enormous.  While there is no proof one way or another, it seems likely that Spartan marriages were arranged by the parents with little thought for the preferences of the prospective bride or groom, but if Spartan women had no say in the choice of husband they certainly had more power and status in every other respect.  They married at age eighteen, much later than other Greeks.  Presumably this was to guarantee healthier and stronger babies rather than a large number, but it meant that most girls were emotionally stronger when they married.   In any event other Greeks clearly believed that Spartan women had far too much power for the good of the state.  Plutarch wrote that “the men of Sparta always obeyed their wives.”   Aristotle was even more critical of the influence women had in politics arguing that it was contributing to the downfall of the country.   Women did not have a vote in the assembly but seem to have had a lot of influence behind the scene.

            Women could own property---and did in fact own more than a third of the land in Sparta---and they could dispose of it as they wished.  Daughters inherited along with sons.  Unfortunately, when we get down to the particulars there are some gaps in our knowledge.  Attempts were made to get rid of the practice of needing a dowry to get married.  It is possible that endeavors by fathers to get around the law have led to considerable confusion in our eyes as to what was a gift and what was a dowry.  Daughters may have inherited half of what a son inherited; it is also possible that if you combine dowry with inheritance they ended up with a full share of the estate.

Spartan women had a reputation for boldness and licentiousness that other Greeks found unseemly.  Women’s tunics were worn in such a way as to give them a little more freedom of movement and the opportunity to reveal a little leg and thigh if they so desired.  Spartan girls competed in athletics at the same time as the boys and may have done so in the **** before a mixed audience.  Plutarch mentions **** rituals witnessed by young men.  The end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth centuries BCE saw a decline in the number of men relative to women.  Several men might share a wife and regard the children as their own.  The woman would clearly be the dominant member of any such family.  An unmarried man might approach a friend and ask if he could “borrow” his wife to produce a child for him.  If the husband had all of the children he wanted and approved of the suitor he might agree.  It is highly unlikely that the mature wife and mother lacked a strong voice in the arrangements, considering the power and status of adult women in everything else.  Since marriage existed strictly for the procreation of children and not as an answer to emotional or social needs the arrangement would not have had the same meaning to them as it might to us.

            Some have suggested the practice began as a way of limiting the breakup of family estates at death---a serious problem in those societies where daughters inherit as well as sons.  Others regard it as an appropriate response to a disproportionate number of men and women in a society where family life was not all that important anyway.

            The picture that emerges is a contradictory one.  Spartan and Athenian women lived much of their lives far removed from the men of their societies.  Athenian men spent time away discussing politics and philosophy, but when they went home they expected obedience from their wives and no Athenian citizen would ever admit to taking advice from a woman.  Spartan men were absent even more; while they were the only ones who held official office everyone acknowledged the influence women had in decision making.  Spartan women may have gained freedom from male domination, but they were even less likely to get any emotional support from their marriages.  The men of Athens had to be the boss in public, but there was no such social requirement in the home behind closed doors.  The overt power of the husband was replaced in Sparta by an unspoken but very real control by the state.  Spartan women remained breeding machines whose purpose was to produce the male soldiers the state needed to defend itself against revolt by the Helots.  Mother love was replaced by a mother’s pride in her son’s bravery in battle and disgust with any sign of cowardice.  “Come home with your shield or upon it” was reputed to be the advice one woman gave her son as he went off to war.  She may well have been speaking on behalf of all Spartan women.

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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2007, 09:23:13 pm »

WHY SPARTAN WOMEN WERE MORE DOMINANT IN SOCIETY THAN THEIR ATHENIAN SISTERS

1.   Girls were given a good education in both the arts and athletics.
2.   Women were encouraged to develop their intellect.
3.   Women owned more than a third of the land.
4.   There was less difference in age between husbands and wives, and girls in Sparta married at a later age than their sisters in Athens.
5.    Husbands spent most of their time with other men in the military barracks; since the men were rarely home, the women were free to take charge of almost everything outside of the army.
6.   Mothers reared their sons until age 7 and then society took over.  Fathers played little or no role in child care.



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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2007, 09:24:45 pm »

Spartan Women in Herodotos

Spartan women make several appearances in The Histories of Herodotos. In the stories, the Spartan women act as mothers, daughters, wives and queens and they participate in the political and social arenas. Herodotos also quite often shows the women as the inadvertent cause of strife within Sparta and also as the root of the most well-known political institutions. Of course, the most famous Spartan women in Herodotos is Helen, but often she is found in the mythological stories and is not indicative of the treatment of women. It is interesting to compare these women to the other women illustrated in Herodotos and note which examples parallel the other stories and which are unique in Herodotos' treatment of women (C. Dewald, "Women and Culture in Herodotus' Histories", Reflections on Women in Antiquity).

One Spartan woman appears several times in Herodotos' work as a daughter, wife and queen. This is Gorgo, the daughter of Kleomenes and wife of Leonidas. She is first mentioned in 5.48: "for Cleomenes' reign was a brief one, and he died without a son to succeed him, leaving only a daughter whose name was Gorgo." Often, Herodotos does not name the women, but he does so here in an unusual context. Herodotos must have found her worth mentioning, perhaps to strengthen the points he will later make. Her next appearance is within a few chapters. In 5.51, her skills at diplomacy and character analysis are seen to have developed at an early age. She mentions to her father, Kleomenes, when Aristagoras has approached him for more support: "Father, you had better go away, or the stranger will corrupt you." This powerful statement is made at the tender age of eight or nine, which is perhaps unrealistic. Herodotos also alludes to the fact that Gorgo was a fixture in the Spartan court: "Cleomenes told him to say what he wished and not to mind the child." Kleomenes is said to have heeded the advice of his daughter and did not continue the conversation with Aristagoras. By doing so, the Spartans did not participate with Aristagoras in Ionia and it was due to the intervention of an young child. This appears odd that a child would advise her father. Gorgo makes one more dramatic appearance in Herodotos in 7.239. In this chapter, Demaratos, an exile from Sparta, attempts to pass the news of Xerxes' invasion to Sparta. He sends a message to Sparta, which needed to be decoded. The message arrived in Sparta, but there was trouble with the decipherment: "When the message reached its destination, no one was able to guess the secret until, as I understand, Cleomenes' daughter, Gorgo, who was the wife of Leonidas, divined it and told the others that, if they scraped the wax off, they would find something written on the wood underneath. This was done; the message was revealed and read, and afterwards passed on to the other Greeks." Gorgo certainly holds a prestigious position in Spartan history as the wife of the great Leonidas and daughter of infamous Kleomenes. In his histories, she takes part in crucial decisions and discoveries concerning her family, which is not a rarity within his work. Other figures such as Artemisia and Tomyris are also seen as being quite independent and powerful. However, Gorgo is most likely given these credits due to her connection with Kleomenes and Leonidas.

Some Spartan women are found in unflattering situations in the work of Herodotos and they breach the rules of their city-state. In 4.146, Herodotos tells the story of the Minyae, the descendants of the Argonauts, who married Spartan women, and then demanded a share of the Spartiate privileges such as access to royal power. The Lakedaimonians proceeded to imprison them before executing them. However, before these men were executed, the Spartan women entered the prison: "These women were all natives of Sparta and daughters of leading Spartan citizens, so no one suspected treachery, and they succeeded in getting their request granted. Once inside the prison, however, they changed clothes with the men, who were enabled by this disguise to pass themselves off as women and get out." It is in this passage, the treachery of the women is surprising, but their grouping is also not rare in Herodotos.

Almost all the remaining appearances of Spartan women are connected with fertility, childbirth and legitimacy, which were sources of anxiety for the Spartans. The first mention of Spartan concern for posterity occurs in 5.39 when the ephors criticize the wife of Anaxandrides, who had produced no children. Anaxandrides, however, was of a different opinion: "his wife had been guilty of no fault, and the magistrates' advice that he should send her away and marry another woman instead was most improper--he would do nothing of the kind." However, the ephors and members of the Gerousia came to an agreement, stating "As for your present wife, we do not ask you to divorce her; you may continue to give her all the privileges she now enjoys; but you must marry another woman as well, to bear you children" (5.40). Thus, through the queen's supposed infertility, the king took a new wife, which was a common act in Sparta. However, this first queen does become pregnant and falls under the suspicion of the second wife's family. Herodotos states, "The relatives of the second wife made a great fuss when they heard the news, and maintained--what was quite untrue--that she was pretending to be pregnant for the sake of her reputation, and meant to pass off a suppositious baby as her own" (5.41). The most important affect of the queen's fertility and king's bigamy is that the odd familial relations will cause strife between Kleomenes and Dorieus. This, of course, is an inadvertent action of the woman, but this pattern is seen again with another Spartan family.

Often, the historical background of a political institution is connected to the actions of a woman. Argeia, the wife of Aristodemus, who gave birth to twins, basically created the infamous dual lines of kings. The Spartans wanted to make the eldest king, but they were unable to tell and they asked Argeia, who claimed to not know. However, Herodotos states: "Actually, of course, she knew perfectly well which was which, and only pretended not to, in the hope that both of them might somehow be made kings' (6.52). The Spartans then took this question to Delphi to which the Pythia replied that, "they must let both children be kings, but give the elder one the greater honour" (6.52). They determined the oldest by judging which child was feed and tended to first and raised this brother by state funds. However, this was the root of the discord between the two lines of kings: "When the children grew up, the story goes that they quarrelled as long as they lived, in spite of the fact that they were brothers; and their descendants continued the family feud" (6.52). Thus, this Argeia allowed both her sons to become kings, but at the same time inadvertently created strife between them.

Another example of a Spartan woman, who became involved in a political situation, is told in 6.61. This woman, who was said to be an ugly baby, was taken to a shrine of Helen and transformed. After this transformation, she married Agetus, but was handed over to Ariston by trickery, whose first two wives had been infertile. Soon after the wedding, this beautiful woman--she is never named--gave birth to Demaratos, whom Ariston claimed could not be his son (6.63). Demaratos is eventually deposed due to this illegitimacy and questionable parentage. He later approaches his mother, wishing to know the true identity of his father (6.68). She explains to him that his father could either be the phantom of Astrabacus or Ariston himself. She says of Ariston that, "it was merely ignorance of such things which made him say what he did say" (6.69). She explains to Demaratos that, "A woman does not always carry her child till the tenth month; sometimes only seven--you yourself, my son were a seven-months child" (VI.69). This question of illegitimacy and Ariston's denial of parentage leads to the deposition of Demaratos. The women, whom Demaratos began to blame, clarifies the situation for him. However, Herodotos may be using this as further evidence against the character of Kleomenes, who is treated maliciously in The Histories.

There are other Spartan women who make appearances as the object of a rapes or seizures. Helen was the primary example, but there are many tales of the seizure of non-mythological women for political gain. For example, Demaratos carried off the supposed wife of Leotychides, who was his rival (6.66). This became the origin of their quarrel and it lead to the deposition of Demaratos. In addition, there are other Spartan women mentioned as daughters who are given away in marriage to form political alliances (6.71, 7.205). While these women are influential in the alliances and dissension they create, they are rarely described by Herodotos.

The role of the Spartan woman in Herodotos is varied, but the treatment is not. The Spartan women parallel the handling of other women in The Histories (C. Dewald, "Women and Culture in Herodotus' Histories", Reflections on Women in Antiquity). However, even though they are often cited to be the cause of strife between various family factions, they are seen as wise, sensible and active in politically charged matters. Gorgo advised her father and the general court of Sparta on pertinent matters. Argeia attempted to ensure the kingship for her twin sons, by claiming that she did not know which was the eldest. However, her actions would later be the cause of hostilities between the two brothers. Another woman is asked by her son to explain who his father is, after he is claimed to be illegitimate. She explains it in terms of the duration of pregnancies, which is more rational than her husband's denial. In Herodotos, Spartan women are also the objects of seizure and the prizes in political and familial alliances. Overall, Herodotos, while incorporating these women into his broad frameworks, appears to treat the Spartan women with a sense of respect. If even they are committing suspect acts or become the cause of strife, there are depicted still as clever and sensible, an unusual act for a male Greek writer.


Works Cited
C. Dewald, "Women and Culture in Herodotus' Histories", Reflections on Women in Antiquity, ed. Helen Foley (New York 1981) 91-125.

 
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/7849/herodotos.html
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2007, 09:27:23 pm »



(Artemis was often seen as a Patron goddess and warrior in Sparta.)


The Women of Sparta

Unlike the women of Athens, Spartan women were taught reading, and writing, but were also expected to be able to protect themselves. Where in Athens, the education of a girl involved spinning, weaving, and other domestic arts, for a Spartan woman such tasks were relegated to the helots or perioeci. A girls education was equally as brutal as the men's, and included many athletic events such as javelin, discus, foot races, and staged battles. In many such events, Spartan women would run naked in the presence of their male counterparts, and were respected for their athletic feats. Though women in Sparta were not subject to the same training as given by Lycurgus, Spartiate women were expected and driven to produce strong and healthy children, and to be loyal to their state. In comparison to Athens, Spartan girls were better fed their their Athenian counterparts, and were taught writing, something which Menander (an Athenian) said, "Teaching a woman to read and write? What a terrible thing to do! Like feeding a vile snake on more poison."

Marriage for a Spartan woman was an almost non-ceremonial event. The woman was abducted in the night by her suitor, her head was shaved, and she was made to wear men's clothing and lye on a straw pallet in the dark. From there on she would meet with her husband for almost entirely procreative reasons. If she was formerly a girl, she became a woman through marriage. Any Spartan man could abduct a wife, which led to a system of polyandry (many husbands, one wife or vice versa) in Sparta. When a child was born, the woman had little to do with it's upbringing, rather nurses handled the child's care (in addition, a female Spartan child was subject to the same tests of strength as a male child.).

Women's roles in Sparta were not limited to marriage and procreation. Spartan women had many rights that other Greek women did not have. Namely, they could own and control their own property, and could take another husband if their first had been away at war for too long. A woman was expected in times of war to overtake her husband's property, and to guard it against invaders, as well as revolts until her husband returned, hence many Spartan women are pictured as warriors.

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/aegean/culture/womenofsparta.html
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2007, 09:29:59 pm »

Spartan Women a Connection to the Amazon's?

Who were the Amazons?



What is known of the actual Amazons within the Aegean is very little, and yet intrigue about a race of dominant warrior women in the bronze age, has flourished from ancient times into the present. The obvious question asked by most scholars has been, who were the Amazons, and did they actually exist. Research into the Amazons is extremely limited and at times contradictory. There are numerous accounts of the origins of the Amazons, most concurring that the black sea region was their original settlement. To what extent the Amazons settled into the Black Sea region has not been fully ascertained, some sources say they reached as far south as Libya, some to the Anatolia peninsula, others as far west as the Mongolian region of Eurasia. These accounts are further conflicted by the later Greek accounts of the Amazons. According to the Greek accounts, when the Greeks themselves began to settle into the area of the black sea, they found no Amazons. As a result and to explain this discrepancy, the myth of Hercules and Hippolyte was created to explain their disappearance. According to the myth, Hercules led an expedition through the Amazon land to obtain the girdle of Queen Hippolyte (the queen of the Amazons), during this time he managed to expel and conquer all the Amazons in the district.

Regardless of the myth, modern and ancient scholars remain perplexed by the question of whether the Amazons existed at all. Plutarch, a Greek historian concluded that the Amazons did not exist as a race of warrior women per se', but were merely women fighting along side men in battle. Herodotus, another Greek historian, believed that the Amazons did exist within Greece. Other scholars have even ventured that the women were in fact male Persian soldiers who shaved their beards off and dressed up as women in battle. These theories and questions have been compounded by the view of Amazons within Greek art. The early depictions of Amazons were similar in style and likeness of Athena, as time progressed Amazons were given the likeness of Artemis. The final depictions of Amazons share slightly Persian features, a likeness (since the Greeks were in constant conflict with Persia) which can be best viewed as anomalous.

Outside of the questions of the Amazon origins, other questions pertaining to Amazons concern their view of men, and if they were a fierce (blood thirsty) people. The Greeks often questioned (as do modern scholars) how the Amazons, a race composed entirely of women, were able to sustain themselves throughout the generations. The most credible theory holds that the Amazons had contact with men from other lands, the Amazons kept the female children born to them, and sent the male children to live with their fathers. As to the Amazons blood thirsty nature, Quintus Smyrnaeus wrote of them during the Trojan Wars,

"In the pure rapture of triumph the Amazons charged, and with anguished groans and shrieks the Greeks perished, their manhood withered by the women from the fierce and untamed northlands. Like Goddesses amidst earth born heroes the Amazons pursued their reeling foes, dashed them down, cut them apart, and, scoffing, tossed them through the air - till the Greek formations dissolved in consternation."

The Amazons by and large were a race of fierce warriors, who on numerous occasions laid siege in Attica, and were even a threat to Athens. What is certain is that the Amazons were formidable fighters which the Greeks feared, but as to the Amazons being blood thirsty the question still remains.

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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2007, 09:31:46 pm »

Traits of the Amazons

The Amazons were a race of fierce warrior women. Speculation into their lives and the way they lived has been passed down through generations by myths and legends. Whether they were feared or admired, scholars have looked at the Amazons in two ways, as a purely mythological phenomena, or as a mixture of a mythological phenomena with marked archaeological evidence. Only within the past 5 years has archaeological research suggested that the Amazons were not purely a matter of mythology. To understand the Amazons, one must look at them from both view points before formulating a conclusion. The Amazons did exist in a functional mythological context, and recent archaeological evidence has only begun to scratch the surface as to their formal origins.

The Amazons were fierce warrior women. From birth they were brought up to be warriors. Female children in the Amazons tribes were said to have their left breast seared during childhood to facilitate the use of a bow. Their main weapons were the bow, the librys (a double edged axe), and a crescent shaped shield. The Amazons were said to be able to tame and ride horses long before mainland Greece acquired the skill. The ability to ride on horseback gave them an obvious edge in battle and added mobility. Accounts as to the culture and rulership of the Amazons remain sketchy, however some sources say there were two Amazon queens, one who ruled over domestic affairs and one who ruled over battle and warfare. Conquests of the Amazons were throughout Greece, and their legacy of fierceness and triumphs in battle were noted by the Spartan leader Lycurgus as well as many Greeks.

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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2007, 09:32:55 pm »

Were Spartan Women Remnants of the Amazons?

Research concerning the Amazons and Spartan women is at best sketchy, however, it is evidenced by many historians that the Amazons did have some elements and influences in common with Sparta. Spartan women had much more political freedom than within other cities such as Athens. A Spartan woman was expected to be fierce and be able to defend her land. This can be exemplified in the goddess Artemis. The patroness of Sparta and of the Amazons Artemis was the goddess of the wild hunt, protectoress of animals, protector of women, young girls, and youth, with a connection to adolescence and childbirth (The Amazons in later Hellenistic periods were associated with Dionysus the god of wine, as either his allies of his opponents.). Though the worship of Artemis was common through out the Greek world, only in Sparta was a warrior spirit and sense of equality allowed to flourish among the upper-class Spartiate men and women.

Was Sparta influenced by Amazon women? If so what are the differences and similarities between the two cultures? The answer to any of these questions is not entirely clear in that there is a limited amount of information on the Amazons. It is not beyond speculation to say that if the Amazons did exist that they lived largely within a matriarchy (female dominated), rather than in a patriarchy (male dominated) as in Sparta. It is also not unlikely that the Amazons had different ideological concerns than the Spartans. Perhaps the Spartans created their view of women from the stories they heard, or from actual meetings with the Amazons? Or perhaps the law giver Lycurgus, who upon hearing tales of the Amazon battles in the Trojan war, was inspired to raise the status of women, and give them the same brisk upbringing as a Spartan male. It is unlikely that the Spartans simply allowed women the right to own and take over their land if their husbands were away at war, and take a second husband if need be, overnight. Such a right on it's own remains contradictory to the rest of Greece, which did not allow women to own land (and also excluded many other rights as well), or in some cases did not allow them to take a second husband if the first died. It is more than likely that the women of Sparta were allowed to own land in times of war, simply because Sparta feared a revolt from the helots, and required strong women to fend off such an attack. In such a case, the reasoning of Plutarch on the Amazons would seem to fit, that the women fought among the men as near equal.

Did the Spartans originate from the Amazons? No definitive answer can be given, there is a possible influence, but it is unlikely that the two interbred or otherwise, and a limited number of resources leave many questions concerning the Amazons and the Spartans open to interpretation and further research.

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/aegean/amazons/amazonwho.html
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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein
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