Sparta was a city-state in Ancient Greece from the 7th century BC until the Roman conquest of Greece. Sparta was a state with a rigidly hierarchical society devoted to military training. Sparta possessed the most formidable army in the Greek world, and after achieving notable victories over the Athenian and Persian Empires, regarded itself as the natural protector of Greece. The city-state of Sparta was a collection of villages. Sparta also consisted of two territories around it called Laconia and Messenia. During the 6th and 5th centuries BC, the Spartan system was at its height. Sparta was, above all, a militarist state, and emphasis on military fitness began virtually at birth.
According to some sources, until age twelve, the boys would often not be allowed any clothes and then, only a cloak was provided. For sports, processions, dances and temple services, they were always naked.
Their heads were shaved. The boys would only take a few baths a year and were bedded on the bare ground, without blankets, on top of straws and reeds. They would therefore often rub their bodies with thistles or put thistles in their pallet because the prickling sensation made them feel warmer.
They would need to be fit, and were drilled with running, wrestling, and throwing quoits and javelins. They were also also taught to endure pain and hardship, hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue and lack of sleep.
The young boys would have to go through what was known as the gauntlet. They would have to run around a group of older children, who would flog them continually with whips.
The boys were encouraged to fight amongst themselves in order to determine who was the strongest in the group. They were organized by age into mess halls called Agelai meaning flock or her with the toughest boy set as the leader. The elders who ran the halls would set them upon each other to find out who was the best fighter.
The children would be poorly fed, and told to steal to supplement their rations. However any boy who was caught stealing was severely whipped. It is believed that these punishments were not so much given for the act of stealing, but for getting caught. Spartan boys had little contact with their biological fathers. Instead, a form of institutionalised pederastyclaimed by some ancient historians to have been of a chaste nature, was practiced whereby older warriors would engage a youth in a long-lasting love relationship with a pedagogic purpose.
The boy was expected to request the relationship, which was considered important in passing on knowledge and in maintaining loyalty on the battlefield. When sacrificing to a god before battle, the Spartans sacrificed to the god of love, Eros. The Gymnopaedia was an annual summer festival of military activities and games for Spartan adolescents during which naked youths displayed their athletic and martial skills through the medium of dancing.
The word Gymnopaedia is composed of ?????? gymnos - "naked" and ???? pais - "child". The custom was introduced early in the 7th century BC, concurrently with the introduction of naked athletics, oiling the body for exercise so as to highlight its beauty, and the formalization of pederastic pedagogy.
The festival lasted for several, perhaps ten, days and was celebrated in July in honor of Apollo Pythaeus, Artemis Orthia and Leto. The statues of these deities stood in a part of the Agora, and it was around these statues that the games and dance performances took place.
The laws of Sparta were developed and written by Lycurgus, a legendary lawmaker who, in the 7th century BCE reorganized the political and social structure of the polis, transforming it into a strictly disciplined and collective haveaheartwashoe.com also developed the stringent military academy of the agoge, where Spartan boys were trained from childhood to adulthood Happy April Fool's Day! After an overwhelmingly successful test run in Vancouver last August, Spartan Race has announced that it will now include a Naked Heat in all of its races. On a clear, sunny day, over Spartan's gathered at the top of Mount Seymour to strip down to their birthday suits and race in the first ever Spartan Race Naked Heat Review. When the President's daughter is kidnapped in Spartan , secret agent Commander Robert Scott (Val Kilmer) is called in to haveaheartwashoe.com his charms to frighten or disarm the suspects fall short and he discovers that recovering the lost girl is the least of his troubles with government officials, this lone wolf goes loco in the cocoa
Not surprisingly, there were whippings at the Gymnopaedia too. Youths were flogged until they ble possibly meant as a blood sacrifice to Artemis Orthia. These whippings are also thought to have been a rite of passage for the young men and another event to demonstrate how tough they were.
The season of the Gymnopaedia was one of great merriment, and many strangers visited Sparte in this season. The Gymnopaedia became an important institution for gymnastic and orstic performances, and for the cultivation of the poetic and musical arts at Sparta. At the age of 20, the Spartiate soldier left the Agoge and their Agelai.
He then began his compulsory membership in one of the syssitia or pheiditia dining messes or clubscomposed of about fifteen members each, where he would eat and sleep. Young Spartan men who had completed their training at the agoge with such success that they were marked out as potential future leaders, would be given the opportunity to test their skills and prove themselves worthy of the Spartan military tradition through participation in the crypteia.
This meant they had to survive with no shelter, clothing, or food, armed only with a small knife. They hid during the day and patrolled the helot land in the night like a sort of 'secret police' in search of potential revolts.
Spartan Women: the backbone of Ancient Sparta, Women's History
Once the krypteia was complete, the Spartiates who survived it were given high standing in the army. At the age of 20 the men were also expected to marry. A Spartan wedding was not highly ritualized and consisted of the intended bride being abducted with simulated violence. The bride's head would be shave and she was made to wear male clothing and lie on a straw pallet in the dark while her husband would wait until his friends had gone to sleep before leaving the barracks to do his duty and then returning before they were aware of his absence.
After the wedding night the husband remained living in his barracks and would for many years have no daytime contact with his wifeonly occasional nightly visits for the purpose of procreation. Balorhood was frowned upon in Sparta and balors were the only people who were forbidden to watch the naked processions. At the age of 0, the military service ended, and the Spartiate became a full citizen with the right to vote. He would then also be able to take part in the Apella the assembly of the people and hold public office.
A man was then also allowed to live together with his wife openly and to set up a household. Unusual for the Greek world, Spartan girls would also exercise their bodies by running, wrestling and throwing the discus and the javelin. It was thought that this strength will help women to withstand childbearing and wrestle with labour pains.
The Spartans also believed that fit women gave birth to healthy babies, which made healthy warriors. Albeit their education was not as harsh as the boys and they grew up with more freedom, Spartan girls were not allowed any 'female habits' such as sitting in the shade. It was custom for girls no less than boys to go naked in processions, and to sing and dance nude at festivals, even while men were present and looking on.
Girls and women probably lived with their mother until they were married, but could not live with their husbands for 10 or more years later. Spartan women did no work other than raising children. They enjoyed a status, power and respect that was unknown in the rest of the classical world, as well as the modern world in some respects.
They controlled their own properties, as well as the properties of male relatives who were away with the army. The laws regarding a divorce were the same for both men and women.
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Unlike women in Athens, if a Spartan woman became the heiress of her father because she had no living brothers to inherit, the woman was not required to divorce her current spouse in order to marry her nearest paternal relative.
Spartan women received as much education as men, as well as a substantial amount of physical education and gymnastic training. They rarely got married before the age of 20, and unlike Athenian women who wore heavy, concealing clothes and were rarely seen outside the house, Spartan women wore short dresses and went where they pleased.
When a foreigner said to Gorgo, the wife of king Leonidasher, 'You Spartans are the only women who rule over their men', she replied, 'Because only we are the mothers of men'. The Spartan educational system inspired the founders of the English public schools like Eton and Harrow.
They set out to teach their pupils a code of discipline and devotion to duty, toughening them up with competitive sports, corporal punishments and cold showers.
Adolf Hitler considered Sparta to be the first National Socialist state, and praised its early eugenics treatment of deformed children. The Hitler Youth was in part based on Spartan ideals and methods. Categories : Settings History. Ancient Greek women endured a life of hardship and servitude.
In contrast, the women of Sparta were the exception.
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Unlike the Athenian women, who contained little rights, and who were in complete dominance over by their husbands, Spartan women were controlled and raised by the state. While other Greek women were bound to the household, Spartan women were expected to exercise and be as fit as possible.
Another liberty that was offered to Spartan women was an education.
Depiction of Spartan women freely playing outside with the woman in the foreground holding an instrument showing her interest in music and arts. This may have been a different story for their Greek counterparts. According to Sarah J. Hairstyles distinguished maidens from newly married women, the latter wore their hair short. For the men, it was service in the military, while for Spartan women, it was in staying physically fit and bearing healthy children.
As mentioned prior, the sense of the individual was second to that of the Spartan state. However, with the lack of individualism came the freedom of Spartan women to be somewhat more equal to men than their Greek counterparts. The role of Spartan women was to be healthy, fit, and ready to birth active children for Sparta. Another ct of ensuring the healthiness of their children was to encourage Spartan women in mental and intellectual discussions regarding state politics, laws, reading, writing, and mythology.
It was expected that a Spartan woman should hold her intellectual prowess and whit against any man who challenged her. Spartan women exercised and participated in foot races alongside the Spartan men. Though the women would never be allowed to partake in the agogethe Spartan military school training, which all boys had to enter by the age of 7.
Spartan women were still given a state sanctioned formal education. It was apparent that Spartan women were able to read, write, and allowed to engage in conversation with men. Spartan women were also notorious for intimidating Athenian Greek men with their sharp wit and outspoken opinions about state laws that did not line with Sparta. The courage of the women of Sparta. Their mothers primarily homeschooled Spartan women. Both women and men would then be examined during festival races and ceremonies to promote competitiveness within the youth.
However, the education of women being able to read and write appeared to have been profoundly challenged, forcing it throughout Spartan history to be discontinued and then restarted. It was common for Ancient Greek women to wear corsets, breast supporter bands that functioned very similarly to that of the modern-day bra.
They also wore girdles to keep a feminine feature as well as sustain their gowns. Most Ancient Greek women wore dresses often made from the elaborate textiles that they created. It was considered taboo and unsightly to present any Greek women naked or showing any sign of their figure. However, this was not the case for the portrayal of Spartan women.
According to Hans Licht, author of the Sexual life of Ancient Greecedepictions of Spartan women on ancient vases revealed them to be mostly naked except for a short Chiton short dresswhich contained a slit by the side revealing much of their legs.
Due to the rigorous amounts of bodily exercise, it becomes very apparent to why this is. Statue of woman wearing a short chiton, to show what Spartan women may have looked like. The psychology of the totalitarian Spartan state was that healthy women who were just as fit as men would be able to bear healthy children.
Unlike Spartan men, women were given more food and provisions to make sure Spartan women had the best nutrition to ensure this fact. Spartan women and men were made for walking around almost naked, able to fight, and open for both men and women to dance and socialize only during times of festivals. However, the fact remains that the limited moments of freedom shared by women were often overshadowed by the oppressive draconian laws that proceeded.
Men still lived separately from the women in barracks until their thirty-year term of service was over. Both men and women still had to meet up in secret to copulate and enjoy their time as man and wife, or else be ridiculed and severely punished.
Young Spartan women and men exercise alongside each other. Throughout most of history, marriages were primarily contractual. The marriage between a Spartan man and woman was no different.
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However, the Spartans contained certain cts that were unique to their own culture. The average age for a Spartan woman to be married was at 18, normally to a year-old Spartan male. While this may appear to be quite an age difference, this was very different from what was seen in Athens.
In Athens, the average woman was married off at 14 to men who were well into their 0s. Pomeroy also notes that for Spartan men who could not marry by their thirties were severely punished for being useless to society. Due to the thirty-year commitment male Spartan citizens made, marriages were then brief, and newlywed couples were still separated except for certain times of the year when they could be together.
Sarah J. The cultural Spartan marriage customs were often selected at random with men and women left alone in a dark room. The marriage trials would be kept secret, and if the copulation proved infertile for the brides, the couples would be rearranged with other partners.
If the marriage was successful, it was customary for the bride to cut her hair short, dress herself in a Spartan man's tunic. Over a period of a few days, the bridegroom would sneak away from his barracks to be intimate with his newlywed wife and then retreat before anyone would find out. If he were caught, he would be punished for leaving the barracks. Though bizarre by the standards of modern-day, as well as for the rules of Athens, this method was somewhat successful for continuing the population and for limiting emotional attachment to family members at a minimum.
Spartans were a warrior culture who hated weakness and did their best in both the personal and social cts to rid of all vulnerability. This was not limited to marriage and intimate love. Depiction of a Spartan warrior before battle in the sunset.
The role of Spartan land ownership has been historically controversial due to how much control Spartan citizens had over their land. Whiver the case, when men were at war, and there were no male heirs, Spartan women were made holders of a portion of the property until they were re-married or had given birth to a male heir. The issues with inheritance can also be referenced and even challenged by the works of Aristotle in the fourth century BC to which he blamed the failures of Greece to the immense rights, wealth, and influence Spartan women had over the state, property, and government.
Yet, it does seem to be the case that Spartan daughters received as dowries one-half the contrast, compared to the one-sixth that Athenian daughters inherited. Whether the state wholly owned the land, or not, what was most apparent was that Spartan women were the rulers of the household due to the way the Spartan culture was designed.
Men spent most of their lives in the agoge, then the barracks, and then at war. If they were lucky and lived long enough to retire at the age of 40, they'd return to the home, which was controlled by their wife or surviving family members. Depiction of Spartan woman giving a shield to one of her sons before he goes to war, while looking after her other children.
The role of Spartan men was to serve in the military; the role of the Spartan women was to remain healthy and plentiful in producing offspring. This one soul responsibility put Spartan women above the typical labors which other women of Greece would endure, such as participating in the creation of the textile industry.
Most Spartan women did not sow clothing but made sure to manage their helot servants and slave girls to produce textile and cloth goods for the household and marketplace. They would also take the role of supreme governances of their homes.
Since most married Spartan women were mostly alone, while all the men were either in training, in barracks, or away at war, Spartan women were bestowed with the ability to earn income in the form of public and state-sanctioned land and property. In particular, to manage the allotment of land and gain some profit from a percentage from managing the agriculture output by way of servants and slaves.
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Over time leading to the Hellenistic Perio many Spartan women were able to accumulate much wealth from their abilities to manage the land and property that were endowed to them. However, actual coin currency was forbidden by the state government in fear that it would promote idol warship among individuals who would turn their attention to the self rather than the state.
Regardless, the utilization and acquisition of land was a form of wealth that was approved by the Spartans. Men, women and children in Sparta were taught that their first duty was to their state. The Spartan woman thought that the greatest honor was for her sons or husband to die fighting for their state.
It is ironic to think that a city-state dedicated to the eradication of individuality would be a state which promoted equality and freedom to their women. However, that soon changed. Though women were held with high esteem and were rigorous in governing households and accumulating land wealth, the growing opinions of women became far more cynical, especially as the male population began to dwindle.
This was due to the tragic loss Sparta had endured at Leuctra in BC, followed by several helot revolts. Due to the weakening of the state due to these significant wars and uprisings, the male population suffered immensely.
However, rather than blame the wars and policies of Sparta, which led to these disasters, many Spartans took to blaming women for Sparta's failings.
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As with the issue of women owning property, Aristotle also criticized women having education and power just as adamantly. Aristotle blamed Spartan women for being the sole reason for the faults of Spartan civilization due to freedom, energy, education, and prestige. Though passionate and harsh in his judgment, Aristotle's beliefs might have been quite influential. By the time the Hellenistic Period had begun, Spartan women were forbidden to be given an education.
Though in later years, Spartan kings, such as Cleomenes III, would fight to restore the right for women to be educated, only to have it falter out of favor again until the Roman period. Top image: Spartan woman in foreground with her warrior husband in the background. Barber, Elizabeth Wayland.
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