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Women's Roles In Ancient Greece

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Ancient Greece derived its roots from the tales of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. It is widely accepted by most historians that Homer's works were fiction based on historical events. Even still, these works helped define Greek culture to what it was. An aspect of every culture is defining the roles of all citizens. All men, women, and children had roles in Greek culture, roles given to certain individuals varied by city-state. One group of individuals to concentrate on is women. The role and rights of women have been debated for centuries. Two city-states in Greek society, Athens and Sparta, offer a glimpse into two ancient cultures in which the role of women was vastly different.
Athens and Sparta were two city-states in Ancient Greece. A city-state
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There were certain, "women's quarters" were most of their time was spent. If a woman did need to venture outside, a male guardian was needed. It was common practice that wives would not even eat meals with her husband. Marriages in Athens were arranged by a male relative of the woman. Women were generally wed in their teens to a man in his mid-twenties to early thirties. A wife's role in Athens was to manage domestic affairs and produce male heirs. Our learning module stated, "the ideal Athenian woman was silent, obedient, good at sewing, and had almost permanent seclusion indoors." (Section 7). An accurate current comparison would be to compare Athenian women to women of Islamic countries (Hess 2014).
The role of women in Sparta was vastly different than their Athenian counterpart. Spartan women generally had more freedoms than Athenian women. Spartan women were required to be educated. They also were not separated from the male population as Athenian women were. Spartan women actually had very active lifestyles. As their central role was to produce warrior sons, Spartans believed the woman should have a strong body to handle the child. Due to this, women often competed in sporting events such as running, wrestling, discus, and chariot
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In Athens, arts were practiced with what seems to be little restriction. Athenians could practice such arts as crafting, wood working, or painting at their discretion. Sparta functioned quite differently. In Sparta, a Spartan reformer named Lycurgus enacted laws that banned the practice of needless arts. Insisting that Spartans should instead focus and improve the arts that are vital to flourishing. These would be making "bedsteads, chairs, and tables, and such like staple utensils in a family" (Plutarch). After this Spartans produced works used in daily life at a higher caliber. A Greek historian by the name of Plutarch described how Spartans produced simple items such as cups with great design. Soldiers greatly enjoyed the cups made in Sparta, the cups were designed in a way that the drinker would get the purest drinking water while dirt and mud would get stuck to the sides of the cup. This is just one example of how the culture of the city-state shaped even how women practiced the arts they spent their day

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