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Women In Ancient Greece: A Comparison Between Athenian and Spartan Women

Exhibit Artifact List
Eastern Section of the Parthenon Frieze: Slab
Attic Red Figure Chous
Attic Red Figure Pyxis
Attic Red Figure, Hydra
Spartan Woman Running
Text: the politics of Aristotle
Text: Euphiletus: A Husband Speaks In his Own Defense
Text: Sophocles, Tereus
Exhibit Primary Text List
Exhibit Design

During the late Golden Age and Early Classical age of Ancient Greece, from 520- 323 BCE women’s rolls varied significantly between the two main Greek city states Athens and Sparta. The role of women displayed a large difference in the way women were portrayed in their society. Both cultures were different in many ways, the males and females were raised very differently and they had different duties to perform. For example adultery by Spartan women was tolerated and encouraged in their society on the other hand however adultery by Athenian women was out of the question and would have many sever consequences. Compared to the Spartan women Athenian women were considered unimportant in many ways. Athenian women were classified in three different classes. The classes were as follows the lowest classes which were the slaves, the citizen class and finally the Hetaerae. On the other hand Spartan women were taught reading and writing, they were also expected to protect themselves. Spartan women were different from other Greek women. Spartan women were depicted as warriors because of their responsibilities of owning and protecting their property.


Historically speaking this topic is important to learn about to see that even in the Ancient times when Women were treated differently than they are in modern times. The rights and the treatment of women in Ancient Greece varied from city state to city state.  For example in Ancient Athens a woman was the queen of the domestic realm at not much else, while in Sparta she controlled her relationships as her husband was never there and went about her affairs as she pleased. If her husband was absent for too long she could find a new one, rather than having a new marriage arranged for her by a relative. As where if this were to occur in Athens she would have to move back in with her father. Athenian women and Spartan women lived extremely different lives except when it came to religion. Religion was their only common ground, their lives were completely different and their roles in society were also different. Women in Sparta had a much greater control of their destiny than did their sisters in Athens, while they were treated equally with each other and men in religious rituals that is where the equality ended.

Project History 1001 A Virtual Museum Exhibit.  Noreen Emmanuel, Adam Dewar, & Kerylin Foss.