In SpartaSociety every class from helots to Spartiates were required to fulfil a veryvital role in securing the warrior state that was Sparta its complete Militarydomance over the other surrounding Greek states and all the potential invadersconsidering invading Greece. This statement did not exclude Spartiate women.Spartiate women were tasked with creating healthy, Strong and Superior warriorsto keep Sparta’s Military Supremacy dominate. Besides this very Stereotypicalrole that was tasked to all Spartiate women they often held a major role inmanaging estates, economics and religious festivals within the Spartan Society.
Archaeological evidence discovered from ‘Artemis Orthia like the ‘Statue of ayoung female athlete’ has supported the believed sterotype of that of Spartiatewomen as being highly active and visible members of the state compared to theirAthenian and other Greek states counterparts.Sparta wasoften held in often high regards for the very advanced education system calledthe ‘Agoge’. This was not held to Male Spartiate Males only, Spartiate Womenwere often given the same education and some extra specialized education toallow them to be prepared for motherhood, manage ‘Kleroi’ (state owned propertygiven to male Spartiates) and patriciate in most Religious festivals. Younggirls learned there basic literacyskills while they remained in the care of their mothers at home, these practiceof mental enhancing were reinforced with choral singing, when they were taughtto perform in sing and dance. These Song and dancers were often myths withstrung tighter with strong military story of heroes in battle and Gods. We haverecordings from and ancient poet and composer named ‘Alcman’ who created an assortment of songs called ‘Partheniai’.
Spartiate Women were also required to exercise sometimes even with the boys toincrease their physical nature. This often boosted moral within the populationand it also encouraged equality and competitiveness between the 2 genders. The ‘statueof the young female athlete’ reinforces this statement that Spartan women wereoften very fit and it was very common to see them doing exercise. Spartiatewomen were required to exercise and do these educational courses to improve thepossibility of producing a healthy, fit, intelligent male offspring that wouldone day be able to fight for Sparta.
Spartiate Women during theirAdult life were not allowed to create clothing like many other women classes inGreece; these tasks were given to helots the slave population of Sparta.Instead a major responsibility given to the Female Spartiates were overseeingthere ‘Kleroi’ while their Warriorhusbands were away training or fighting in a war. ‘Xenophon’ informs us thatSpartiate women did commonly own and manage ‘Kleroi’ without male guardians.This is also reinforced by Aristotle “Spartans tin the day of their greatnessmany things were managed by their woman… And nearly two-fifths of the wholeSpartan Country side was held by women”.
Not only this but Spartiate males verydependent on their wife’s to effectively pay their debts to the ‘Syssition’ and the government. Besidesall of this their very most important role within the Society was to becomemothers of warriors. Xenophon explains “for free woman the most important jobwas to bear children”. After a Spartiate Woman hasgiven birth to a child if the baby survives the examination by ‘The Council ofelders’ the child is given back to the mother where she would give fullsupervision of the child for the first seven years. While under the supervisionof their mother the child is introduced to physical training and also taughtthem to be tough and resilient by refusing to nurture them as babies. Themother also ingrained into them that performing at the Apex of their abilitywas the only option in life. With that they would also raise the child toconform around the laws and be loyal to Sparta. Spartan mothers provided theSpartan state with a very vital step in the development stage and preparationfor the ‘Agoge’ for their formalmilitary training.
A very Famous Spartan quote was Before a Spartiate male leftbefore battle his mother handed his shield to him and said “Son, either withthis or on this.” This tells us that the dream of a lot of Spartan mothers wasthat her son would be a hero, but a hero only returned dead or victorious. These written sourcesand physical evidence including the ‘statueof a young female athlete’ has given us a small insight into the roles thatwomen played within the Spartan Society. With the little information we havegathered it has given us the opportunity to be able to understand the influencethe female spartiate population had on the Society.