If you were a woman how would you rather be treated?If you are the relaxed, dependent type, perhaps you would find the life of the typical Athenian woman agreeable. Athenian women spent most of their lives indoors doing mostly domestic activities.But if you are an independent type of lady, who enjoys exercise, not overly modest, and do not mind sharing your bed with more than one man, then you would probably enjoy the life of a Spartan woman.The basic similarity between the lives of the women in these two city-states was that they had the same overall role: bearing strong children.
The soldier-centered state was the most liberal state in regards to the status of women.Women did not go into military training but they were educated in a similar fashion.Their daily life was spent outside doing physical training.The women were required to do physical training just as vigorous as the males of Sparta; contests of running and strength existed for each sex.The motive for these physical activities for the women was so that they would be able to be strong mothers.The state determined if children, male and female, were strong or weak. Weakling children were left in the hills to die of exposure.In Alkmans' Partheneia, the women of Sparta were permitted to exercise nude, which supposedly added to their beauty. The contests were where young men could see were intended to incite men to marry.
The upbringing of an Athenian woman was quite different.Her status in Greek society was just a small step above slaves. At birth an Athenian girl was not expected to learn how to read, write, or even earn an education.Menander commented on the teaching of reading and writing to women, "What a terrible thing to do! Like feeding a vile snake on more poison."They had no legal or political rights.They spent most of their day inside in the women's quarters.Training in household skills was considered the only edu…

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