Throughout The Past Few Decades, Feminism Has Made A Significant

1765 Words Mar 22nd, 2017 8 Pages
Throughout the past few decades, feminism has made a significant rise in many societies. Described as the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, it has been deemed a controversial topic. However, many people do not know that this idea has been around for thousands of years. During the Archaic Period of Ancient Greece, the polis of Sparta took a huge step in that direction. With the conquest of Messenia in the 8th century BC, Spartan women obtained rights unheard of in the rest of Greece. They became in some ways equal to the men around them. Due to the installation of a full-time army, the improvement of their agricultural systems and their abundant supply of servile labour, the role of women in society became essential to …show more content…
Lastly, these captives “provided an abundant supple of servile labour to perform household duties.” Due to this, the household duties of women declined, since they had servants to perform this work.
In response to these factors, Sparta re-wrote its constitution. This allowed women certain rights and privileges and was made in the collective interest of the men. The freedom they allotted to the women allowed the men to be absent for military services without having to worry about the management their households. The rights they granted to the Spartan women included, but were not limited to, land inheritance and management, public education, and the complete freedom of movement. However, women were never granted any political rights.
Unlike anywhere else in Ancient Greece, Spartan daughters retained the right to inherit their entire family land when they had no living brothers. Had they had any brothers, they would share the estate, albite receiving a smaller portion. Fisher (1998, p. 197) writes, “In all Greek states, land remained the economic asset that carried the greatest value and status in terms of political, social, and symbolic power.” Spartans were the only women to receive such status in full. The only other place where women held some sort of land was in Gortyn, on the isle of Crete. While they could inherit land, the women of Gortyn were required to marry her closest male paternal relative in order to obtain it, or they had to surrender half to him in
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