Spartan Women and the Downfall of the Spartan Empire Analytical Essay by Nicky

Spartan Women and the Downfall of the Spartan Empire
An analysis of Aristotle's argument that the Spartan women were responsible for the collapse of Spartan culture and society.
# 149184 | 1,408 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Nov 29, 2011 in History (Greek and Roman) , Philosophy (Ancient Greek)

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The paper outlines how the Spartan women lived, worked and prospered in ancient Sparta and shows how Aristotle clearly believed that the Spartan women, besides being useless, were outwardly self-centered and greedy and cared only for their own satisfaction and pleasure. The paper asserts that based on the available historical evidence concerning ancient Sparta and its culture and the viewpoints of Aristotle, the Spartan women obviously played a major role in the downfall of the Spartan empire; however, one cannot place all of the blame on this role, for there is certainly a conglomerate of reasons why Sparta failed to survive as a major Greek polis.

From the Paper:

"In addition, Spartan women, unlike their female counterparts in Athens and elsewhere in mainland Greece, could own private land. Daughters probably inherited portions of land and property "equal to one-half of what their brothers inherited" but they received this portion much earlier in their lives through marriage. Thus, more and more land came into the hands of the Spartan women, due to a decline in the male population via losses in war, especially during the Peloponnesian Wars and during the Classical Period.
"Not surprisingly, while their husbands were busy fighting on the battlefield, the Spartan women were in complete control of their households, and as a result, they exercised more power than did women elsewhere in Greece. One other area related to the household was sex. For example, a married woman with a husband who could not father children was allowed by Spartan law to have other lovers, due to "the need to procreate healthy male offspring in the strictly-ordered Spartan society" and for "the production of manpower for the Spartan army," made up entirely of men. By the Classical Period, the on-going problems of producing enough children to keep the Spartan population from shrinking "had grown very acute," so much in fact that men were legally required to marry and bachelors often faced severe fines, public ridicule and even imprisonment."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Fitzhardinge, L.F. The Spartans. London: Constable, 2001.
  • Halsall, Paul. "Ancient History Sourcebook: Aristotle: Spartan Women." 2000. Internet.Accessed June 25, 2009 from
  • Martin, Thomas R. Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times. New Haven,CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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Spartan Women and the Downfall of the Spartan Empire (2011, November 29) Retrieved August 13, 2022, from

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"Spartan Women and the Downfall of the Spartan Empire" 29 November 2011. Web. 13 August. 2022. <>