The helots were serfs that consisted of people that were overtaken by Spartans military victories. These people had to give half their profits to the Spartan citizens that owned the lands they lived in. (History.com Spartans) The male and female roles of Sparta were vastly different compared to Athens. Male Spartans lived their lives trying to be the strongest warrior. Being a warrior was an honor and every Spartan man wanted to fight for Sparta.
A Spartan's life was centered on the state, because they lived and died to serve the state. Although the competing city-states of Sparta and Athens were individually different as well as governmentally diverse, they both managed to become dominating powers in Ancient Greece. The political power of Athens is based on economic power. Democracy is based on middle class economic power. In slow evolution towards democracy, as their trade increased, Athenian craftsmen and merchants had enough money to purchase their own weapons.
The Spartan King ruled supremacy over his one hundred Spartan bodyguards. In fact, being part of the Kings squad held great honor and meant that they were as what they would call a true Spartan. During a war, only one of the kings went into battle while the other stayed in Sparta. This is evidently told by Herodotus as he states that this ‘conflict between Kings Cleomenes and Demaratus is what finalized this decision in a time around 507 BC. Following on, the King would generalize and plan out military campaigns.
However the Spartan men would start their training at the age of seven and they were thought to be tough and self sufficient. The life in Sparta wasn't simple but others envied them for their straight forwardness and fanatical dedication. The law in Sparta that prohibited all foreign trade and foreign travelling kept ideas from coming in and they had surprises when it came to attacks. Spartan women had the freedom of rights except they could not vote. They were not forced to do the things Athenian women did.
Spartan Women According to feminist Simon de Beauvoir author of The Second Sex “More than any other Greek women, Spartans have been subject of praise or blame from antiquity to present.” . The women of Sparta have a vital role within Sparta society as they were responsible for producing healthy babies as well as partaking in the running of the economy. They differ greatly from their Greek counterparts in that not only do they have an education which enables them to participate on Spartan society but they can own land and partake in sports and ceremonies. Unlike their other Greek counterparts Spartan women received a thorough education and harsh upbringing so they could play a greater role in Spartan society. Spartans were they only Greek society that prescribed a public education for girls.
This dominance led to the helots (original inhabitants of Laconia) becoming agricultural slaves. While these Spartan warriors (hoplite) were training or at war, the helots were looking after their land, allowing the Spartiates to keep their monthly contributions to the syssitia. The power given to the Spartiates proves that their importance in society was extreme as they didn’t participate in daily activities. Having total control over the helots, keeping them under constant surveillance incase of revolt outlines their superiority. ‘Worked for individual Spartiates on their estates….Spartans believed themselves to be superior’ (Antiquity 2, Chapter 3).
GENDER: SPARTA Masculinity as an ideal in the Greek ancient city of Sparta was exclusively based upon boys growing up to be strong, obedient, and loyal warriors because Sparta was a warrior society. In the film documentary entitled The Spartans, Narrator Bettany Hughes explains how the boys of Sparta reached these lofty goals. She states that when boys reached the age of seven, they began agoge, a term meaning a type of military training, that the city-state
If they weren't merchant class workers who peddled their wares at the Agora, any goods they required would be bought there. Sparta on the other hand, was not as lucky. Though they had large amounts of fertile land they could use for both trade as well as to feed themselves with, their population was too large to be sustained on agriculture alone. Therefore, they had to rely on the conquest and enslaving of bordering nations, in order to grow their society, as well as to simply survive. Though all of these differences contributed to the idealogical barrier between both Athens and Sparta, none were more dividing than the Social practices that ruled their everyday society, as well as the ideologies of their people.
Spartans on the other hand were completely different from the Athenians. Spartan government evaluated the newborn babies to tell if they were strong enough to be in the Spartan society. If found not fit the babies were put on a hill and left to die from exposure. Though this practice was not only done in Spartan civilization the Spartans are known for finding the littlest flaw in a baby to put them on the hill. When the young boys grew to be about age six or seven they were sent to a military school where they were taught the different strategies of war.
There were many poleis during the 5th century in Greece, but there were only two of which were the main dominant powers: democratic Athens and the military oligarchy of Sparta. Greek culture achieved prominence through these two poleis. Athens and Sparta desired to be a strong nation and achieved that through very different ways of life. The Spartans’ focus was directed towards the military, while the Athenians were more interested in their wellbeing and culture. The US constitution can be compared to government models of Athens and Sparta.