Marriage in Sparta

Spartan women married later than women in other parts of Greece. This was often not until 18 to 20. Men normally married around the age of 30.

Little concern was given to a families wealth or status for marriage, therefore it is believed that dowries were not given in marriage. It was much more important to marry women that were strong, athletic and suitable for giving birth and raising strong, healthy children.

On the night of a Spartan wedding, the bride would have her hair cut short or shaved as married women were forbidden from having long hair. She would be dressed in a man’s cloak and left in a darkened room. She would then be visited and taken by her husband in the dark. This process is believed to have continued through the marriage for some time.

Husbands did not usually live with their wives. They would live in the barracks, even after marriage and only visit their wives at night.

Spartan women were often wealthy in their own right, therefore they had many more rights than their Athenian counterparts. If necessary they could divorce and remarry without fear of losing their personal wealth.

Husbands would sometimes ‘loan out’ their wives to other men, such as unmarried men who wanted a child for themselves. They would then have relations and the woman would give birth to the other mans child.

 

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