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ually. If they wandered far from the usual | nature, who is reserved when reserve is baunts of their fellow-citizens, strangers proper, and speaks when a true impulse might fall upon them and carry them off moves her, who is guileless, graceful, lealinto slavery. Such incidents were not hearted, and tender. Happily I have not uncommon. But apart from this danger, here to exhibit her character, for to do any. they might roam unrestricted. They were thing but quote the exact words of Homer pot confined to any particular chamber. would be inevitably to mar its beauty; but They had their own rooms, just as the men I have to adduce some of those traits had theirs; but they issued forth from which show how the Homeric girls grew. these, and sat down in the common cham- Nausicaa is approaching the time when she ber, when there was anything worth seeing ought to be married, and in preparation for or hearing. Especially they gathered this event would like to have all her clothes round the bard who related the deeds of clean and in nice condition. She goes to famous heroes or the histories of famous her father, and tells him that she wishes to women. They also frequented the wide wash his clothes and the clothes of her dancing-place which every town possessed, brothers, that he may be well clad in the and with their brothers and friends joined senate, and they may go neat to the dance. in the dance. Homer pictures the young The father at once perceives what desire men and the maidens pressing the vines the daughter cherishes in her heart, and together. They mingled together at mar- permission is granted, the mules are yoked riage feasts and at religious festivals. In to the car, the clothes are collected, and the fact, there was free and easy intercourse princess mounts the seat, whip in hand, and between the sexes. They thus came to drives off with a number of maid attendknow each other well, and as the daughters ants. They reach the river where are the were greatly beloved by their fathers, we washing-trenches. The clothes are handcannot doubt that their parents would con- ed out of the car, the mules are sent to sult them as to the men whom they might feed on the grass, and princess and maids wish for husbands. Even after marriage wash away at the clothes, treading them they continued to have the same liberty. with their feet in the trenches. They then Helen appears on the battlements of Troy, lay out the clothes to dry. While the watching the conflict, accompanied only by clothes are drying, they first picnic by the female attendants. And Arete, as we have side of the river, and then, to amuse themseen, mixed freely with all classes of Phæ- selves, engage in a game at ball, accompaacians.
nied with singing. This is a day with Along with this freedom, and partly in Homeric girls. They can do everything consequence of it, there appears to have that is necessary - drive, wash, spin, and been an exceedingly fine development of sew. No domestic work comes amiss to the body. The education of both boys and one and all. And they are much in the girls consisted in listening to their elders, open air. They thus all find active emin attending the chants of the bards, and ployment. Time never hangs heavy on in dancing at the public dancing-place of their hands. And the strength and freshthe town. There was no great strain on ness of body produce a sweetness of temtheir intellectual powers. There was no per and a soundness of mind which act like forcing. And they were continually in the a charm on all the men who have to do
All the men learned the art of with them. It seems to me that this exwar and of agriculture, and all the women plains to some extent the phenomena of to do household work. The women made the Homeric poems. There is no vicious all the clothes which their relatives wore, woman in the Iliad or Odyssey. Some of and were skilled in the art of embroidery. them have committed glaring violations of But they not merely made the clothes, but the ordinary rules of life, but they are regularly washed them, and saw that their merely temporary aberrations or fits of friends were always nicely and beautifully madness. And there is no prostitution. clad. These occupations did not fall to the This healthiness explains also another featlot of menials merely. The highest lady ure of the Homeric women which deserves in the land had ber share of them, and none notice. There was an extraordinary numwas better at plying the loom and the dis- ber of very beautiful women. The district taff than the beautiful Helen. We have of Thessaly, from which the whole of in the sixth book of the Odyssey a charm- Greece ultimately derived its own name of ing picture of a young princess, Nausicaa. Hellas, is characterized by the epithet the Nowhere are portrayed more exquisitely land of the beautiful women; and several the thoughts and feelings and ways of a other places are so characterized. But Foung girl who is true to her own best their type of beauty was not the type prev
alent in modern times. Health was the probable that we should not have learned first condition of beauty. The beautiful much more than we learn from the histo
was well-proportioned in every ries of the two most prominent of those feature and limb. It was the grace and States, Sparta and Athens. It is to the harmony of every part that constituted position and influence of women in these beauty. Hence height was regarded as an States that we must turn our attention. essential requisite. Helen is taller than To form anything like a just conception all her companions. The commanding of the Spartan State, we must keep clearly stature impressed the Greeks as being a in view the notion which the ancients gennear approach to the august forms of the erally and the Spartans in particular had of goddesses. As one might expect, the a State. The ancients were strongly imbeauty of the women is not confined to pressed with the decay and mortality of the the young girl between the ages of seven-individual man; but they felt equally teen and twenty. A Homeric woman re- strongly the perpetuity of the race through mained beautiful for a generation or two. the succession of one generation after Helen was, in the eye of the Greek, as another. Accordingly when a State was beautiful at forty or fifty as she was at formed, the most prominent idea that pertwenty, and probably as attractive, if not vaded all legislation was the permanence
The Homeric Greek admired of the State, and the continuance of the the full-developed woman as much as the worship of the gods. They paid little growing girl.
regard to individual wishes. They thought Such then were these Homeric Greek little of individual freedom. The individ. women. The Greek race was the finest ual was for the State, not the State for the race that ever existed in respect of phys- individual, and accordingly all private and ical development and intellectual power. personal considerations must be sacrificed Do we not see, in the account that Homer without hesitation to the strength and pergives of the women, something like an ex- manence of the State. A peculiar turn planation of the phenomenon ?. A race of was given to this idea in Sparta. From the healthy, finely-formed women is the natu- circumstances in which the Spartans were ral antecedent to a race of men possessed placed, they had to make up their minds to of a high physical and intellectual organi- be a race of soldiers. They had numerous zation.
slaves in their possession to do everything When we pass from Homer, we enter a requisite for procuring the necessaries of new region. We do not know how far life. They therefore had no call to labor. Homer's characters are historical. We But if they were to retain their slaves and cannot doubt that the manners and ways of keep their property against all comers, they the men and women whom he describes must be men of strong bodily configuration, were like those of the real men and women hardy, daring, resolute. And as women amongst whom he lived. He may have were a necessary part of the State, they idealized a little, but even his idealizations must contribute to this result. are indicative of the current of his age. lations made for this purpose are assigned But we know little of the modes in which by the ancients to Lycurgus, but whether the various States of Greece were consti- he was a real person, or how far our intuted, and of the relations which subsisted formation in regard to him is to be trusted, between them. We have to pass over a is a matter of no consequence to us at long period which is a practical blank, and present; for there can be no doubt that his then we come to historical Greece. In laws were in force during the best period of historical Greece we have no unity of the Sparta's existence. And the laws bear on Greek nation. We have men of Greek their front the purpose for which they blood, but these men did not dream of were made. All the legislation that relate's forming themselves into one nation, ruled to women has one sole object, to procure by the same laivs, and mutually helpful of a first-rate breed of men. The one funceach other. The Greek mind regarded the tion which woman had to discharge was city as the greatest political organization that of motherhood. But this function was possible, or at any rate compatible with the conceived in the widest range in which the adequate discharge of the functions of a Spartans conceived humanity. In fact no State. And accordingly if we could give a woman can discharge effectively any one full account of woman in Greece, we should of the great functions assigned her by have to detail the arrangements made in nature, without the entire cultivation of each particular State. There are no mate- all parts of her nature. And so we see in rials for such an account if we wished to this case. The Spartans wanted strong give it; but even if there had been, it is Imen: the mothers therefore must be
strong. The Spartans wanted brave men: vived this first inspection, she had, as we the mothers therefore must be brave. The have seen, her trials to go through, and only Spartans wanted resolute men men with the strong could outlive the gymnastic exdecision of character: the mothers must ercises and the exposure of their persons be resolute. They believed with intense in all weathers during religious procesfaith, that as are the mothers, so will be sions, sacred dances, and physical contests. the children. And they acted on this faith. The age of marriage was also fixed, special They first devoted all the attention and care being taken that the Spartan girls care they could to the physical training of should not marry too soon. In all these their women. From their earliest days the regulations the women were not treated women engaged in gymnastic exercises; more strictly than the men. The men also and when they reached the age of girlhood, were practically compelled to marry. The they entered into contests with each other man who ventured on remaining bachein wrestling, racing, and throwing the quoit lor was punished in various ways. If a and javelin. They engaged in similar con- man did not marry on reaching a certain tests with the young men, stripping like age, he was forbidden to be present at the them before assembled multitudes, and exercises of the young girls. The whole showing what feats of strength and agility set of them were taken one wintry day in they could perform. In this way the whole each year, and, stripped of their clothing, body of citizens would come to know a went round the agora singing a song that girl's powers; there could be no conceal- told how disgraceful their conduct was in ment of disease; no sickly girl could pass disobeying the laws of their country — a herself off as healthy. But it was not only spectacle to gods and men. The women for the physical strength, but for the mental also, at a certain festival, dragged these tone, that the girls had to go through this misguided individuals round an altar inphysical exercise. The girls mingled freely ficting blows on them all the time.* Men with the young men. They came to know were punished even for marrying too late, each other well
. Long before the time of, or for marrying women disproportionately marriage they had formed attachments and young or old. knew each other's characters. And in the Such was the Spartan system. What games of the young men nothing inspirited were the results of it? For about four or ihem so much as the praise of the girls, and five hundred years there was a succession nothing was so terrible as the shouts of of the strongest men that possibly ever derision which greeted their failures. The existed on the face of the earth. The same influence made itself felt when they legislator was successful in his main aim. fought in battle. The thought that, when And I think that I may add that these they came home, they would be rapturously men were among the bravest. They cer. welcomed by mother and sister, nerved tainly held the supremacy in Greece for a many an arm in the hour of danger. All considerable time through sheer force of the training anterior to marriage was de energy, bravery, and obedience to law. liberately contrived to fit the Spartan wom- And the women helped to this high posien to bé mothers. And it is needless to tion as much as the men. They were say that all the arrangements in connection themselves remarkable for vigor of body with marriage were made solely for the and beauty of form. A curious illustration good of the State. All the Spartan girls of this fact occurs in one of the plays of had to marry. No one ever thought of not Aristophanes. An Athenian lady resolves. marrying. There was one exception to to put an end to the war between the this. No sickly woman was allowed to Athenians and Lacedæmonians by commarry. The offspring must be healthy. bined action on the part of the wives from And indeed, if she had had to consult her all parts of Greece. She has summoned a own feelings in Sparta, the sickly girl would meeting of them, and as Lampito the of her own accord have refrained from inar- Lacedæmonian wife comes in, she thus riage. For the State claimed a right over accosts her, “O dearest Spartan, O Lamall the children. They were all brought pito, welcome! How beautiful you look, very soon after birth before a committee sweetest one, how fresh your complexion, appointed by government, which examined how vigorous your body. You could throt. into the form and probable healthiness of tle an ox." Yes,” says she, “ I think I the child, and if the committee came to the could, by Castor and Pollux, for I practice conclusion that the child was not likely to gymnastics and leap high.” | They were be strong its death was determined on. But there must have been very few sickly
Ath. xüi., p. 555. women among the Spartans. If a girl sur.
+ Lysist. 78. LIVING AGE. VOL. XXVI, 1308
not, however, merely strong in body, but weak man might lend his wife to a strong took a deep interest in all matters that er, and some women had two husbands. concerned the State. They sunk every- There is only one case on record of a thing, even maternal feeling, in their care Spartan having two wives, and the case for the community. Many stories and was singular. A greater latitude must sayings to this effect have been preserved. have been allowed to women. But all A Spartan mother sent her five sons to these cases must have been quite excepwar, and, knowing that a battle had taken tional. The wives were true to their hus. place, she waited for the news on the out- bands, the husbands fond and proud of skirts of the city. Some one came up to their wives. A poor maiden was asked her and told her that all her sons had what dowry she could give to her lover. perished. “ You vile slave,” said she, “ Ancestral purity,” she said. A person as that is not what I wanted to know; I was sent to try to persuade a Lacedæwant to know how fares my country.”; monian womon to aid in some evil prac“ Victorious,” said he. • Willingly then,” tice. “When I was a girl," she said, “ I said she, “ do I hear of the death of my was taught to obey my father, and I obeyed sons.”
him; and when I became a wife I obeyed Another, when burying her son, was my husband; if, therefore, you have anycommiserated by an old woman who cried thing just to urge, make it known to him out, Oh, your fate !” “Yes, by the first." gods,” said she, a glorious sate, for did Such were these Spartan women for not í bear him that he might die for many generations. No word of reproach Sparta ?”
can be brought against them. It is true And their courage was not merely of a that the free intercourse of the young men daring and physical character. It was a with the young women and the slightness moral courage. A Spartan had been of the female garments shocked the ordiwounded in battle and compelled to crawl nary Athenian, and expressions to this on all fours; he seemed to feel ashamed effect occur in some writers, especially of the awkwardness of his position. " How Euripides.* But the general purity of the much better it is,” said his mother, “to Spartan women is guaranteed by all the rejoice on account of bravery, than be principal writers who have discussed the ashamed on account of ignorant laughter !" constitution of Sparta as it was during its
It might be supposed that the peculiar supremacy — by Plato,f Xenophon, and training to which the women were sub- Plutarch. No doubt the system labored jected might 'make them licentious and under a radical defect. It was exclusive. forward, but the testimony is strong that It drove away all strangers ; it discouraged no such results followed from free inter- the higher culture at least in the case of course with the young men. Adultery was the men; and it suspected all the higher almost entirely unknown.
arts as tending to luxury. And when the Plutarch tells the story that a stranger crisis came and the old manners gave way, asked Geradas, one of the very old Spar: vice and weakness rushed in, and men and tans, what punishment their law appointed women became equally bad. It is in the for adulterers. He answered, “O stranger, latter period that the words of blame are there is no adulterer in our country.'
;" heard. Plato justly criticises one marked The stranger said, “What if there should defect in the Spartan treatment of women. be one ? “He pays a fine," said Gera- The lawgiver had looked on woman only as das, “ of a bull so large that stooping over Taygetus it will drink out of the Eurotas."
* Especially in his “Andromache," but, as Paley When the stranger expressed his surprise remarks, this play is animated throughout by a bitter and said, “ But how could there ever be so hostility to Sparta, and it may therefore be regarded as
an expression merely of a strong temporary feeling. large a bull?” Geradas replied with a † Plato shows his approbation by adopting the ques. smile, “ And how could there ever be an
tionable features into his own ideal commonwealth. adulterer in Sparta ?" This language is strip, having virtue for their robe.
“Then," he says, "let the wives of our guardians
... And as for the perhaps too strong, and there were certain man who laughs at naked women exercising in gympractices allowable which would not be nastics for the sake of the highest good, his laughter is allowed in our communities.
"A fruit of unripe wisdom,' object of marriage was to produce strong which he gathers, and he himself is ignorant of what he children, and any deviation from the ordi- is laughing at, of what he is about; for that is, and
ever will be, the best of sayings - that the useful is the nary arrangement by which one woman noble, and the hurtful the base.''- Rep. v., p. 457, was married to one man was not only sections to the Spartan method in Legg. i., p. 637 C::
Professor Jowett's translation. Plato discusses the obdeemed legitimate but praiseworthy if it vi., p. 781 A. ; vii., p. 806 C. ; p. 814 A. ; and tacitly in secured strong children. In this way a Rep. viii., p. 548.
a mother. He had lost sight of every other final struggle. In the middle of the third function. But women cannot spend their
in succession dreamt of putting down the whole lives as mothers. When their in. 7: Century before Christ two kings of Sparta fants grew into boyhood they were luxury, and restoring the old Spartan dishanded over to the instruction of Spartan cipline and the old Lycurgan laws. And
And then what function had the in the midst of their vigorous and heroic women to discharge ? Lycurgus, or the efforts to effect this great change women Spartan lawgivers, took no ught of this. again play heir part with energy and devoThe men were under strict regulation to tion. The earliest of the two kings was the end of their days. They dined to the young and gentle Agis, and almost the gether on the fare prescribed by the State. first person whom he consulted on his proThey were continually out on military ser-jected reforms was his mother Agesisvice. They had other employments as- trata, a woman of great wealth and insigned to them. But no regulations were Auence. She was at first utterly taken made for the women. They might live aback, for the project included the surrenas they liked; there was nothing to re- der of all her wealth. But at length she strain their luxury, and they were not admired her son's noble ambition, and set taught the military art like the men. This her mind, with the aid of some other likeneglect of the half of the city, Aristotle minded women, on procuring the support affirms, was followed by dire conse- of the women of Sparta. The importance quences. In his day the Spartan women of such support could not be over-estiwere incorrigible and luxurious. He also mated. “ They well knew,” says Plutarch, affirms that the Spartan system threw a " that the Lacedæmonian men were always great deal of land into the hands of the obedient to their wives, and that they women, so that they possessed two-fifths allowed them to meddle in public matters of it; and finally he accuses the Spartan more than they allowed themselves to medwomen of ruling their husbands. Warlike dle in private affairs.” Besides the women men, he thinks, are apt to be passionately had a great deal of property. Would they fond of the society of women, “ And surrender their wealth? Would they give wbat difference,” he says,* “does it make up their luxurious habits ? Would they rewhether the women rule or the rulers are turn to the old Spartan simplicity? No, ruled by the women? for the result is the movement seemed to have come too the same." There seems to have been late. Some were willing to sacrifice everysome truth in this last accusation. Many thing, but others would yield nothing, and a of the wives were better educated than strong party was formed against Agis. their husbands, and the fact was noticed At first this party was put down with a by others. “ You of Lacedæmon,” said a high hand. Leonidas, the leader, was stranger lady to Gorgo, wife of Leonidas, driven into exile. The daughter of this “are the only women in the world that man, Chelonis, is one of the great characrule the men. “We," she replied, are ters that emerged during these troublous the only women that bring forth men. times. She had been married to CleomThere is a great deal of point in what brotus, who took the side of Agis. CheGorgo said. "If women bring forth and lonis was in straits what to do, but she rear men, they are certain to receive from chose to follow the path where gentleness them respect and tenderness, for there is and tenderness were required. She left no surer test of a man's real manhood her husband and tended her father in disthan his love for all that is noblest, high- tress, relieving his wants, soothing his est, and truest in woman, and his desire troubles, and supplicating the victorious to aid her in attaining to the full perfec- party in his behalf. At length the wheel tion of her nature.
of fortune turned round. Leonidas beThe student of the history of woman came master of the situation. Agis and is continually reminded of the fact that Cleombrotus were in his hands. Che. when men lose their dignity and eminence, lonis at once fled from her father and took woman disappears from the scene, but her place beside her husband. In the when they rise into worth, she again comes wretched robes which she had worn when on the stage in all her power and tender- pleading for her father, she pleaded for
We have an instance before us. her husband. After much entreaty she Sparta became degenerate. Her name prevailed, and the life of her husband was almost vanishes from the pages of the his. spared; but he was condemned to exile. torian. But she was not to die without a Chelonis had again to make her choice.
Her father urged her to say with him, rePolit. ii. ii. 9.
minding her of the kindness he showed