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DID YOU KNOW?

HELL FOR THE HELOTS

Spartan women had more free time than other Greeks, as menial tasks were performed by a large population of slaves, the helots. The outnumbered Spartans kept control by declaring war on the helots once a year, so that they could cull them guilt-free.

SPARTAN QUEEN Gorgo – played by Lena Headey in 300 – was the daughter, wife and mother of three Spartan kings
MOVIE STILLS

WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE FOR SPARTAN WOMEN?

When Gorgo, Queen of Sparta and wife to leader-of-the-300 Leonidas, was asked why Spartans were the only women in Greece able to rule over men, she allegedly replied: “Because we are the only ones who give birth to men!” It’s a snappy line, boasting of both the superiority of Spartan warriors, and the influence and freedoms enjoyed by its women.

From what is known, based on admittedly scant documentation, the diffrences began in childhood. Spartan girls received a formal education and were encouraged to take part in exercise, providing them with greater intellect and athleticism than seen in other Greek states. By competing in public – either in short tunics or, more shockingly to outsiders, naked – Spartan girls learned how to stand their ground against men.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

In this month’s issue… Secrets of the Templars They were the most formidable military order of the middles ages, feared as crusaders and answerable only to the pope. This month we tell the tale of how they fell from grace, and try to unpick their legends from the truth. Plus: the Jarrow March; the RAF and the battle of Britain; Martin Luther King; 26 weird facts surrounding royal births; how to make a mummy; and the crowning of Charles II