Women's History and Ancient History

By Sarah B. Pomeroy | Go to book overview

Notes

This essay is a new version of two papers first delivered in the National Endowment for the Humanities seminar on the family in classical and Hellenistic Greece directed by Sarah B. Pomeroy and at the Seventh Berkshire Conference on the History of Women (Wellesley, June 1987). Translations of classical texts were adapted from Loeb Library versions.

1.
The bibliography on Sparta is large and cannot be reviewed here. I have limited myself to drawing attention to the following: for the epoch of the revolutions of the third century see especially P. Oliva, Sparta and Her Social Problems ( Prague: Academia, 1971), 201-98, and the articles of A. Fuks collected in Social Conflicts in Ancient Greece ( Jerusalem: The Magness Press, 1984), 230-59. Unless otherwise indicated, abbreviations are the standard ones from L'année philologique and the second edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary.
2.
On Nabis see my La tyrannie dans la Grèce antique ( Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1969), 170-92.
3.
On this problem see most recently S. Hodkinson, "Land Tenure and Inheritance in Classical Sparta", CQ 36 ( 1986): 378-406. After reviewing various hypotheses of modern scholars, Hodkinson concludes that the supposed equal land distribution was a later invention. In reality, Sparta, like other Greek cities, had a system of private property with partible inheritance and the right of bequest. The only unique feature of the Spartan system concerned the rights accorded to women. Although I disagree with several of Hodkinson's points (see below, note 9), I nevertheless support his conclusions, especially insofar as they relate to the importance of private property and the property rights of women.
4.
Plutarch attributes the property system of Lycurgus to the early history of Sparta, preceding the conquest of Messenia. It is thus a question of the partitioning of Laconia. In reality, I think that if the city preserved the memory of a partitioning of property, this partitioning must have been of the land conquered after the Second Messenian War. See my "Sparte archaïque", PP 28 ( 1973): 7-20.
5.
Inter alia, see H. Michell, Sparta ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964), 205-9; A. H. M. Jones, Sparta ( Oxford: Blackwell, 1968), 40-47; W. G. Forrest , A History of Sparta, 950-192 B.C. ( London: Hutchinson University Library, 1968), 135-41; and Oliva, Sparta and Her Social Problems, 36-38.
6.
See Hodkinson, "Land Tenure and Inheritance,"380-83.
7.
Cf. Hodkinson, "Land Tenure and Inheritance,"381-82, and Jones, Sparta, 41.
8.
Pol. 2.6.1270a16-18: "Some of them have come to possess excessively large fortunes, and some extremely little; therefore the land has fallen into few hands."
9.
Hodkinson, "Land Tenure and Inheritance,"391-91, develops this point. He bases his argument on the fact that in two passages in the Politics (2.6.1269b19-22, 1270b6-8) the "legislator" is anonymous, yet in two other elsewhere (2.6.1270a6, in

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