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Because the individual was expected to put the common good before his or her own interests the family unit was not strong. Marriage was not about love or even the transfer of property as was the case in the rest of the Hellenic words. As in the rest of Greece, young women in Lacedaemon could not select their bridegroom. However, unlike other city-states, families did not select young women’s husband but an official, performed this role. This was to ensure that Spartan couples could produce strong and healthy male children, for the good of the city-state. <ref>Cartledge, p 101</ref>. The male Spartan citizen did not live with his wife but in the barracks of Agoge <ref>Talbert, Richard. Plutarch on Sparta (London: Penguin Books, 2005), p 134</ref> The husband would typically sneak out of the barracks to visit his wife at night. This unusual family life was something that shocked the rest of Greece. The fact that Spartan women were not controlled by their husband or father meant that they had a great degree of freedom. They had more sexual freedom after their marriage and many classical writers assert that Spartan women were routinely unfaithful to their husbands. As a result, the legitimacy of many Spartan male heirs was a matter of controversy<ref>Pomeroy, p 119</ref>. Several Spartan kings were excluded from the throne because of claims that they were illegitimate. In general, the tightly controlled Spartan society was not preoccupied with issues of legitimacy but on the production of male children. Indeed, it is reported that older men encouraged their wives to have affairs with younger men so that out of these relationships, strong male infants would be born. The level of sexual freedom of Spartan women was something that bewildered the Ancient Greeks, including Aristotle. Moreover, Spartan women could divorce their husband which was not the case in the rest of Greece <Cartledge, p 78</ref>.
== Spartan Women and Public Life==
[[File: Sparta.jpg |200px|thumb|left|Modern painting of the siege of Sparta]]
==Spartan women and land ownership==
Females in the city-state, because their husbands lived in the barracks or were often on campaign ran the household (oikos). They therefore managed not only houses but also estates and oversaw large number of slaves. Therefore, much of the economy was run by women, a situation that was unthinkable in Athens and other Greek city-states. This gave them real power and influence. Critically, unlike in other city-states, they could also inherit land and wealth and married, or widowed women were not controlled by a male authority figure. As men usually died earlier than women, this meant that many widows amassed considerable fortunes <ref> Pomeroy, p. 167</ref>. Aristotle claims that many women in Lacedaemon were very rich and lived luxurious lives, despite the traditional austerity of Spartan society. Not only did females become wealthy but they also lent money, and many citizens became indebted to them<ref> Aristotle, Politics, 1269 </ref>. Therefore, a class of Spartan woman became extremely wealthy and this led to growing inequality in the citizen body. According to Aristotle this undermined the Spartan system, as women abandoned motherhood to pursue wealth and luxury<ref> Aristotle, Politics, 1269 </ref>. This led to a decline in the number of Spartan citizens and a reduction in the size of their army and this led to defeats such as Leuctra. However, it should be noted that Aristotle like many of his contemporaries was influenced by a culture that was misogynistic and distrusted any independent or strong women.