300 Movie Review: Spartan Women Shown Respect

300 PhotoOk – so I was dragged kicking and screaming to see the movie “300” by my Gerard-Butler-obsessed friend Kelli. Blood-and-guts movies do not interest me, especially when the plot has anything to do with ancient history. I lose interest in these types of films quickly and most often I turn to a book or play games on my palm to pass the remainder of the time. As we showed up at the IMAX in Chicago this past weekend to see “300”, I had a book in my hand and a fully charged palm TX in my pocket. However, within the first 10 minutes of “300” I started noticing that the Spartan women had some really good lines and the Spartan men (at least in the movie) were showing utmost respect for them. It was not your typical “women are here for the sex scenes” war movie.

I will try not to spoil the entire film in case you haven’t seen it, but I do want to highlight three scenes that were rather surprising and empowering for the women in the movie. The first one is the opening scene in which a Persian messenger arrives in Sparta to deliver a message to King Leonidas (Gerard Butler). During the dialog, the Queen Gorgo (played by Lena Headey) speaks up. The messenger looks sternly at Leonidas and says “Why does this woman think she can speak amongst men?” Rather than waiting for Leonidas to defend her, she steps forward and answers “because only Spartan women give birth to real men.” Yeah, she went there.

I will not describe the second most-memorable scene because it gives too much away, but let’s just say that Spartan women know how to handle a sword and leave it at that. And just as she runs him through, she turns his words against him with “This will not be quick, you will not enjoy this, and I am not your Queen!” You will just have to see the movie to understand what that means. ;)

The third scene doesn’t even involve a single female actress, but it speaks volumes about the respect that the men supposedly held for the ladies. King Xerxes and King Leonidas are face-to-face and Xerxes is threatening to make the Spartan women into slaves. Xerxes threatens “Consider the fate of your women” to which Leonidas responds “Clearly you don’t know our women” and goes on to muse that he could have brought 300 Spartan women into battle and still kicked their butts.

So who knows if this “respect for women” was even real or if Hollywood just added it in to make us lady-folk tolerant of another estrogen-challenged movie. Of course given the time frame of history here, I would be willing to bet that said “respect” toward women was a creation of the movie-makers. Either way, it was refreshing and at least held my interest even though it showed a lot of dismemberment and killing. If you can get past that, it’s a halfway decent film.

I really wanted to find a photo of Queen Gorgo and the “sword incident” but I had no such luck. If anyone knows where I can find that particular shot, please post the link. Thanks!

Update: Thanks to Carms for linking me to this pic. Not the exact shot I want, but pretty sweet anyway!

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  1. Mashka on April 2, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    You’ll be pleased to know that the respect shown to Spartan women is in fact based in, well, fact! Spartan men spent a lot of time at home, so Spartan women held more power in the Ancient world than their counterparts in neighboring city-states. Also, they trained a lot like the men, if invaders/attackers made it through the men, the women were often the last line of defense.

  2. gretchen on April 2, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    You mean Hollywood didn’t exaggerate? :o

    Mashka – that is good to know. I was too lazy to research that, so I’ll take your word on the historical facts. Score one for the Spartan men. =d>

  3. Enkemeniel on April 2, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    If I recall correctly, I think women had to right to have wealth and status there at the time, MUCH MUCH more advance than a lot of the other civilizations before or after it. They also can have lots of husbamds… A little info on this here~ http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/aegean/culture/womenofsparta.html

  4. Kel1 on April 2, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Okay, I beg to differ, my friend. I did NOT drag you kicking and screaming to this movie. ;) I simply requested that you NOT read a book while the rest of us were trying to enjoy the film in IMAX! :D

    From what I heard, the Spartan women did hold great power in their society. I’m sure others who are more well read in history can give you more info on that. And sorry…I don’t have a screencap of “the run through.” :P

  5. gretchen on April 2, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Yeah – but as you know I don’t show emotion on the outside. I was kicking and screaming on the inside. ;)

    And I didn’t figure you’d have the photo anyway since Gerard wasn’t in that scene. /:)

  6. nimue on April 3, 2007 at 2:07 am

    i do not know what kind of sources you find, according to the books about greek history I read, the spartans did not respect woman.
    as a fact, young man were forced to have homosexual relations with their fellow spartans. when they maried, man and woman were seperated and visiting their woman was prohibited. this was one of the main reasons why the spartan nation vanished in history. not enough spartan babies.

    ps. pleas excuse my english, i am german.

  7. Kel1 on April 3, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    What nimue says is at least partly true, from what I’ve heard. However, there would have been far more Spartan babies had they not tossed the “imperfect” ones off of the side of a mountain.

    However, they are still remembered for their respect of women as well as the elderly.

  8. Kel1 on April 3, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    BTW, Gretchen…I don’t have that photo because I haven’t seen a pre-released clip of that scene, and plus I don’t know how to do screencaps. :D

    Though I know several people who are screencapping Gerry’s “balcony” scene. ;) LOL (And no, I’m not one of them. :)) )

  9. Kel1 on April 3, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Okay, I was just reading elsewhere on this, and it appears that the jury is out over whether or not there were in fact homosexual relations going on, BUT…that Spartans were in fact encouraged to have children later in life (their thirties) so that they could pursue military training early on (and it sounds as though the women received some training as well…not sure on that one).

    Spartans were training a lot, though, so they weren’t at home all the time to make babies. But according to other sources, having children WAS encouraged. How could it not be? They needed to raise their boys up for war, after all.

    And regarding my earlier comment about the “imperfect” babies–Spartans had a different mentality about that whole thing than I do, obviously, so I’m not trying to insult their culture. I see that in their society, they must have felt it “necessary” to rid themselves of the weak and sickly.

    Still, even typing that…it really sounds barbaric and horrific to me. sorry…can’t help how I feel. It’s like pre-Eugenics stuff to me. *shrug*

  10. Carms on April 4, 2007 at 10:27 am

    It’s not exactly the scene you’re looking for, but it’s a great depiction of the mood in that scene…


  11. gretchen on April 4, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Carms – I can’t see the image. It gives me the following error:

    “Forbidden: You don’t have permission to access /newsimages1/300-character1.jpg on this server.” :(

    If you can email it to me I will post it on here…

  12. gretchen on April 4, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Nevermind – it’s working now. Great Photo! I’m gonna snag it and post it. :d

  13. Stacy Bither on April 4, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    i think it is totally awesome that women were shown respect by the Spartan men! it just proves that we’re just now finally getting back to our ancient roots and that discrimination based on gender truly is retarded! i liked the movie too, like gawd, there were so many hot men in this movie! if you haven’t seen it yet check out the review by Ebert & Roeper at http://www.atthemoviestv.com (great place for full-length, high-production movie reviews!). I work for them, so i just wanted to give all you girls the heads up.

  14. gretchen on April 4, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Great link Stacy – thanks! :)

  15. Kel1 on April 5, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Stacy’s right…the men were absolutely great in the film too. :D

    GERRY, of course, but I also loved the performances of Vince Regan and Michael Fassbender.

    Great picture, too, Carms! :)

    *sigh* I wish there was an IMAX closer to me…but if there were, I think I’d be completely broke by now! :))

  16. renee on April 6, 2007 at 4:02 am

    Saw the movie lastnight, loved it!!!
    esp Queen Gorgo.
    And yes the spartan woman were trained to fight,read,write held as equals to the men.

  17. Amit on April 8, 2007 at 7:23 am

    Well even the Spartna women were taken away from their parents at an age of 7 as part of the Agoge.

    I am a history buff so I hated the movie for turning it upside down, in fact Greeks fielded a slave army(not shown in the movie) whereas Persians were a free army.


  18. Kel1 on April 9, 2007 at 1:09 am

    Actually, that would be Frank Miller, the author of the graphic novel, that turned it upside down, then. Not the director of the movie.

    I’ve not read about females entering the Agoge…I’ve read enough about the agoge and the traditional practice of “pederasty” (something obviously we would not want to discuss here), so I don’t see how girls would have been involved in the Agoge along with the males.

    I’ve also not read about “slave armies” being used in Greece with the exception of hoplites–but I don’t believe those are the same as slaves.

    So…unless I’m wrong, this blog was about the treatment of Spartan women in the movie as compared to the ACTUAL treatment of Spartan women.

    And I see you’ve pimped your own rather negative blog. I’m assuming that’s the reason for your post. ;)

  19. Jomas on April 9, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    I did some studies in uni, and by the sounds of it, the Spartan women were quite mouthy. They didn’t go to the Agoge, they went to a parallel training camp, where gymnastics etc were encouraged away from the boys. Then they went off and married.

    There was actually a book called “The Insults of the Women of Sparta” or something like that, done contemporarily, and it had all the nasty things that the Spartan women said to men who were too sooky to go to war.

    And there were two men who survived the 300 debacle. One was injured, and he went back for the second wave (as shown in the movie) and the other was just someone who didn’t want to fight, who the Spartans killed in a fairly nasty way (can’t remember precisely how). Cowardice wasn’t taken to kindly.

  20. araz bilgin on April 10, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    We minorities of Iran are thankful for this movie 300. These peersian terrorist hardliners all are racist and for more than 85 years they have been making fun of minorities in Iran. They have killed thousands of our youngs and now they are claiming for a historical film. We all thank you for showing persians real face in this film.

  21. Virginia on April 10, 2007 at 10:22 pm


    actually, i HATED how the women were portrayed in this film, and i wish i could get my money back. The Queen, whle ‘independent’ had about 5 lines, and most of her screen time was her screwing some guy. Yeah, so what she stabs the guy… she let him do that to her in the first place. That part just completely destroyed the whole message of the film, and it was the woman’s fault, OF COURSE.
    Their whole society talks about never giving up and never surrendering, but isn’t allowing someone to rape you technically a ‘surrender’? Is all she had to offer was sex? All women have to offer is sex to get a voice in this world?
    Besides, that part was totally unnecessary, he betrayed her anyways and called her a slut, which actually she was. WOAHHH.
    So please, do not support this hate-mongering movie, or frank miller, who potrays all of his women as prositutes or generally promiscuous.

  22. Virginia on April 10, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    not to mention the waifish harem, half-time, and i dont even want to go there.

    (btw….40% of the Spartan population was actually made up of enslaved people…who else would do the farming and industry while the men are pumping iron and the women are talking about honor whie screwing some dudes?)

  23. Virginia on April 10, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    not to mention the waifish harem half-time, and i dont even want to go there.

    (btw….40% of the Spartan population was actually made up of enslaved people…who else would do the farming and industry while the men are pumping iron and the women are talking about honor whie screwing some dudes?)

  24. Kel1 on April 10, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    “Is all she had to offer was sex? All women have to offer is sex to get a voice in this world?”

    Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much since Sparta, have they? ;)
    I didn’t see Queen Gorgo as a slut…though I didn’t agree with her actions, I understood why her character did what she did with Theron the statesman. She did it out of desperation to save her husband, to save his army…I’m sure she considered the cost and thought, “If I do this one act to appease this man, perhaps it will spare others from great pain.” (And it wasn’t as though she seduced him with candlelight and rose petals, c’mon!)
    Also, the fact that Theron accused her of adultery when he considered himself blameless…well, that still runs rampant in MANY countries of the world today. The men can whore around with multiple women, but if a woman cheats on her unfaithful and abusive husband, who is punished?? (There are a few articles on this site related to such issues, and I encourage you to seek them out. You might find them worth reading. :) )

    And yes, Sparta had slaves (but not slave armies). Just as most places in the world did. Slavery still hasn’t been eradicated in the world. Class warfare and slavery have gone on from the beginning of time.

    I can’t say that I appreciate the way Frank Miller has portrayed the women in his graphic novels…but there are plenty more graphic novels and artists who portray women in a less than favorable light. (I didn’t enjoy the scenes from Xerxes’ camp where there was basically an orgy going on, 24/7.) I believe that the director and screenwriter for “300” definitely sought to bring out the strength of the Queen in the movie, however, and I believe they were successful in doing so.

    The amazing thing about this movie is that very few people have “lukewarm” reactions to it…they either view it as “hate-mongering” or as a movie with a real message of sacrifice.

  25. Virginia on April 10, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    “She did it out of desperation to save her husband, to save his army¦I™m sure she considered the cost and thought, “If I do this one act to appease this man, perhaps it will spare others from great pain.””

    I truly felt that Gorgo’s actions undermined the whole point of the film…never giving up, never surrendering, etc etc…. and plus, the other character’s reason for being was kind of fuzzy…so how powerful WAS he in the council?

    (and history buff me taling here: he was too young to be even a part of the council, you had to be at least well off in middle age.)

    The whole scene, and character, seemed a bit thrown in for that reason. It seems totally irevalent to the plot itself, and its message, and wouldn’t she seem like a better person if she stood him up, and he still accussed her? He was stating the obvious.

    In all,i think that whole situation was just an elaborate build-up to what the directors hoped would be a “you go girl!” for the ladies.(she stabbing him)but seriously, it was completely unnescessary and rather than empowering me it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

    oh, and yeah, the whole harem girls thing…yes, that is really awful and i agree with you on that point… there were actually several accounts of Iranian women in high government positions and on occassion in the actual armies. (source: http://www.ghandchi.com/iranscope/Anthology/KavehFarrokh/300/index.htm)

    I think the movie generally was very predjudiced towards everyone, and i hope that no one takes it as 100% fact.

  26. Virginia on April 10, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    (but honestly, i really was rooting for her up until that part, and without that she would of been one of the few strong female roles in action/fantasy today)

  27. Kel1 on April 11, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    I can see your point about the “giving in” of Gorgo to Theron. But I still viewed it as an act of desperation to save her husband and his army.
    For me, it made her character more “human” and less like that of a “superwoman.” Flawed humanity is great to show in a movie, and makes for great discussion, because it can’t be so easily put into a neat little box.

    BTW, regarding the age of Theron: a lot of the characters in the movie were shown as younger than they should have been. I believe even Leonidas was supposed to be nearly fifty years old at this time. (If they’d have put a bunch of elderly people in the movie, though, they wouldn’t have had such a hit with the fanboy audience, no doubt. ;) LOL) So, the fact that Theron was shown as a younger man doesn’t surprise me at all…they were ALL too young.

    And no, I didn’t take the movie as 100% fact…and anyone with half a brain will realize that it was a MOVIE based on a GRAPHIC NOVEL (one step above a comic book, in my opinion), which was told only from the angle of the Spartans as portrayed by Frank Miller. (confusing, yes? ;) )

    I have yet to see ONE SINGLE MOVIE put forward by Hollywood that I believe to be 100% accurate in its telling of events.

    People are getting too upset over this film. In the films Alexander and Troy, there wasn’t quite this uproar, and I’m really not sure why.

  28. wordsmith on April 15, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Virginia wrote: “I truly felt that Gorgo™s actions undermined the whole point of the film¦never giving up, never surrendering, etc etc¦.

    I don’t think it was a matter of her “giving in”. She was making a sacrifice on behalf of something greater than herself. As Kel1 said, on behalf of her husband and his soldiers, and on behalf of Sparta and Greece. You didn’t see her enjoying the rape, did you? And she got her revenge on him and for his betrayal on a deal. She is definitely a character of strength; not weakness. I think you might be projecting other issues onto her circumstances, which doesn’t fit here.

    (and history buff me taling here: he was too young to be even a part of the council, you had to be at least well off in middle age.)

    Theron did not look young to me at all! How young is the actor who played him? Because, really, to me, he looked to be in his late 30’s or 40’s.

    What I liked about the movie is that it is unapologetically pro-military service and sacrifice, and totally not burdened with PC sensitivities. It’s a movie, and I didn’t come away from it anti-Iranians.

    I have ethnic ties to the Japanese; and if I saw a WWII movie, from the perspective of the Americans, I’d expect the Japanese to be portrayed as evil in THIS KIND of a movie (which is a blend of myth and fancy). Isn’t it obvious to anyone, that this isn’t a historical nonfiction? That everything is presented “over the top”? Does anyone believe that Xerxes would really look like that, and sound like that? That his “immortals” would look like rejects from “Return of the Ninja”? That the rhinoceros and the elephants in the film, the executioner whose arms were grafted onto blades, and the giant, weren’t injected with onscreen steroids to make them more otherworldly because they were aiming for realism?

    I just stumbled in here by accident, btw, while googling. Hey all!

  29. gretchen on April 15, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    I didn’t see it as “giving in”. :-? And yeah – take the movie with a grain of salt. Some things were realistic and others were way out there. ;)

  30. Kel1 on April 15, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Wordsmith, well said. :) I’ve discussed this with others (regarding the portrayal of the executioner with blades for arms and Xerxes being a giant-sized “god-king”), and the explanation that seems the most plausible to me is that this tale had become “legend” therefore it was presented sort of like the old Homeric tales…much symbolism involved. The immortals were thought to be “an inhuman army” so that’s how the tale was spun. It’s not a type of storytelling we’re used to in America. I think of it more like an old tale, not a “tall tale” but one that has been exaggerated over time for effect. To the Spartans, Xerxes thought himself to be a larger-than-life god-king, so he was portrayed as such.
    I guess I’m just used to seeing movies like this…fantasy type movies, like Lord of the Rings, so I didn’t take issue with the movie at all. I didn’t go to it expecting a history lesson. :P

  31. MUKESHKUMAR(INDIA) on May 7, 2007 at 7:48 am

    After seeing the 300.i m really impressed with performance of an actress.Though i went ot see this movie in theatre thrice.But still i m ineterested to see this movie again n again

  32. Jacobus on August 17, 2007 at 11:57 am

    If you wanna know more facts instead of swapping opinions, check out the Wikipedia articles on Gorgo, Leonidas and Thermopalae. Not saying they’re perfect, but there’s a lot there with sources given. At the very least you’ll learn the wide variation of different witnesses and historians. It does seem clear that the 300 Spartans did not fight and die alone. The 700 Thespians refused to retreat (or to surrender like the Thebans) and they fought and died alongside the Spartans. There were also possibly 900 Helots (serfs) that died there likewise.
    BTW, there was an attempt to put the Spartan girls into the same sort of military training, but it didn’t work because they refused to put up with the BS, period. They were noted for their athletic prowess though, and yes they were the home defense “National Guard” of Sparta (not that that distinction means anything now with ours shipped overseas).
    The movie was awesome… as a movie. Real life is more complex. If you want to actually know anything, read.

  33. Jacobus on August 17, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Uh, one more thing relating to the focus of this site: Queen Gorgo (the real one)was revered for her wisdom, from the time she was a child. It was her advice that revealed the message from a Greek in Susa telling of the Persian preparation to invade, giving the Greeks advance notice to prepare. The Athenians were building warships by the time the invasion took place, and the shock the Persians got at Thermopalae gave the Athenians a chance to finish enough of a fleet to take them on at sea – and break them. (The Athenians were far better sailors.) All because Queen Gorgo told the Spartans to melt the wax off a wooden plate, revealing the message engraved in it. Turns out she had thought of the same strategy before…

  34. eternia on August 29, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    OK, about that women threw their babies off mountains…not true. They were so tough that if they had a baby and it was considered weak, they would leave it on a hill…indirect murder…

    They would tell their sons and husbands “Come home with your shield or on it!” and they were quite powerful. They were given military training, wrestled, played sports and learned how to be the head of the house while the men were away. They were very powerful compared to that of Athenian women who were supposed to be quiet, not be seen and do the wife-y chores and duties…

  35. Jacobus on August 29, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    The Spartan mothers were not the ones who were expected to expose “imperfect” babies to death. The parents were required by Spartan law to surrender the child for examination by a committee of the elders. They pronounced it healthy and returned it or took it to the mountain of exposure.
    The statement of a Spartan woman “Come home with your shield or on it”, as nearly as can be determined, was said by one Spartan mother to her son, once. It was noticed though.
    The five leading city elders were called “ephors”, and in real life, these quite healthy ephors (not the misshapen monsters of the film) sent Leonidas and his handpicked band of soldiers to hold the Persians off while the rest did the Olympic games thing (a religious rite at the time). So the whole scenario with the bribed priestlike ephors in a temple with an “Oracle” (dependence on oracles was more an Athenian trip), Leonidas taking his guard off to Thermopylae against the ephors’ will, and (here it comes) a desperate Queen sleeping with two council members to get an audience to persuade them to send the full Spartan force to help her illegally acting husband, is 100% modern-media-invented hogwash. If anyone can produce historical sources and prove me wrong, do it. I’ve looked, and found nothing of the sort. I have to conclude it’s the comic-book drama talking.
    The one solid thing the movie does for the perception of Spartan women is that it portrays them as strong and as highly regarded by the men. And those things they were. Especially Queen Gorgo.

  36. eternia on August 29, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    OK! Thanks for clearing that up!

  37. jen on October 26, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    I am a History graduate and I have taken ancient history courses for years. What that german guy said above is incorrect.
    Women in Sparta were highly respect, almost equals to them men because the men knew that without them, strong warriors could not be made (ties in with her quote about giving birth to the warriors)
    Women were educated, given land and wealth and also they were free to exercise outdoors with the boys (All of these things, athens women had little rights to do) in fact the women who exercise and compete in athletic competitions butt naked! just like the boys!
    the part with her sleeping with people to get them to back to her up is complete BS though, ive never read anything on it but someone prove me wrong if you do know!

  38. Kel1 on October 26, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Quite a bit of the movie was “complete BS” because it is a Hollywood movie, based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller. It isn’t supposed to be exact history. There are a lot of “period” movies out there that aren’t completely historically accurate.

  39. Stacy on October 27, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    OK Nimue…I don’t know what your little problem is…but maybe you update your stupid little books…or learn to read…i swear you are so stupid…back then they showed women respect whether you think they were or not…the women there had more power than any other women…so before you start saying stupid stuff make sure you know what your talking about…

  40. emi on October 30, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    reasearch more… few facts are wrong ,i have reasearched them, just take the woord Spartan women put it in google and let them tell ya..

  41. allichick on November 23, 2007 at 12:31 am

    I only saw half of the movie:((

  42. catherine on November 24, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    im greek…and im proud to be greek!who knows i might have spartan roots..pretty cool.anyway,as we greeks taught to school women were given respect by men cause they were the ones giving birth to their babies(boys that one day will carry their father’s name and go to war like real man do)also,they were educated and trained so that their boys become physically and mentaly strong when they were born!

  43. ToJo on December 17, 2007 at 12:54 am

    This ‘Virginia’ commenter is obviously very much a bleeding heart liberal man hater, who can’t find in herself any reason to exist outside of whining about how society, past and present, has demoralized the sanctity of women as a whole. She has NO understanding of the history that this movie was loosely based on, and insists that it was made to be a factual representation. If she had a quarter of the intelligence that she thinks she has she would watch the special features on disc two of the DVD where it specifically dictates the intent of the film to NOT rely on fact but rather to portray the Frank Miller comic book as a motion picture.

  44. Kel1 on December 17, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    To be fair, ToJo, the DVD wasn’t out yet when Virginia left her original comment. Many people wrongly assumed that the film was supposed to be more factual. (Not sure why, though…after all, it IS a Hollywood movie. ;) )

  45. ToJo on December 17, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Well others here have been trying to tell her that, however she doesn’t want to listen to the truth, only the fiction that goes on in her own tiny narrow mind.

  46. AnaRosa on January 8, 2008 at 10:00 am

    There’s another part in the movie as far as power when her husband and the persian messenger are talking and the messenger says “choose your next words wisely for they may be your last words” The king looks around at his people and dazes for a while, then last but not least he looks at his wife and she nods her head yes one time as to approve. He then turns and does what he does. ( I dont want to mess it up for anyone who hasnt seen it)….

  47. lindsey on January 16, 2008 at 1:53 am

    wow, this debate got pretty heated.all i have to say is i’m doing a paper over Spartan women and i’ve done a lot of research. Spartan women did have a relatively large role in society. They were viewed equal to men in some cases. some cases they were respected even more than women are in America today believe it or not. and yes i agree with with you, she gave in. it was an unnecessary part as was the scene with the naked adolescence scene about the oracle. These parts were demeaning to women in my opinion. maybe i see it like this because i am so used to all the hollywood films using women just like you said, only for sex scenes or items to men. such as, the stupid American pie movies, which i never watched but the commercials give enough away, all the women are in those movies are pieces of meat. people like Gloria Steinam fought so hard for women’s equality and we’re taking like 20 steps back with movies like that.

  48. Bill on January 21, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Gretchen, I think thsi is what you were looking for.

  49. Jacobus on January 22, 2008 at 6:54 am

    We’ve wandered a bit… so in the Why Not category, Spartan women were not the only ones who acted as a National Guard when necessary. When the Viking men were away, guess who defended the home turf in Scandinavia? That’s right.
    I was reading a book (yes, those still exist) on discoveries from exhumed mound and bog graves in Denmark, and noticed how many of the women were buried with arms and armor clearly designed for their use. In one case, remnants of a skirt were found that had metal tubing attached to deflect broadsword hacks to the legs while not being so heavy as to slow the wearer down. Her speed and alacrity were her superior points in a fight, and they used that. It would be interesting to see a movie that portrayed this!

  50. Patricia on March 6, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    I would just like to say i am in university and planning on studying ancient Greece for a long period in my life. Spartan women were trained just like men, and from birth were given the same equal rights as any male baby would. The reason they killed some babies was because they were “imperfect” for spartan warrior and yes that horrible but many other ancient civilizations did far far worse. Also, women were given dowry’s and when their men left to fight (the women who didnt want to fight were left) they would then have to take care of laws and politics in Sparta at the time. Also, for the person who said that spartan culture was whiped out because of their “homosexuality” is false, ebcause the Athenians were the homosexuals so if any culture was whiped out it would be them, not the Spartans… and also neither sparta or athens is whiped out both are still in cities in Greece and by background is Greek (spartan to be more specific). Women also tended to boss their man around more then the oppiste would happen. If their man ever came home from battle a loser she would kill him or send him into exile. 300 is a true movie and no the Spartans did not have a prodominantly slave army if anyone did it was the Persians because they were such a large empire and had taken people from all the conquering states to fight for them. 300 may be a little exagerated but most of the movie is in fact factual. One more thing Spartan women comepted in the Ancient Olympic Games, where only men were allowed to compete

  51. Reynir on March 12, 2008 at 5:32 am

    Don´t be too quick to generalize about ancient times. I´m studying anthropology atm, and I´m beginning to find out that there is an INCREDIBLE wealth of different cultures both in the world now, and across history.

    And there have in fact been plenty of societies where women have commanded respect. There have even been plenty of societies where women were the main thing (where all inheritance went through them and they were the center of the family)

    There have also been (and still are, in fact) plenty of societies where women are STRONG and their hunter nature is not suppressed (the human being IS a hunter, no denying it). There´s even a society still untouched today where the women barely stop to give birth and then pick up the spear again and go running about hunting with it.

    Don´t be fooled by how society has “brainwashed” us… the human being is so much more than that… especially in the case of a suppressed society like the U.S. Women are suppressed to think they are just supposed to be girly, passive and pretty… and swear words and gay marrage aren´t allowed. The U.S. has been so confident through the years that they´re the greatest country in the world that, in fact, their hubris has caused them to fall behind the rest of the world in most aspects (socially speaking… Can´t have social progress without the ability to admit that something is wrong)

  52. Reynir on March 12, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Oh and I´d like to add this:

    I´m becoming more and more convinced that the social problems of the western world are because of this terrible idea that men and women are OPPOSITES. This is a recent invention (don´t remember if it appeared in the 20th or 19th century)… before then they talked about the “other sex”, rather than the “opposite sex”.

    So I´d just like to encourage everybody to try and think that men and women are both just human beings, try to see beyond the layers of social influence on you.

    We´re all just people, and with the same basic needs. Some of them are just suppressed in each sex. Displaying sexuality and the “hunter nature” is suppressed in women, while displaying feelings and caring about others is suppressed in men.

    I´m grateful for having met my girlfriend, she really convinced me (by practicing martial arts) that women love action and adrenaline too (not all women do of course, but neither do all men… we´re all just PEOPLE, so both are normal variations)

    Her vivid descriptions of this… were amazing… how all her senses enter a heightened state, how they study each other at maximum readyness, how they apply tactics (for example she has long legs so she exploits her range advantage), how time seemed to slow down as they started trading blows (wearing armor and helmets of course)… beautiful.

    Oh and she also plays the violin in an orchestra. Hard to imagine? Well it shouldn´t be, DOWN WITH STEREOTYPES!

  53. triple on March 18, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    The women in Sparta were treated very well, but Spartan men did not stay home at all, they were placed in military barracks at the age of seven. They live in the military until sixty. All babies that are sickly are left on the mountainside to die.

  54. john paul on June 7, 2008 at 11:16 am

    hah the Spartans were encouraged to practiced homosexuality,they were pederast who only considered woman necessary for conception of children

    the movie is BS anyhow

  55. abercrombieautumn on July 23, 2008 at 1:03 am

    All of this discussion really has me wanting to watch this movie! But with a parent so that I can have my eyes covered at orgy scenes…not my cup of tea.

  56. SolenmSerpent on October 16, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    I found the movie particularity entertaining for that reason: women had respect. And as I’m looking into Greek, Athenian and Spartan cultures, women in Sparta had more freedom, more privileges than women in other cultures. They could own land, learn to read and write, and compete in athletic games. They were expected to be able to defend themselves and the homes of their husbands and children and despite not being able to vote, they were strong influences in the choices of their communities.

    :)>- :d/

  57. Brittany on October 28, 2010 at 3:55 am

    It is fact that spartan women were semi-equal with men. They were raised strong and healthy because Spartan society was based on being a military powerhouse and they believed that a strong, healthy woman would give birth to strong, healthy offspring. They could own land if it was passed down to them. Hollywood did not exaggerate. They were respected, but the reason was so that they could give birth to strong soldiers, so was it genuine? May be not. But, it was very different for times like these in 650 BC for women to have some gender equality. Also, the women were not trained to fight as a last defense. If they did fight, it was on them. The training to be strong was strictly for giving birth..

  58. Ben on December 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    While Spartan women did have many privileged that other females in the Greek world 300 did take much leeway with American, particularly Feminist propaganda. The actual quote that Gorgo stated was:

    “‘When asked by a woman from Attica, ‘Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men?, she said: ‘Because we are also the only ones who give birth to men.'”

    That is too say that women of Sparta respected and revered their men (something that modern Feminist don’t do) as much as themselves. It wasn’t stated to a messenger or man. Laconic wit was pervasive in Sparta and contrasted against Attic wit (salt).

    I don’t know if more but rather different rights based on different ideals. No rights over your child the day it was born. Women did not join the army even in the military state of Sparta, etc. They didn’t have “perfect equality” but it worked fairly well.

    @ Brittany
    Yes Hollywood did exaggerate. You seem to nothing of Sparta to make such a claim. The entire movie was Spartans being for freedom is laughable. There were more slaves (called Helots) in Sparta than Spartans. Spartans viewed themselves as superior Greeks and were Fascist by nature.

    That is what I loved about them.

    @ John Paul
    They did not practice homosexuality. Yes each young man was encouraged to bond to a older man but it was to create a stronger unity in battle. Anal sex was prohibited in pederasty.

  59. laura on April 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I saw this movie, and loved it. I know exactly what ‘I am not your Queen.’ Means in that certainscene, but I’l not spoil it for the maybe two people who haven’t seen it yet.

  60. laura on April 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Also, Roman and Greek women in that time period were taught to read, write, and fight. They were very respected, and allowed to marry whoever they chose.

  61. B.M.A on October 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Sorry to break it to everyone, but women were not respected by the Greeks, but actually Persia. They even had a female commander. They couldn’t even own slaves, unlike the Spartans whose socity was 80% slaves!

  62. gemini021 on May 8, 2017 at 10:31 am

    It’s Hollywood through and through, they love to distort History. Here’s a good reference article: http://www.livescience.com/1360-sparta-spandex-disturbing-distortions-300.html

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