Research Ramblings: Spartan Women Part 2

As noted in my January 9, 2014 post, the lives of Spartan women were completely unlike those of their Greek sisters, and I’m continuing my series on these differences with today’s fact:

Spartan brides cross-dressed and had their heads shaved.

Sticking with the subject of marriage, wedding ceremonies in most Greek city states involved things as such as sacrifices, feasting, wedding hymns, a procession accompanying the bride from her father’s house, and a walk around the hearth at the groom’s home.

Spartan weddings were very… different. Like other Greeks, female friends and relatives would help prepare the bride, but they did so by shaving her head and dressing her in men’s clothing. They would then leave her alone in a dark room with a pallet. Sometime later, the groom would come sneaking in. They would consummate the marriage, and he would sneak back to the barracks before light.

Sounds pretty bizarre, doesn’t it? One commentator states that this custom was to ease the groom’s wedding jitters by making his bride look like one of the guys. But Spartan warriors were supposed to be the bravest of the brave, so I don’t really see them admitting that kind of weakness.

Tune in next week for more about the Spartan women!


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