Warrior Culture : Spartan Subculture : Spartan Women
Sparta is often viewed historically speaking as the jocks of Ancient Greece. However if you dig just past the surface you discover just how wrong everybody is. Sparta was one of the few ancient civilisations to EVER allow women to own property, divorce, receive an education, or receive battle honors. In fact their historically unusual treatment of women coupled with strong warrior ethos make Spartans and Vikings close spiritual cousins. Considering to my memory they are the only ancient civilizations to do so. Beyond even that though Spartans revered their women believing Spartan men to be the only true men (as witnessed by the phallic symbol spartans put on their shields symbolic of being more manly than the enemy) that ment Spartan women were the only women worthy to give birth to real men. And it goes still further, they loved their wives and women so much that they spread tales and poetry of just how beautiful they were everywhere they went! And it may even been true since Hellen of Troy was a Spartan woman (historians believe their is at least some truth to aspects of the troy saga).
Inspired by some of the comments on my colored drawing a few posts ago of Wonder Woman, I’ve gone ahead and updated the outfit (and the drawing). No more boob armor, guys. You’re welcome, her sternum is safe.
The funny thing is, I actually went out to make her design non-sexualized and entirely functional, ala a lot of male superheroes, with cues from gladiatorial outfits especially, but I just sort of derped out on the chest last time. Old habits die hard, I suppose! *curses high school*
Recently I was commissioned to paint “my interpretation of Wonder Woman.” Wow, I thought, 1. Why haven’t I done that yet? 2. What is my interpretation of Wonder Woman?
I love history, especially ancient Greece and its legends. Immediately, I wanted Wonder Woman dressed as a classic Greek Warrior; armor, shield, shin braces, cape, helmet, the works. Since she is an Amazon princess, I decided to add some wild feathers, braids, and beads. To complete her overall “Legend of Greece” feel I gave her a lean, toned “Spartan” build.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Wonder Woman’s usual “girl at the beach in an 80s swimsuit” look too, but I didn’t want to paint that. I wanted to paint an epic warrior princess of myth and legend. I wanted to paint someone would could run with Superman or Hercules, depending on the circumstances.
And so here she is, my interpretation of Wonder Woman. Thank you to Kerry, who commissioned this, a thousand times!
Painted with watercolors and ink on watercolor paper, by Georgia Dunn.
The Spartan girl would have been on the field training
The Spartan woman had a completely different mind set from the Classical Athenian woman, and her fashion and clothing speaks to the vast differences between the two tribes. The Spartans were a culture that was in essence a war machine, and the peoples lives were one in which they were in perpetual preparation for battle. Girls were trained in athletics, held property and inheritance rights, and were educated to read and write, unlike their Athenian sisters. It is this mind set that informs the need for any garments that truly could be considered underwear, and it’s the broad range of activities and freedom that the Spartan woman enjoyed which gave rise to the use of them.