The Amazons – source of sex equality?

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Plato’s utopian society outlined in his Laws and called Magnesia is probably the most extraordinary example of civic and social planning to arise out of antiquity, albeit fictional. When compared with virtually all other actual poleis of its day, it is even more so on account of its inclusion of women in the public sphere. There are many revolutionary propositions in the Laws which include, but are not limited to, the likes of socialised education and healthcare, females in the military and potentially the government, a deliberately non-expansionistic and non-aggressive political doctrine along with a pronounced affinity for the vigilant supervision of all citizens, property and their interactions within its sovereign demesne. Each of these topics merits its own monograph. This article is concerned primarily with a significant innovation of Plato’s Magnesia regarding his employment of a kind of ‘national service’ as part of the pedagogical experience of the young, known as the ephēbeia and its atypical inclusion of women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
JournalQuarterly Review: Ideas, Culture and Current Affairs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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