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I found this word in Bettany Hughes documentary on Sparta. She says that Homer referred to Sparta as "kalligynaika or land of beautiful women". Can someone translate this to it's ancient Greek spelling?
BTW, Sparta didn't exist yet when Homer wrote, correct? So was he actually referring to Laconia? Wasn't Sparta founded around 650 or 700BC so any earlier references to "Sparta" are merely to some city that was near or on the site of where Sparta would later be?
dags wrote:BTW, Sparta didn't exist yet when Homer wrote, correct?
Not correct: Homer wrote around 8th/7th century, Sparta was formed out of 4 villages around 1000. That's from my old university handbook at least. It's 21 years old but views will not have changed by so much that Sparta did not exist yet by the 8th/7th century.
That's interesting. So the concept of Sparta as a place of beautiful women predates the "thigh-flashers", the independent women who had much larger roles in society and sexual politics than their counterparts in other Greek cities (and who fascinated non-Spartan men). For some reason, I had assumed that the reputation for beauty had arrived as a result of the Spartan society that Lycurgus brought in. Homer's use of it shows that Spartan women already had a reputation for beauty.