"Greek Women at Bath," Joseph-Marie Vien, c. 1767, Wikimedia photo.
“Greek Women at Bath,” Joseph-Marie Vien, c. 1767, Wikimedia photo.

His last service was to his country so say
Comrades of my husband, buried on foreign
Battlefields, one of thousands Spartans.
Thus are fatigues of war, grief at every
Door, wives and children plowing fields,
Tending few sheep, discipline and strength,
Obedience to husband, generals, kings.  

Besieged and soulless, women are won as
Battle spoils, returned to Athens in abrading
Chains, impregnated and enslaved, children
Raised in oppression by true Lords of Ægean
Seas, mighty triremes, hundreds bearing on
Horizon, striped sails of wind-taught canvas,
Returning victorious from horrific wars.  

As Spartan women, we fared better, often
Equal to men in exercise and strength, during
Festivals we competed nude, young women
Throwing javelins and driving chariots with
Ability and courage. As in Athens, we were
Child-bearers, strong hips, milk-filled breasts,
Fertile seed sewn in suitor’s beds as in fields.  

"The Sleepers," Gustave Courbet, 1866, Wikipedia photo.
“The Sleepers,” Gustave Courbet, 1866, Wikipedia photo.

Rumors of peace spread amongst markets
And olive groves, husbands, brothers lost
To 
fruitless fights. If given choice to return
To Sparta, I ponder perilous
plights, serving
My mistress as her handm
aiden or taken to
Sparta in disgrace, my head shaved, shackled
B
ody used as coins. 

Tonight, I bathed my Athenian lady in cool
Waters, her body anointed with oil, cups of
Wine we drank, women of opposing t
ribes,
We both lost men to battle. To bed i
nvited,
My body yielding to embraces, taste o
f lotus
Blooms, fleeting duties of Spartan w
oman as
Passions strove to fountainhead.

"After the Murder," John M. Collier, 1882, Wikipedia photo.
“After the Murder,” John M. Collier, 1882, Wikipedia photo.

Alternate ending…
Tonight, I bathed my Athenian lady in cool
Waters, her body anointed with oil, cups of
Wine we drank, women of opposing t
ribes,
We both lost men to battle. Invited to h
er
Bed, she takes my muscled body, taste of
Sacred springs, duties as Spartan woman,
My m
istress lies bloodied in her bed.
 

Chapters not found in Xenophon’s “History of Affairs
of Greece i
n Seven Books.”

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