Women

Ancient Spartan Women – The Backbone of the Warrior State

Spartan_woman

In learning about Ancient Sparta, most of what is discussed is the lives of the men. Such as the fact that Spartan boys left home at the age of seven to be raised by the State in the agoge (the rigorous education program for all Spartan men). But as the cliche goes, behind every great man is a great woman. And it cannot be ignored that the strong Spartan women were the backbone of the warrior state.

Women in Sparta enjoyed a great deal more rights than their sisters in other Greek territories. They could own property, intermingle with the opposite sex, get an education, exercise and some even competed in the Olympic games (a thing forbidden to most women in Greece).

The elevated status of Spartan women was no accident though. Sparta at its very core was a military state, and just as laws were put in place to ensure the health and fitness of the men, there were also laws that encouraged strength and health of the women. After all, the Spartans believed that strong women produced strong sons and warriors.


 SPARTA’S FOCUS ON CULTIVATING WARRIOR CITIZENS

spartanwarrior

In reading this article, you must disillusion yourself with most of what you learned in the 300 movies. While entertaining, a large part of the movie was completely inaccurate. Sparta was not some model democracy with warriors fighting for freedom. Sparta was a totalitarian, military society where the state ruled almost every aspect of life. And a vast majority of the people living in Sparta were slaves.

By 600 BCE Sparta had conquered her neighbors in the southern half of the Peloponnese. These conquered people were called “Helots,” and forced to do all the agricultural work on land owned by the victors. This made Sparta a self sufficient state, leaving the citizens with more time for physical fitness and training for war. Yet Sparta was a brutal state that depended upon the oppression of the very large slave population to thrive. For every Spartan, there were eight helots.

Not needing to import anything, Sparta isolated itself from the culture of the rest of the world. But they feared the prospect of revolt from their huge slave population, and thus the country became an armed camp.

In order to survive, the state had to ensure that every one Spartan was strong enough to defeat at least eight helots. To that end, Spartans learned from an early age discipline, hardship, and the skills of a soldier. As part of their upbringing, Spartan youths were encouraged to go out into the countryside and kill helots who looked like they might become community leaders.

Since boys left home at an early age, and husbands and fathers spent a great part of their time in military training with other men, the women had much more time and autonomy to themselves than other women in Greece.


YOUTH AND TRAINING FOR LIFE

Young_Spartans_National_Gallery_NG3860

Young Spartans Exercising, From The National Gallery of London

According to Plutarch’s testimony, Spartans practiced infanticide in order to weed unhealthy children out of their society [1]. If a baby was weak, the Spartans would leave it on a hillside, or it was taken away to become a slave (helot). Infanticide was actually common in most societies up until today, but the Spartans were particularly picky. And it wasn’t just a family matter. The state decided the fate of the child. However, it is unclear whether this practice of infanticide applied just to boys, or boys and girls.

One thing that made Sparta unique among the Greek city-states is that the girl babies were just as well fed as their male counterparts. In Athens, the boys were fed better than the girls. But in Sparta, the strength of women as well as men was of vital importance to the state. So it was encouraged to feed girls enough for them to become big and strong. [2]

While boys were sent away to the agoge at the age of seven, it is believed that girls stayed home with their mothers. However, according to the writings of Pomeroy, there was some institutionalized education for girls. Girls were educated on and off through different periods of Spartan history. During the Hellenistic period it stopped, and under the Romans it was restored.[3]

Literacy was a skill limited to the elite. Though there is evidence from the classical period that women wrote letters to their sons while they were away in battle. [4] Women also studied what was called mousike – which was not just music, but dance and poetry [5]. There are surviving statues from the period showing women playing musical instruments.

The spartan exercise regimen for girls was to make them every bit as fit as their brothers. Spartan girls learned how to ride on horseback. Other events for girls included running, wrestling, throwing the discus, and “trials of strength” [6]. It is also possible that girls exercised in the nude in public, just like the men. After all, there is archaic Spartan art that shows girls exercising naked, while this was only true for men in Athens. Women also competed in various festivals, the most prestigious of which was the Heraean Games.[7]


MARRIAGE AND SEX

300-movie-stills-02-021

While I have discussed the freedoms of Spartan women above, it seems likely that Spartan marriages were arranged by the parents with little thought of the preferences of the perspective bride and groom. Yet aside from this detail, women still had more freedom in marriage and sex than most Greek women.

SPARTAN GIRLS MARRIED LATE

 The average age of marriage for a Spartan woman was 18. While for other Greek women, the age was around their early teens. Some Spartan women even got married in their early to mid twenties (which was considered very late in the ancient world considering that people didn’t live very long). Because of this, Spartan women were much more mature when they got married, and were more likely to have a greater deal of control over their marriages than women who got married at a younger age.

Spartan women also typically married men who were closer to them in age. Men in their mid twenties or thirties. This might not seem that close in age to us modern folk today. But in the ancient Greek world, it was normal for a 30 year old man to marry a 14 year old girl. This was done so that women had the maximum amount of their breeding years to produce babies. But since the health and strength of the child was a bigger priority in Sparta than the number of children, getting married later made more sense. It is well known today that a woman will have a healthier child in her late teens and twenties, than her early teens, because she has been given more time to finish developing.

Yet despite all their relative freedoms, women in Sparta were still treated like breeding machines by the state. It is said that only a man who died in battle and a woman who died in childbirth would get their names inscribed on their tombstones.  [8][9]

FEMALE POWER IN MARRIAGE

spartan-wom

(Image Source)

Many Greeks in other lands thought that Spartan women had too much control over their husbands. Plutarch wrote that “the men of Sparta always obeyed their wives.” Aristotle was even more critical of the influence women had in politics arguing that it was contributing to the downfall of the country.   Women did not have a vote in the assembly but seem to have had a lot of influence behind the scene.

ATYPICAL MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Marriage among the Spartans was different from the rest of Greeks for many reasons. For one, it seemed that there was a great effort to get rid of the practice of giving a dowry. Some say this is because the Spartan state wanted couples to create children on the basis of health and strength, instead of money.

Married life for Spartans was also unique in that it was normal for the husband to spend a good deal of time away from his wife. Men were encouraged to live at the barracks until their 30’s. Until then, husbands and wives could only meet with one another in secret. Also, even in his 30’s, a man would still spend a great deal of time eating and training at the barracks – instead of eating home cooked meals. One outsider who ate with the Spartans at the barracks remarked, “Now I know why Spartan’s don’t fear death.”

A MOST UNUSUAL WEDDING RITUAL

 On the night of the wedding, the bride would have her hair cut short, be dressed in a man’s cloak and sandals before being left alone in a dark room, where they would be visited and ritually “captured” by their new husband. Married women were forbidden from wearing their hair long. [10]

I guess after being around dudes forever, you have to make the transition to females go easier somehow.

WOMEN AND THEIR MULTIPLE LOVERS

shutterstock_198097121

(Image Source)

In terms of other interesting sexual practices, some historians suggest that the Spartans engaged in polyandry: a practice where women were allowed to have sex with multiple male lovers. It is said that this was permissible because the state was the backbone of social life, not the family. Because of this, it is suggested that the identity of a child’s father was less important than it was in other cultures. Books like Sex Before Dawn even say that polyandry was a normal set up in many tribal cultures, where property was shared, rather than inherited along patrilineal lines. Since Sparta was a military state where property was divided and provided by the state, rather than familial inheritance, strength and health was the focus of sex and childbearing – not marriage and family.

 Herodotus says that the bigamy of Anaxandridas II was un-Spartan (Herodotus, Histories, V.40.2) but Polybius wrote that it was common at his time, and a time-honoured practice.(Polybius XII.6b.8) Along with plural marriage, older men seem to have allowed younger, more fit men, to impregnate their wives. Other unmarried or childless men might even request another man’s wife to bear his children if she had previously been a strong child bearer. [11]

DIVORCE

Women were allowed to divorce with little consequences. They did not need to fear losing their home and property, because they lived among the community as equal citizens. They were also not discouraged from remarrying. A Spartan woman was also not forced to relinquish her children, because the identity of the child’s biological father was not vitally important.


MATRIARCHAL DUTIES

85.58

Because men spent so much time off at war, or training in the barracks, women were masters of the home. This is why women had social and political power in their communities. Due to this Aristotle was critical of Sparta, claiming that men were ruled by women there, unlike in the rest of Greece. Aristotle, Politics 1269b.

Aristotle also criticized Spartan women for their wealth. He attributed the state’s precipitous fall during his lifetime, from being the master of Greece to a second-rate power in less than 50 years, to the fact that Sparta had become a gynocracy whose women were intemperate and loved luxury. Aristotle, Politics 1269b–1270a.

All Spartan women took advantage of helot labor, so they did not have to spend their time doing the tedious work that most domestic Greek women performed. Therefore, the Spartan women had more time to participate in matters such as governance, agriculture, logistics, fitness, art, music, etc.

But they also spent a lot of time bearing and raising children. Bearing and raising children was considered the most important role for women in Spartan society, equal to male warrior in the Spartan army.

women02

Also, despite the many glowing freedoms of Spartan women compared to women in other provinces, the state still preferred male babies in order to create a large and powerful military force. So women took pride in the warrior sons they birthed and raised. Having a son who died valiantly in battle was a source of great pride for a mother. By contrast however, having a son who was a coward was a source of great despair. The ancient author Aelian claims that women whose sons died as cowards lamented this [12]. By contrast, the female relatives of the Spartans who died heroically in the Battle of Leuctra were said to have walked around in public looking happy. [13]

When a warrior left for battle his mother would say, “Come home with your shield or upon it.”


RELIGION

The cults for women in ancient Sparta reflected society’s emphasis on their role as child-bearers and raisers. Consequently, cults focused on fertility, health and beauty. I will elaborate on the cults below.

THE CULT EILEITHYIA

img_eileithyia

(Eleithyiae, Zeus & the birth of Athena | Athenian black-figure kothos C6th B.C.)

Eileithyia was the goddess of childbirth and midwifery. Some say there is a link between this Goddess and early Minoan culture.  19th-century scholars suggested that her name is Greek, from the verb eleutho (ἐλεύθω), “to bring,” the goddess thus being The Bringer.

In the Illiad she is described as following:

And even as when the sharp dart striketh a woman in travail, [270] the piercing dart that the Eilithyiae, the goddesses of childbirth, send—even the daughters of Hera that have in their keeping bitter pangs;
Iliad 11.269–272

THE CULT OF HELEN

Helen_of_Troy

Most people are familiar with the story about Helen of Troy. The face that launched a thousand ships and all that. But much to my surprise upon researching this subject, she was also worshiped in some places as a Goddess. She had a festival at Laconia, the principle region of the Spartan state. (In fact the word “laconic” is derived from laconia, because the Spartans were known to speak in a concise, and to the point manner.) In the cult of Helen, women used objects such as mirrors, eye-liners, combs, and perfume bottles.


FAMOUS WOMEN IN SPARTA

QUEEN GORGO

queen-gorgo-300-leonidas-wife

Because of the 300 movies, she is probably the first Spartan woman that most people today are familiar with. She was the wife of King Leonidas I, Cleomenes’ half-brother, who fought and died in the Battle of Thermopylae (that famous battle with Persian King Xerxes) you know..the bald guy in gold underwear who supposedly sounds like a androgynous robot. (Scene in 300 where he becomes a God).

But anyways, Gorgo is one of the few female figures actually named by the Greek historian Herodotus, and was well-known for her political judgment and wisdom.

Arguably, Gorgo’s most significant role occurred prior to the Persian invasion of 480 BC. According to Herodotus’s Histories, Demaratus, then in exile at the Persian court, sent a warning to Sparta about Xerxes’s pending invasion. In order to prevent the message from being intercepted by the Persians or their vassal states, the message was written on a wooden tablet and then covered with wax. The Spartans did not know what to do with the seemingly blank wax-tablet once they received it. Only Queen Gorgo figured out the puzzle. She advised them to clear the wax off the tablet and thus found the secret message. (“Herodotus ”History” [Translated into English]”. Ancienthistory.about.com. 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2011-07-24.)

ARACHIDAMIA

8f12cbd88c2484725faa21a767aac13c

(Image Source)

She was also a Spartan queen. She is most notable for her role in leading Spartan women against Pyrrhus during his siege of Lacedaemon in the 3rd century BC. In the face of the siege, the Spartan council of elders wanted to send the Spartan women off the Crete for their safety. But Arachidamia refused that offer. She entered the council with sword in hand, and contested this proposal, questioning whether the Spartan women were expected to survive the ruin of their own city. (Plutarch, Parallel Lives: Life of Pyrrhus § 27.2)

Instead she led the women into the battle effort. The women helped build a defensive trench, supplied the troops with defensive weapons, refreshment and took care of the wounded.

CYNISCA

17-12-2011-15-12-00-642mdf30617

Cynisca was a Spartan princess and the first woman to win an Olympic victory. She also had a cult in Sparta.


IN SUMMARY

While much of history has concentrated on the role of Spartan men, it cannot be ignored that the Spartan women were a vital part of the warrior society. They raised warriors, and were brave leaders in their communities. They encouraged the men to be brave in battle, while also knowing how to take care of themselves and hold their own.

Life in the Spartan state was very difficult and harsh. So it took a harsh and strong woman, to raise a fierce society.


LINKS ON SPARTA

8 Reasons It Wasn’t Easy Being Spartan

Women in the Ancient World

Women in Sparta (on Wikipedia)

Social and Political Roles of Women in Athens and Sparta

SCANDALOUS” SPARTAN WOMEN:
EDUCATED AND ECONOMICALLY EMPOWERED


RELATED METAL GAIA ARTICLES

Ancient Egyptian Women – Marriage, Sexuality and Goddesses

Ancient Celtic Women

Ancient Norse Women


LONG BORING LIST OF FOOTNOTES

[1] Pomeroy 2002, pp. 34–35

[2] Pomeroy 1994, p. 36

[3] Pomeroy 2002, pp. 27–28

[4] Pomeroy 2002, p. 8.

[5] Pomeroy 2002, p. 5

[6] Hughes 2005, p. 59

[7] Pomeroy 2002, p. 24

[8](Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus, 27.3)

[9](Dillon 2007, p. 151).

[10] Cartledge 1981, p. 101

[11] Powell 2001, p. 248.

[12] Pomeroy 2002, p. 58

[13] Pomeroy 2002, p. 58.

Pomeroy, Sarah B. (1994), Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women
in Classical Antiquity, London: Pimlico, ISBN 978-0-712-66054-9

Dillon, Matthew (2007), “Were Spartan Women Who Died in Childbirth
Honoured with Grave Inscriptions?”, Hermes 135

Cartledge, Paul (1981), “Spartan Wives: Liberation or License?”, The
Classical Quarterly 31 (1)

Powell, Anton (2001), Athens and Sparta: constructing Greek
political and social history from 478 BC, London: Routledge, ISBN
978-0-415-26280-4


Female Chief Breaks up 850 Child Marriages

56fd52541e0000b300705e49

Child marriage is a problem in the developed world. When girls as young as 11 and 12 (or even younger) are getting married, this increases their risk of complications in pregnancy, and limits their own futures (in terms of education).

A Malawi tribal chief has taken a stand. Theresa Kachindamoto, senior chief in the Dedza District in Central Malawi, made 50 of her sub-chiefs sign an agreement to end child marriage in her area of authority.

“I told them: ‘Whether you like it or not, I want these marriages to be terminated,’” Kachindamoto told the news outlet.

She also made a rule to annul any current child marriages, which resulted in the break up of 850 marriages.

“First it was difficult, but now people are understanding,” she said to the outlet.

This has protected against girls getting pulled out of school.

“I don’t want youthful marriages,” Chief Kachindamoto told U.N. Women. “They must go to school. No child should be found at home or doing household chores during school time.”

In poor, rural regions like the Dedza District, rates of child marriage are particularly high, according to Unicef, and it can be hard to convince parents not to marry off their daughters in exchange for a dowry. Especially parents who feel like they have no other way to escape poverty.

But this is where Chief Kachindamoto comes in.

“I talk to the parents,” she said to U.N. Women last year. “I tell them: if you educate your girls you will have everything in the future.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE


“Isis Should Be Afraid of These Women,” Meet Helly Luv, The Kurdish Music Star Fighting Terrorism

HELLY LUV – “REVOLUTION”

The Kurds have done the amazing. With the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world at their front door, they have still managed to protect their own with little outside help (aside from U.S. airstrikes and some volunteers). Part of the power of their fighting force are the brave Kurdish women of the Peshmerga. Their job is to send the ISIS scum to hell – literally. Many of the guys in ISIS believe if they are killed by a woman, they won’t get into heaven. So the Kurdish women are more than delighted to take up arms and send these assholes where they belong.

Helly Luv is a Kurdish music star who has used her voice and dancing to bring attention to the Kurds and their battle. She is a singer, dancer, choreographer, actress and model. Her career began when she started uploading her own videos to Myspace and YouTube and then took off from there.

In 2014 she created the Helly Luv non-profit organization to help the women and animals in need in Kurdistan. On July 6, 2014, Helly Luv visited the peshmerga headquarters in the city of Duhok, Iraq near the border of Mosul, Iraq during the defense against ISIL (ISIS); with a mission to deliver food and water to the Peshmerga troops.

She is famous for her ‘Revolution’ video above, calling people to help build Peace by fighting ISIS. It may sound like a contradiction, but as she said in a recent interview “you can’t hand these people flowers.”

LINKS: 

Helly Luv Facebook

Helly Luv Wiki

Peshmerga

Meet ISIS’s Worst Nightmare: An All-Women Battalion Of Kurdish Fighters

hellyluv


Rik Garrett’s “Earth Magic” Photography Book – Witches of the Earth

EMER037

Rik Garrett‘s “Earth Magic” photo series has recently been collected into a book, and is now for sale here (US) and here (International). “Earth Magic” portrays women in nature, in a raw, but very natural way. The women are one with the landscape of the wood, mysterious weavers of the weird within the forest’s primordial depths.

In the making and binding of the book, Garrett was inspired by the style of the Malleus Maleficarum, which was a sort of pocket-book for witch hunters in the 15th century. Garret’s intent is obviously more positive, but his theme is similar. If you are looking for witches in the forest – this is what they might look like.

Each book contains 13 photos (like the number of members in a coven) and each book is different. The pictures are picked from a pool of 30 total photos and randomized. So even if you buy two books, they will most likely be different.

Here are some photos from the Earth Magic series:

krs3-6

wwx009

tumblr_m3qc81wDwH1qfuh2bo1_500

tumblr_mqq8c677gT1ralws4o7_500


Ways that Modern People Have Overlooked Warrior Women as Historical Fact

gladiatorwoman

(Historians have assumed this woman was holding a cleaning tool – um she looks more like she’s ready to cut someone’s head off with that thing than polish the floor.) 

READ ARTICLE FROM CRACKED.COM

Cracked isn’t always the most accurate place for news, but the article I posted above makes some good points.

In modern depictions of the past, such as a TV series like Spartacus, we are shown an image of muscular slave men battling each other to death in the gladiatorial arena, while a woman’s maximum participation is cheering from the sidelines or later rewarding one of the gladiators with a blow job.

However, the truth is that female gladiators were quite common in Rome. There were many graves of decorated gladiators that historians assumed to be male, only to be surprised when the bone analysis revealed these warriors to be women – as if the woman just so happened to fall into the wrong grave!

The assumptions don’t just end there. Most heroic warrior figures, such as vikings or samurai are all assumed to be male, and this depiction is the norm in television dramas, comics and movies. Yet in most warrior societies – such as that of the Spartans, the Mongols, the Celts and the Vikings, the art of war was such an important skill that everyone was expected to know what they were doing – including the women. In ancient Celtic societies, there were even fighting schools where female teachers called a BAN-GAISGEDAIG taught boys the art of fighting and love.

In fact, in a DNA analysis of the Japanese battle of Senbon Matsubaru in 1580, 35 of the 105 bodies tested were female. Not to mention that this is only one of several archaeological finds that show a similar story.

Then there is the fact that most ancient societies had goddesses associated with war and death, such as Athena, Freya, Sekhmet, the Morrigan, Brigid and Kali. In fact, some of these named Goddesses  were more terrifying than their male counterparts. If the idea of a woman fighting was really so unrealistic to the people of the ancient world, then why were there Goddesses entirely devoted to warfare?

So today’s reality of women in the military or police force actually isn’t anything new. If anything, it is a return to long term historical trends. Look at the fact that more than 30% of the Kurds fighting the ISIS scum are female. When a group of people are in danger, and bodies are needed to fight for survival, women will be among that number. This is why it is unrealistic for people today to think that women don’t need to know anything about fighting or self defense. What society has a better chance of survival – one where only half the population knows how to fight, or one where 100% of the population can kick some ass?

So next time someone complains that the portrayal of women warriors in historical dramas is “not realistic,” remind them that the more historically inaccurate fallacy is one where there are no women warriors at all in societies that prized the art of battle in all aspects of life.

mashascreamarkona

Masha Scream of Arkona (Source)

LINKS OF INTEREST

Ancient Celtic Women

Ancient Norse Women

Japanese Warrior Women – Onna-Bugeisha

Women in Reasonable Armor

Why I Hate Most Drawings of Women With Swords

Gun Guide


Nepal Readies First Witchcraft Act to Protect Women

Women in Nepal.

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

When many of us think about witchcraft trials today, we think of witch burnings in old Europe, or the Salem Witch trials.

Basically, we think such things are history.

Yet all over the world today, many women and children are still tortured and even killed over such accusations.

Accusations of witchcraft become a way in which people can take the land of a dead widow, or rid themselves of an extra mouth to feed.

Reasons aside, it’s a pretty barbaric and horrible practice. Glad Nepal is taking the steps to put an end to this.


Indian Metal Band Sceptre Takes a Stand On Violence Against Women (Interview)

“We don’t expect the world to change their ways after listening to our album…we just expect the metalheads that come to a Sceptre gig or for that matter any gig they attend, to understand this message and start treating women with a certain amount of respect. For ages, women have been portrayed as mere objects of lust especially in ‘metal’. That needs to change.”

sceptre2

 

Today it is my great honor to interview one of India’s longest lasting metal bands – Sceptre! They are a heavy hitting thrash metal band from Mumbai that has been going strong for 15 years and they have been pioneers of extreme metal in the country.

One key thing that peaked my interest in the band was their recent album, “Age of Calamity.” In this album they take a stand on the issue of violence against women that is happening both in India and around the globe. According to the latest statistics, as many as 35% – 70% of women in the world have experienced some form of sexual violence (UN Women). In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, intimate partner violence accounts for 40% – 70% of all female murder victims (UN Women).

In India, there have recently been many protests against the lack of police and government action in dealing with the crimes of gang rape and sexual violence. Unfortunately the problems of gang rape, sexual violence, spousal abuse, child marriage and sexual trafficking are ubiquitous around the globe.

Therefore, it is great to see an extreme metal band creating an album about female empowerment – particularly in a genre of music that can be quite the sausage fest. So without further adieu – I will begin my interview with Sceptre.

MG: First of all, I would like to ask, which member of the band am I currently speaking with? 

You’re speaking to Aniket S Waghmode ( drummer and founder member)

MG: What is your band’s secret to lasting as long as you guys have? It’s not every day that I get to talk to a metal band that is 15 years old and still going strong. 

It’s the sheer love of playing metal and nothing else! We cannot imagine playing any other form of music.

aoc

MG: One thing I’m really excited in talking to you guys about today is your newest album, “Age of Calamity” and its theme of the empowerment of women. What motivated you to cover this theme? 

We’ve always tried to showcase the problems we, as a nation are facing, through our albums…be it lyrically or visually. Our earlier album ‘Now or Never’ had a song called ‘Charred’ which talks about the evils of smoking. And none of the guys in the band smoke or dope by the way. With ‘Age of Calamity’, we were unanimous in deciding to bring the issue of women empowerment to the fore. Since a while now, India has seen the most heinous and ghastly atrocities committed against women in various forms like rapes, acid attacks, groping and molestation in public places. And the rate of such crimes is increasing at an alarming rate. The indolence of the Government is stupifying to these cases. We don’t expect the world to change their ways after listening to our album…we just expect the metalheads that come to a Sceptre gig or for that matter any gig they attend, to understand this message and start treating women with a certain amount of respect. For ages, women have been portrayed as mere objects of lust especially in ‘metal’. That needs to change.

MG: Do you believe that violence against women is worse in India than other parts of the world? If so, why is this? 

We are not sure about the situation outside India, but we’ve come to know after our album release from various people all over the world, that it is a global problem. The problem with India is the law. It’s ancient and inefficient to deal with the current state of affairs. To add to this, its the people who think one can rape and get away scott-free by bribing the police. Its a vicious circle.

MG: What do you think are some things that India – as well as other countries – could do to reduce the atrocities committed against women? What are some things that various countries around the world could do to empower women? 

I think the law needs to be made more stricter and most importantly, implemented wherever necessary. The punishment for these crimes should act as deterrent to others. These small steps will help empowering women all over the world.

MG: What is your favorite set of lyrics, in the album (Age of Calamity), that discusses the theme of violence against women?

It’ got to be the opening lines from the title track ‘Age of Calamity’… ” more and more lives at stake, bureaucratic apathy to blame, damned if you will..damned if you don’t, you gotta give in to their game..”

MG: Aside from the theme of female empowerment in your most recent album, what are some other important themes and messages in your music?

Our  first album had a song called ‘Charred’  which talked about the evils of smoking, then we had a song from the same album called ‘Nuclear’ which was against Nuclear warfare. The recent album; ‘Age…’ has a song called ‘Prophesy Deceit’ which is against these godmen who swindle people in the name of religion, one more song from the same album called ‘ Parasites(of the state) ‘ is about people in authority, from a policeman to a politician, who fail to do their duty….yea…stuff like that!

MG: What band’s influenced Sceptre the most? 

Oh..we are mostly influenced by the old school thrash era. Bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden…to the new ones like White Chapel, Suicide Silence, Divine Heresy etc

MG: What are Sceptre’s plans for the rest of 2014? 

Get a video done and play as many gigs as possible, in India as well as abroad!

MG: Does Sceptre plan on doing a tour in the United States in the near future? 

Oh yeah…just waiting for that call!! Haha..

MG: What are some other powerful Indian metal bands I should check out? 

Bands like Zygnema, The Down Troddence, Bhayanak Maut, Plague Throat, Gutslit  etc are some bands who can kick some serious ass. Do check them out!

MG: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview!  For the rest of you Metal Heads, check out their song “Age of Calamity” below.