Athens vs. Sparta

A comparative analysis of two City-States
Mrs. Flores
Early Athens
 With the Emergence of early Athens: 800-400 B.C.E.
 Rise of Democracy during the 5th century
 Monarchies forced aside by the Aristocratic class: Gave
rise to the Oligarchs in the early 500’s
 Solon: Reformer, set up laws that were written and could
be revised.
 510 Rebellion broke out: Cleisthenes( Aristocrat) to gain
control: However instability within the aristocrats led to
the rise of democracy in Athens.
Athenian “Democracy”
 “Town meetings
 Only free white males assembled together
 make decisions that affected the polis
 Able to speak freely, persuade others to their opinions:
Collective votes determined political actions.
 Emergence of the Council of 500
 Citizens were chosen for a term of 1yr
 Responsible for making and implementing policies
 Democratic principles were heavily emphasized but only
consisted of free white males
 Women and Slaves: No political Power
Early Sparta
 7th century B.C.E.
 Both Athens and Sparta were similar in many ways
 However, Major rebellions in and around Sparta
influenced a highly Militaristic society
 700’s: Spartans defeated Messenia ( City-State)
 600’s Messenians challenged the Spartans: Led to the
Spartans grasping a tighter control over the Military.
 Military Powerhouse
 Spartan Men Warriors
 Self Disciplined
 Rigidly obedient
 Emphasized Fitness for Both Men and Women.
Economic Characteristics
 Across the Aegean
 Timber, gold, iron, copper
and tin.
 Coinage:
Ionia Rivers :Fertile plain near the
 Greek Farmers on mainland:
Depended on rainfall for their crops
 Poor Soil: Limited crop production
 Planted barley, olive trees, grape
 Sheep, Goats were raised in most
 Cattle and Horses in Northern
 Natural Resources
 Building stones: Marble
 Clay: Pottery
 Very few metal deposits
 Significance: facilitated Trade
 Replaced inefficient systems
of weighing gold and silver :
exchange of goods.
 Storage of wealth more
Social Distinctions: Citizens vs. Non
 Equal in Status
 Urban-based Aristocracy
 Simple farmers
 Distinction between aristocracy and the
commoners led to discontent and reform
 Gave commoners: More Rights
 Society was maintained by
democratic principles
 Only Free male citizens could
participate making them more equal
 Ironically: Divided free men vs.
slaves. ( 30% of Pop made up of
 Spartans were simple people
 Frugal lifestyle: Did not
accumulate possessions
 Houses were equally unadorned
 Distinctions were made by
military and athletic Talent.
 Spartan Boys: age of 7yrs
 Trained in military barracks
 Maintained order and stability
through highly organized military
 Trade and luxuries: seen as
harmful to their purity
 Society maintained by Military
Divisions of labor in Athens:
Personal servants, Craftsman
 Slaves held no political rights, nor
could they serve in the army
Gender Relations: Men and
 Women were free and equal to
 Gender inequality: Clearly Defined
 Respectable Athenian women
 Confined to the home
 Ventured outside under the
guardianship of slaves and servants
 Women in rural areas
 Had more Freedom
 However, Athenian women: No
 Encouraged to be physical fit
as men: Produce strong and
healthy babies
 Wives did not live with
husbands ( Men were often at
 Sparta: Run by Women;
 While men were on the war
 Women maintained the city
state and household
political rights, could not own
property or businesses
 Citizens: however could not
participate in government affairs
 Other Athenian Women ( not upper
class): Particularly prostitutes
 Did not follow same rules and were
considered lower in class distinction.
Cultural Characteristics:
 Religion
 Polytheistic
 Not omnipotent
 Carried same emotions as humans
 No priestly class
 Did not take their gods seriously
 Did not believe the gods controlled
human destiny
 Emphasized : Secularism: affairs of
the world
 Led to seeking the answers to the
dilemmas of Human existence
 Similar to Confucianism ?
 Philosophy: “Love of Wisdom”
 Interested in the physical world
 Did not believe the Gods caused
natural phenomena
 Nature or Natural law caused
Socrates: 470-399 b.c.e
 Focused on ethical questions and truth
seeking regarding human nature.
 Rational of Human Nature: Ability of
humans to reason for themselves
 Convicted of” poisoning the minds of
young Athenian youths”
Trial of Socrates indicates the clash
between traditional religious values
and the emphasis on human
Art: Drama, Lyric Poems, Classical
 Drama: 600’s in athens
 Representation of
myths about the gods,
interventions with
human affairs
 Lyric Poetry
 form of musical quality
of songs: Express
personal feelings
 Architecture
 Greek temples
 Parthenon on the
 Architecture: Widely
adopted by the Romans
 Legacy: Provided the
basic principles of
modern architecture
Greek Sculpture
 Reflect how they valued
worth of an individual
 Revealed human
 Physically/Intellectually
 Depicted the concept of
Beauty and Perfection
 Expression
Achievements of the
Greeks during the
“classical age” 500-300
Hellenic culture: Based on
the Greek term Hellas
Comparative analysis
Mrs. Flores
Greeks vs. Persia
 Wars between both
civilizations sparked rebellion
in Ionia
 Darius sent troops to put
down the rebellion
 Athens aided the Greeks in
 Darius sent an army to punish
the mainland of Greece
 Battle of Marathon490 b.c.e
 Outcome: Greeks won!
 Xerxes
 Defeated at the Battle of
Thermopylae in 480
 Clash between Athens and
Persia trigger the mind frame
of the modern clash between
the east and west
 ( natural enemies)
Outcome of the Persian Wars
 Sparked decline of the
 Boosted Athens as the Premier City-
Persian power.
 Formed alliences with other citystates: Delian League under Pericles
 Offended the Spartans
 Attacked Sparta’s Ally Corinth
 Peloponnesian war ( 431 -404 b.c.e.(
Athens and Sparta)
 Outcome: Sparta Won!
 Legacy: left a long lasting hostility
towards each other
 Fueled independence and
 Led to weakness and vulnerability to

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