Sparta -vs- Athens

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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In Ancient Greece, there were two main polis or city-states, Sparta and Athens. Although both "belonged" to Greece each city-state had their own form of government and their own ways of dealing with certain things. Thus, each society of the two city-states was different.

Spartans on one hand valued duty, strength, and discipline over individuality, beauty and freedom. They were harsh people. At age seven, boys left home and moved into army barracks for military training. Marching with no shoes, sleeping on hard benches, and having to gulp down black porridge created tough soldiers. The women had to run, wrestle and play sports to keep physically fit. Spartans believed that if a physically fit man and woman had a child that the child would become a good solider because it too would be physically fit. The population consisted of several social groups. Citizens: the ruling family who owned land.

Non citizens: free, but worked in commerce and industry. Helots: little higher than a slave. Some helots served as house hold servants or worked for the citizen hoplite worriers. On the other hand, Athenians had somewhat of a Democracy. They were well educated and thought through things before actually doing them. They were eager to learn more of the world and about the things in it. They excelled in diplomacy. Only citizens of Athens could take place in political decision making. Women, slaves and foreigners were not citizens. Slaves formed about one third of the Athenian population.

Sparta and Athens greatly differ in many areas. With Sparta being such a military structured city-state and Athens being more of a well-educated city-state the differences are easily noticed. Both city-states are more advanced in an area, but they each have their downfalls also. Which would be later noticed...



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