Ancient Greek City States

Topics: Sparta, Ancient Greece, City-state Pages: 5 (1045 words) Published: March 25, 2015
Rodolfo Gustavo Alvarez
Mr. Ignacio Arana
English Composition II
25 February, 2015
Ancient Greek City-States
The Pillars of Ancient Greece
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a city-state is “a state that has its own government and consists of a city and the area around it”. This definition shows that the ancient Greece was divided into city-states in which this were independent of each other, with their laws, customs, money, and army (Greek City State). City-States are also called as polis, most of this polis started having an Oligarchy type of government; although at the end they became a democratic one, in which every city governed by itself. Most of the cities were usually at war among them; therefore some of them joined forces so they could become in a larger city (City-States and types of Government in Ancient Greece). Even though each city-state was independent among them, this had many things in common just like speaking the same language, believing in the same gods; therefore they all called themselves Greeks. This city-states had different types of governments, like the following: Democracy, Monarchy, Tyranny, and Oligarchy, been the last mentioned the first type applied. (Ancient Greek City-States). The most powerful and popular city-states of the ancient Greece are Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Olympia. The article Ancient Greece the City of Athens, that “During the time of the Ancient Greeks it was the center of power, art, science, and philosophy in the world. Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world as well, with recorded history going back over 3400 years. It is the birth place of democracy and the heart of the Ancient Greek civilization.” Its name is due to the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena; which shrine is The Parthenon located at the center of The Acropolis. The Acropolis is located on a hill in the middle of the city surrounded by stone walls, was first built as citadel or as a fortress (Ancient Greece, The City of Athens). During this time Athens enter her golden age, full of prodigious people, besides Pericles, great thinkers appear such as Herodotus, the father of history; Socrates, the father of Philosophy; Hippocrates, the father of medicine. Others like the following: The sculptor Phidias, Democritus who envisioned an atomic universe, Aeschylus, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Sophocles. Later, continuing with the legacy, it appears Plato and Aristotle (Mark). Another important city is Sparta, which the article Ancient Greece City of Sparta, expresses that, “Sparta was one of the most powerful city-states in Ancient Greece. It is famous for its powerful army as well as its battles with the city-state of Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Sparta was located in a valley on the banks of the Eurotas River in the south-eastern portion of Greece. The lands it controlled were called Laconia and Messenia.” The article also remarks that Spartan society was divided into some social classes, listed as follow: At the top of Spartan society was the Spartan citizen. There were relatively few Spartan citizens. Spartan citizens were those people who could trace their ancestry to the original people who formed the city of Sparta. There were a few exceptions where adopted sons who performed well in battle could be given citizenship. The perioikoi were free people who lived in Spartan lands, but were not Spartan citizens. They could travel to other cities, could own land, and were allowed to trade. Many of the perioikoi were Laconians who were defeated by the Spartans. The helots were the largest portion of the population. They were basically slaves or serfs to the Spartans. They farmed their own land, but had to give half of their crops to the Spartans as payment. Helots were beaten once a year and were forced to wear clothing made from animal skins. Helots caught trying to escape were generally killed. As Cartwright said in the article Olympia, there is another powerful...
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