Athens vs. Sparta

Topics: Athens, Decision making, Ancient Greece Pages: 2 (509 words) Published: October 22, 2013


Athens versus Sparta:
A Comparison

Athens and Sparta were the two greatest city-states in Ancient Greece. The two cities were both powerful, but their beliefs and development were very different. I will compare and contrast Athens and Sparta and finally make a decision on which city would be my favorite. The governments of Sparta and Athens both started as oligarchies. This meant that a few people held power. However, Sparta stayed that way and Athens developed into a direct democracy. All of the men in Athens had a chance to be a part of making decisions for the people as long as they were land owners. Sparta was ruled by a few and thought that their strength would come from their military who would keep their conquered people or helots from rebelling. Athens thought that as long as their peole could hold power and make decisions, they would never rebel. The children of these countries were raised very differently. In Sparta, boys were taken at the age of seven to live in barracks and train to be soldiers. They lived a very harsh life and were taught to fight and be strong. They lived this way until they were twenty years old and then they became full soldiers. They didn’t return to their families until they were thirty. In contrast, Athenian boys were taught to read and write. They learned to sing and play the lyre. They became well-rounded people with good minds and became citizens at the age of eighteen. They were allowed to choose if they went into the army or not. Women had very different upbringings in these societies. Although both had important roles in keeping the cities strong, they didn’t hold the same places in the society. Sparta women were more independent because they were left alone very early. They were trained in sports and they kept in shape to become strong mothers to the soldiers. They could also own property. The women of Athens could not own property and were basically kept at...
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