Greek and Chinese ways of life

Topics: Ancient Greece, China, Han Dynasty Pages: 7 (2544 words) Published: May 1, 2014
Kevin Soberanis
Professor Lang
11-10-11
UGC 111
Greek and Chinese Ways of Life
Throughout the course of history, civilizations have been developing all over the globe. Some of these civilizations have shared several goals, experiences, and problems. Two particularly noteworthy civilizations are those of Greece and China. Greece had many city-states within in it. Two major Greek city-states were Sparta and Athens. Despite belonging to Greece, these city-states were unique culturally, politically, and socially. The Han Dynasty in China is another civilization that was unique in terms of its cultural, political, and social development. Greek and Chinese civilizations have several similar and different aspects that have been the reason for their goals, experiences, and problems in life, but they both have also been unique culturally, politically, and socially.

Athens, one of the most powerful city-states in Greece, had three major goals defined by its ruler, Pericles. His three major goals were to protect Athens, beautify it, and to make the Democracy stronger. In order for Pericles to strengthen the democracy he needed to increase the number of paid public officials. Before, only the wealthy could afford to hold public office, but by increasing the number of paid public officials it allowed even the poor to engage in self-government. Pericles believed that the Athenian constitution should be in the power of the people and by establishing a direct Democracy; he was able to enforce this in Athens. One way Pericles attempted to protect Athens was by using the money from the treasury of the Delian League to build Athens the strongest fleet of ships in the Mediterranean. The Delian League was an alliance of ancient Greek city-states, which were dominated by Athens. This was important in protecting Athens since it was surrounded by water. If they could control access to their surrounding waterways then they could decrease their chances of invasion. Athens is located right next to the Mediterranean Sea, which enabled them to develop their strong navy force for military use. This was only one way Pericles strengthened Athens; he also found a way to make Athens gloriously beautiful. Pericles beautified Athens by using money from the Empire to buy gold, ivory, and marble. He did this because those materials were expensive assets and helped make Athens a wealthier and powerful city-state. All these goals that Athens developed over time, helped protect it, beautify it and make it the strongest city-state of all time.

Despite Athens’ prosperity, this city-state experienced many obstacles that ultimately stripped it of its dominance within Ancient Greece. Power shifted from Athens to Sparta during the Peloponnesian War. Sparta was focused primarily on militaristic endeavors while Athens celebrated peace, intellectual development, art, and beauty. Sparta had an inarguable advantage since all male citizens spent their lives training to become strong soldiers, and all women were responsible for being strong enough to bear more soldiers. Sparta’s attacks were most effective when fighting on land so Athens did have an advantage since it was surrounded by bodies of water and had the strongest navy in all of Greece. Under Pericles, Athens’ plan was to avoid land battle with the strong Spartan Army, so they waited for the right time to strike from the sea. Years passed and eventually Athens fell to Sparta’s strong military tactics. After Sparta won the war, it was then the strongest city-state in ancient Greece. Athens’ downfall shifting power in favor of Sparta was important because it reshaped the Ancient Greek World. These developments made Sparta the strongest city-state in all of Greece.

Athens also had major economic inequalities which shaped their way of life. Athenian farmers often found themselves sold into slavery when they were unable to repay the loans they had borrowed from their neighbors. This forced them to pledge...

Cited: Fleck, Robert. "The Origins of Democracy: A Model with Application to Ancient
Greece." Journal of Law and Economics 49 (2006). Print.
Holliday, A.J. "Sparta’s Role in the First Peloponnesian War." The Journal of
Hellenic Studies 97 (1977): 54-63. Print.
Homer, and Robert Fagles. The Odyssey. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.
Nylan, Michael. "Han Classicists Writing in Dialogue about Their Own Tradition."Philosophy East and West 47.2 (1997): 133-88. Print.
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