Athens Times

Athenian History: The Accomplishments of Athens

Victory Against Persia (490 B.C)

Our powerful Athenian army and navy have defeated the Persians in another battle since the Persian War began in 490 B.C. The Persians got defeated by the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon. This was the battle where the army that Persian king Darius led got defeated. Around 480 B.C., ten years after the Battle of Marathon, Darius' son, Xerxes, organized an invasion plan and his army sailed to Athens to avenge his father.

On the way to Athens, the Persians were stalled by a small group of Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae. The Persians won this battle, but they were about to walk right into the trap the Athenians set up for them. They were lured onto sea, where small and swift Athenian boats sailed around the large Persian ships and sank them. This plan caught the Persians off guard, and the Athens won. This victory made our city-state the most powerful in Greece.

Leaders Who Helped Athens (650 B.C.)

Three great Athenian leaders and reformers helped to shape Athens the way it has become. They were Draco, Solon, and Cleisthenes. Although each leader was different and had different opinions, they all took part in trying to avoid civil war and improving Athens. Draco was the first lawgiver of Athens. He set unbelievably strict laws, and almost all crimes and wrongdoings were punished by death. These laws brought order to Athens, but after time, they got tired of the harshness and Draco lost power.

Solon and Cleisthenes were less harsh. Solon repealed most, if not all, of Draco's overly harsh laws and decided to bring order to Athens in a way other than harshness. During his rule, he made many reforms: he cancelled all debt and freed people enslaved from debt, encouraged the balance between industry and agriculture, and let people bring crimes against another regardless of status. Solon also made it mandatory for all citizens to take part in assembly and vote on issues. Cleisthenes also believed that democracy should be expanded. He created the Council of Five Hundred, and the council members were chosen randomly, so everyone had an equal chance.

Golden Age of Athens (500 B.C.)

Pericles led the Golden Age of Athens, which was a period of great wealth and power. This period followed the victories over the Persians during the Persian War. During this age, drama, sculpture, poetry, philosophy, architecture, and science developed quickly and dramatically. One reason so much was accomplished at this time was because Pericles, a great leader and reformer of Athens, led the Athenians at this time.

Pericles strengthened the democratic system in Athens. He made it possible for anyone, poor or rich, to have a public officer position and get paid. In addition, he strengthened the commercial empire. He used revenue collected from the Delian League treasury and built a strong navy. The navy would help expand the trading networks and spread Greek customs. Finally, Pericles ordered the construction of one of the most prominent Greek sculptures, the Parthenon. The Parthenon honored Athena and there's a statue of Athena in it.

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Athenian Architecture (500 B.C.)

Aside from the Parthenon, other Athenian sculptures, statues, and architecture was very advanced. Phidias, a skilled sculptor and architect, constructed the Parthenon with orders from Pericles. The characteristics of Athenian sculpting were order, balance, and proportion. The structures were all very serene and graceful.

Three different types of columns were designed in the Golden Age. They included doric, ionic, and corinthian. Doric was the most basic of the three. It was very normal, and had no intricate details or carvings. Ionic was a bit fancier, and corinthian was the most decorative of the three. Corinthian columns had detailed carvings, and took a lot of effort and time to make.

Sparta vs. Athens

Athens was clearly a more powerful city-state than Sparta. Sparta may have a more powerful army, but Athens has more. Athens has a great navy, excellent minds and thinkers, and a powerful form of government. Spartans have a system of government that doesn't work so well. Everything in their world revolves around the military, fighting, and war. Their city-state practically survives on their army.

Athens, however, has a much more organized democratic society, and all issues are resolved quickly and conveniently by a council of citizens. Also, the Spartans didn't leave much of an imprint other than their powerful army. They were a very rigid and hard set group of people, but that can't get anyone anywhere. Athenians welcome new ideas and suggestions to help build Athens and make it better. We also focus on our unique forms of art and knowledge.