One Of The First City-States In Ancient Greece

Life In Athens

Life in Athens was different than life in Sparta.

In Athens, boys had to go to school. One teacher would teach them math, reading and writing, another would teach them sports, and finally one would teach them to play the lyre.

Girls however, did not go to school. Instead, they stayed home with their moms while they were taught to spin, weave, and do any other duties.

Once the boys became eighteen years old, they became citizens.

Athenian Government

Again, the Athenian government was different than the Spartan government. Athens had started out as an oligarchy, a government ruled by a few people who have total authority.

But a noble named Solon changed this rule of government. He started to cancel all of the farmers debts and he also freed all of the slaves. Male citizens were also now allowed to participate in the assembly and in law courts.

But about thirty years after Solon passed, a tyrant named Peisistratus came into power. He gave farmers large estates and also gave the poor money and jobs.

The ruler considered the most important was named Cleisthenes. He remade an assembly to be the central role in governing. A new council was created containing 500 citizens for helping the assembly. The council was chosen by Athenians with a lottery each year. But not all people became citizens. Women, children, foreign-born men and slaves did not have rights in ancient Greece.

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