By: Tommy Strei
Draco was the first ruler. He established many strict and harsh rules and laws. By doing this, Draco brought Athens to order and encouraged growth. But, the Athenians grew tired of these laws. Therefore, the next great leader was brought into power, Solon. Solon repealed many of the harsh rules set in place by Draco. Solon tried to encourage economic and societal growth of Athens by creating numerous laws. He believed in a more Democratic approach, and helped found Democracy as we know it. Cleisthenes furthered the work of Solon. Without Cleisthenes, Greece would not have developed into the strong, though limited, Democratic state.
Architectural Achievement - Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis refers to the rocky outcropping on the top of a mountain in Athens. Within the Acropolis, several important buildings were constructed. These include the Parthenon, the Old Temple of Athena, and the Erechtheum. The Theatre of Dionysus also lies close to the Acropolis, though it is not technically within its borders.
The Persian Wars
Ten years after their defeat, the Persians attacked again. This time they successfully invaded Greece, but were stopped at Thermopylae by a small Greek force. After this, a Greek fleet of ships defeated an extremely large fleet of Persian ships off of the coast of the island of Salamis. This final defeat turned Athens into the most powerful city-state in Greece. With this power, the Athenians created the Delian League, a force composed of over 140 Greek city-states. These city-states paid Athens in taxes and dues in return for protection.
Pericles aimed to strengthen Athenian democracy. He required that public offices be changed to paid positions. This way the poor could have more of a say. Next, Pericles strengthened the power of the commercial aspect of Athens. He built a stronger navy. This navy helped defend Athens and its trading network. He also financed the construction of the Parthenon upon the Acropolis in Athens. This helped to beautify the city-state, but also provided a central location within Athens.
Sparta vs. Athens
Athens invited new ideas and beliefs into their society. They founded democracy. The Athenian school of thought brought many philosophers, scholars, and writers into the world that the Spartan city-state did not. This includes people like Sophocles and Aristotle, people whose names are still recognized to this day. Without the environment nurtured by Athenian belief and ideas, the world today would not be what it is. This is the reason that Athens was the superior city-state, its lasting influence on the world.