Athens vs. Sparta

By: Grace Jennings

Why is Athens Better than Sparta?

Athens is better than Sparta because Sparta's government was an oligarchy. This meant that very few people ran the government. Sparta's government didn't think about what their community had to say about laws and if they disagreed with the laws. On the other side, Athens did. At first they were an oligarchy, but then Cleisthenes came to power and made it a democracy. No, he didn't just do a PSA and say Athens is now a democracy. A democracy meant that citizens could vote on laws and be part of the government. In this case it was only male citizens. He created a council of 500 citizens to help carry out daily business. The council proposed laws and dealt with foreign countries. The assembly of any male citizen that joined the government would vote on laws the council proposed. This helped Athens because the citizens had a say in laws and they would have a more structured community.

Athen's Lifestyle vs. Sparta's Lifestyle

Athens


  • 14-15 years old would be the age girls would get married.
  • Although women were less free than Spartan women they had a man to work for them and protect them. They were not as free because if a women married a man in Sparta then he would not be at home from war until the age of 30, and even then he would still be called onto the battle field. Women who married in Athens would have their husband at home and helping out the family because they were not forced onto the battlefield.
  • Only some daughters of rich citizens could go to school. Girls usually did not go to school because they stayed home and were taught by their mother. At home they did not learn how to read and write, but do do the house hold work such as: spinning, weaving, and other household work.
  • Boys did go to school. They were not training in the barracks at the age of 7 like Spartan children so they had an opportunity to go to school.
  • Boys would end school at the age of 18. This helped the community because with all the free male citizens they would have a bigger and stronger government and a more structured community.
  • They actually taught public speaking. This helps the community communicate with each other so if a citizen that was part of the government could speak to the town and gain support and fame.
  • They had a different "version" of the Olympics. This was also an advantage because it was a competitive sport so they could bond with the people on their team and also it kept the community strong and fit.
  • They were not very focused on their military. This was an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage was that they had more time to focus in the wealth and government of their community, for example they had more time to trade, and make laws. The disadvantage was that Sparta had a very strong military and theirs was not as strong so Sparta could have conquered them and taken their freedom.

Sparta

  • They had a strong military because they had an interest in conquering their neighbors. Also they wanted to be prepared for battle.
  • Boys went to barracks at the age of 7 years old. Some of the training they did was having to pull reed plants from the ground. These plants were very sharp so it cut up their hands.
  • No men were ever free from war, so if they were needed in the battlefield at the age of 64 they would have to go battle.
  • Men were expected to die on the battlefield and nowhere else. They wanted the soldiers lives to be committed to the battlefield.
  • If men ever married they would only be allowed to see their wife at the age of 30. The Military training didn't want other people talking to the men so that they won't have suggestions to leave the military, they won't be softened up by their family, they didn't want them to get badly hurt.
  • Boys did not go to school. They could not go to school due to the fact that they had to start training for battle at the age of 7.
  • Girls did go to school. Their mothers could not teach them daily about household duties and work since she had to go make the money for the family because the man was either in battle or training.
  • Their government was an oligarchy. This meant that very few people ran the government and no citizens had a say in the government. This is a disadvantage because their citizens might start to fell left out and start to rebel against the government. Also they probably did not have good communication with their community and no citizens would have a say in the government.

Some pictures of ancient Athens communities!

I <3 Athens!

What did Sparta and Athens have in common?

  • At one point in time their governments were both oligarchies. Before Cleisthenes came to power Athens was an oligarchy and so was Sparta. This meant that few people ran the government and citizens did not have a say in government.
  • They both had the most powerful governments in all of early Greece!
  • They both believed in polytheism which meant that they believed in many gods and not just one.
  • In both city-states only native-born men were considered citizens.