The Grand Athenian
The Official Newspaper of Athens
Sparta vs. Athens
Here in Athens, however, we encourage personal thoughts and creativity. All eligible men are welcome to become a part of our government, or democracy, as a part of the Council of Five Hundred. That is, if you are chosen to be a part of it. Here, the individual is more important than the state! If you have a great idea or new invention, share it with someone! Everyone here in Athens is ready to learn and accept new ideas. The only idea that we will never accept is that Sparta is better!
The Council of Five Hundred was made to propose laws and advise the assembly. All five hundred members of the council are chosen by lot. This way, everyone has an equal chance of being on the council. That is, if you are not a slave, foreigner, or woman. Only about 20% of our population is made up of citizens eligible to be on the Council of Five Hundred. That means if you are a citizen, you have a pretty good chance of impacting our government! Cleisthenes has certainly made our democracy extremely strong!
Because Draco's laws were strict, order was brought to our city of Athens. He prevented civil war from breaking out. Draco's severe law system also encouraged the growth of Athens. Unfortunately, the people grew tired of his harsh laws. He also began our first democracy, even though it was weak.
Solon refused to serve for life and only ended up leading for 22 years, encouraging a democracy. He stepped aside to let others rule Athens. However, some of his reforms included cancelling all debts and freeing those in slavery due to debt, directing all farmers to grow grapes and olives, as the soil was unfit for grain, and requiring all father's to teach their sons a trade to allow good balance in the community. All male citizens were also required to attend assembly and vote. Solon greatly strengthened our wonderful economy.