Greek culture in 400-500 B.C.E. achieved greatness through two city-states, called Sparta and Athens.To better understand the interaction between Sparta and Athens and their desire for Greece to be a strong nation, it is imperative to know the situation of these two city-states in the early 400’s B.C.E.Throughout this essay I will briefly describe Athenian and Spartan social structure in the Classical age.In particular, their culture, military, and the role of women within society.
Athens had a democratic government and a dynamic society.They were culturally open to trade, painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, poetry, and philosophy.Athens had become the second most powerful Greek city-state because of their wealth, trade, navy, large population, and great harmony of art and learning.Athens was made up of three distinct classes, slaves, citizens, and foreigners.Each class had a specific list of duties and responsibilities.Wealthy citizens paid to attend formalized schools in the gymnasium.Citizens could own land and slaves, but not all did because they differed in wealth.Also, citizens had equal formal rights, and participated in the year round religious festivals.Slaves and foreigners, on the other hand, did trade work and housework, but were denied citizenship.Due to the Athenian democratic government, there was a wider range of participation from the citizens.Many of them participated in public election and lotteries.
Sparta had a political form of organization known as an Oligarchy, which consisted of five ephors and two kings who served as high priests and leaders in war.Their government was founded on the principle that the life of individuals, from the moment of birth, belonged to the state.Sparta hoped to ensure that only those who were physically fit would survive to become the best soldiers for the city-state.Sparta prided itself not on art and learning, but on the brave.
The two most dominating city-states in Greece of their time, Athens and Sparta, were great rivals with two very different ways of life.Sparta’s overbearing military and Athens’ impartial justice system and government are models for many modern day countries.Even though these two city-states differ greatly from one another, they share many characteristics of their country and their time period.
Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful Greek territories of their time.Like most cities of the same country, they have the same Greek culture, worshipping the same Greek gods and speaking Greek.Like all Greeks, their people loved to talk and tell stories.
Although they fought against each other, their citizens equally had great amounts of pride for their entire country as well as their city-states.The two rivals were both devoted mainly to agriculture and based their wealth, but not their success, on agriculture.Both also participated in the annual Olympics, an ancient Greek national athletic competition which is now a worldwide tradition. These to Greek city-states were the most feared city-states in all of Greece.
Though Athens and Sparta were similar, they were also very different.Athens was thefirst democracy, and it was also thefirst to govern with trial by jury.Athens’ main accomplishment was that it had a very strong Navy.It was the command of the sea and the head of the Naval Alliance, or the Delian League.Athens was the most feared city-state to fight at sea.Its other achievements were that is had excellent forms of art, architecture, drama and literature, philosophy, science, and medicine.It was very wealthy and had beautiful, extravagant temples.The boys of Athens went to school between the ages of five and eighteen, where they learned reading, writing, mathematics, music, poetry, sports and gymnastics.The girls stayed at home and learned spinning, weaving and domestic arts.