Athens : A Economic, Military, And Cultural Superpower During The Archaic, Classical And Hellenistic Periods

2056 Words Apr 22nd, 2016 9 Pages
The ancient Greek polis of Athens was a economic, military, and cultural superpower during the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods. With a domain that controlled the cities of Naxos, Carystus in Euboea, and Miletus in Ionia at it’s peak. Their rival, Sparta, a military juggernaut supposedly built on strict military conduct and no comforts. The aim of this essay is to determine just how different and how similar these two poleis are, and to establish how atypical Athens is when compared to Sparta.This shall be done by examining the nations histories, how they grew, and the political systems and ideologies they use.

At the beginning of the 7th century BC, Athens faced a crisis. It had a growing population, and it didn’t have a way to feed them all. The added pressure of this, and the unpredictability of the harvests they would gather, meant that a poorly farmer may ask for help. If this person was richer, they could ask someone richer for help. This payment could be taken out as insurance on someone 's land, or even their person (Morris & Powell, 2006). This led to class-warfare breaking out. To counter this, the Eupatridai, the well-born ones, chose a man named Solon to enact a series of reforms in 594 BC (Morris & Powell, 2006), a man described by Aristotle as a “Champion of the people” (Aristotle, The Constitution Of Athens, GP, 203). His reforms made it impossible for someone to take out loans against their own bodies, all people who were in that form of slavery…

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