Political Differences Between Athens And Sparta

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In ancient Greece, city-states held a lot of autonomy. For the most part, Greece didn't act as a whole, but as a collection of smaller pieces. In fact, these city-states were often even at war with one another. As such, there were major differences in how each city-state was run and in how much power citizens had within their respective city-states. Two of the most powerful city-states in ancient Greece were Athens and Sparta.

In Spartan society, only warriors had a right to engage in politics and make decisions for everyone. Additionally, ancestry had a big part in who had rights and not. Only Spartans had rights in government, with other groups having various levels of inferiority to them. For example, the Helots had no rights at all, while the Periokoi had much more freedom, though still no say in government. The Helots were slaves to the Spartans, while the Periokoi were partially able to manage their
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Neither women nor foreigners had any say in government. That said, while women in Sparta had no political power, they enjoyed more power in the home than women of other city-states. Additionally, it seems in both that political power was heavily tied to service in the military. In Sparta, lack of military service meant lack of rights. In Athens, the poorest people had less political power until they voted in the trireme ships that needed these poor people as rowers. However, Sparta had offices that could only be filled by certain families, unlike Athens. Namely, the job of each king could only be filled by a member of one specific family each, though each of the two positions of king was controlled by a different family.

We still have a long way to go, but we've come pretty far from the state these two city-states were in. Many countries today at least mostly try to treat both sexes mostly equally, and foreigners enjoy many more rights than they used to.

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