Sparta Vs Athens

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Ancient Greece is often viewed as the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, and free people ruling themselves. However, when Greece is broken down into her multiplicity of city-states, we see distinct variations across societies. The place this distinction is most easily seen is when comparing Athens and Sparta. Despite being sister cities, and working together to twice fend off Persian invaders in the Greco-Persian wars, Athens and Sparta always seemed to be rivals. Despite sharing new ways of governance, Athens and Sparta differed in how they went about it. Greece is the first place where citizens were allowed to rule themselves, although it differed greatly from modern democracy. Today we are all allowed to vote, and we all have a say in …show more content…
Despite sharing a language and religious beliefs, Athenian and Spartan life was much different. Athens believed in the individual, that each free person should have a voice in the affairs of the state. After the Greco-Persian wars, Athens had a golden age where philosophy, arts, and literature flourished. It was the time of Socrates, the construction of the Parthenon, and many other intellectual pursuits. However, Athenian hubris created a notion that Athens should rule Greece. This pursuit created a civil war, and Athens was defeated by a Spartan-led rebellion. The Athenians were foolish for attempting to conquer Sparta, as they were a militaristic warring society. Boys were sent to military camps at the age of 7, where they trained until they were 30 years old. A famous Spartan saying was to “come home with your shield, or on it.” Men were always prepared for war, and prided themselves on being the best warriors in the world. This was necessary because Sparta was supported by surrounding villages that had been conquered. These people were known as helots and they existed as a type of serfdom to feed the free city of Sparta. While Athens found riches and resources through expansion across the Mediterranean, Sparta created it by conquering nearby villages. Despite the Athenians naval prowess, they were no match for Sparta when battling on land. As a whole this rivalry …show more content…
Once again if we looks more critically at this situation, something interesting happens. What if we think about member of society that were not free males with citizenship? What if one was a woman in ancient Greece? Well she would be most prized for her ability to bear children, regardless of being an Athenian or Spartan. However, in Athens a woman had to bear a son to inherit his father's land, political position, etc. In Sparta a women needed to create more warriors for Sparta. An upper class Athenian woman was not allowed to leave the house, as that is where she was naturally supposed to be according to Athenian law and philosophy at the time. Spartan women were encouraged to engage in physical competition to ready their bodies for child bearing. They also could inherit land and a household. Spartan women were often the head of the household, because Spartan men were so often at war. This lead to disdain and mistrust from other Grecian's, as they believe Spartan women were defying the gods and not following the natural order of being ruled by a man. Despite both being patriarchal societies, women in Sparta seemed to have much more

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