Athens and Sparta: Similarities and DifferencesBy Mike MizovOne of the greatest city states of all time was the city state of Athensfrom which we take many of our modern ways. Their government was a fulldemocracy in which they had an assembly was all male citizens over 25 years old,they had the council of five hundred which was chosen by lot of people over 30and they proposed laws to the assembly. Then there was the court where therewere no judges and the juries were very large, the archons which were the ninepeople with the most power before the assembly took it away from them.
The Athenians descended from the Ionians in the attica region. Theircity was mainly located on acropolis’. They had all around education which meanteveryone was entitled to education not just the rich. They were also concernedwith money and they also had unproductive soil which meant they would have tofind other ways to make money, so they became sea traders.Unlike Sparta their slaves had legal rights which meant they could befreed if the owners of them thought to do so.
They also had Draconian laws whichwere pretty tough laws and sometimes unfair. Since they had slaves they had alot of time to pursue cultural interests and led their society forwardintellectually, so they got into making dramatic plays for their enjoyment.There were three classes of people in Athens the first class wereCitizens which were above age 19, then there were Metics which were consideredthe middle class. Then there were slaves which was about as low as you could go.So all in all you will see Athens is a lot different then Sparta which Iwill tell you about now.
Sparta government was a lot different then Athen’s they had the fiveephors who were overseers and were the real rulers of Sparta. Then came thecouncil of Elders which was made up of 28 men over 60 and they proposed laws tothe assembly. Then there were kings who were elected by the assembly and servedas high priests, judges, and army commanders. Then came the Assembly which wereall citizens over 30 who elected officials and voted on major policies. Theirgovernment was Totalitarian.
The Spartans descended from the Dorians and were located in the Laconiaregion. Their city was built in a valley and had no walls because they saidthey could defend from an invaders. Unlike the Athenians their soil supportedfarming but they were culturally backward, which means we never got anything outof their society’s way of life. They had no real family life and were verymilitaristic. They spoke in Laconic phrases which meant they answered or spokein as little words as possible (ex. yes, no, maybe, etc.).
They were forced tomarry at 30 so they could produce as many children as possible and unhealthychildren were left to die.The society of Sparta was composed of citizens which were the directdescendants of the Dorians then there were neighbors which were people fromother cities and nationalities living inside their cities who weren’t asaccepted as the citizens. Then thereare the Healots which were their slaves,compared to Athens their slaves were treated less then dirt. The smart andstrong slaves were put to death because of the fear of revolt because slavesoutnumbered citizens there. So you can see how culturally oppisate these twopeople are.