Athens and Sparta: Similarities and Differences
By Mike Mizov
One of the greatest city states of all time was the city state of Athens
from which we take many of our modern ways. Their government was a full
democracy 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 30
and they proposed laws to the assembly. Then there was the court where there
were no judges and the juries were very large, the archons which were the nine
people with the most power before the assembly took it away from them.
The Athenians descended from the Ionians in the attica region. Their
city was mainly located on acropolis’. They had all around education which meant
everyone was entitled to education not just the rich. They were also concerned
with money and they also had unproductive soil which meant they would have to
find other ways to make money, so they became sea traders.
Unlike Sparta their slaves had legal rights which meant they could be
freed if the owners of them thought to do so. They also had Draconian laws which
were pretty tough laws and sometimes unfair. Since they had slaves they had a
lot of time to pursue cultural interests and led their society forward
intellectually, so they got into making dramatic plays for their enjoyment.
There were three classes of people in Athens the first class were
Citizens which were above age 19, then there were Metics which were considered
the 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 I
will tell you about now.
Sparta government was a lot different then Athen’s they had the five
ephors who were overseers and were the real rulers of Sparta. Then came the
council of Elders which was made up of 28 men over 60 and they proposed laws to
the assembly. Then there were kings who were elected by the assembly and served
as high priests, judges, and army commanders. Then came the Assembly which were
all citizens over 30 who elected officials and voted on major policies. Their
government was Totalitarian.
The Spartans descended from the Dorians and were located in the Laconia
region. Their city was built in a valley and had no walls because they said
they could defend from an invaders. Unlike the Athenians their soil supported
farming but they were culturally backward, which means we never got anything out
of their society’s way of life. They had no real family life and were very
militaristic. They spoke in Laconic phrases which meant they answered or spoke
in as little words as possible (ex. yes, no, maybe, etc.). They were forced to
marry at 30 so they could produce as many children as possible and unhealthy
children were left to die.
The society of Sparta was composed of citizens which were the direct
descendants of the Dorians then there were neighbors which were people from
other cities and nationalities living inside their cities who weren’t as
accepted as the citizens. Then thereare the Healots which were their slaves,
compared to Athens their slaves were treated less then dirt. The smart and
strong slaves were put to death because of the fear of revolt because slaves
outnumbered citizens there. So you can see how culturally oppisate these two