The Gerousia came up with all of the laws and political policies in ancient Sparta. The political decisions that the Gerousia made were carried out by five executives known as euphors. The euphors were also put into power by the people of Sparta. The citizens of Athens had very little influence in their government. Athens government was an oligarchy, meaning ruled by few.
This group of people lived in their own towns called poleis and were the only people in all of Sparta who were allowed to travel to other city-states without having to get permission. Just like regular Spartan families, they too had to supply men to send to the army. But unlike a regular Spartan family, they were responsible for making weapons and conducting trade. Close to the top of the social pyramid was the Spartiatai, “ a non-producing warrier caste that lived on the surplus produced by the helots in the countryside” (22 Nielsen). This class is made up of the young boys that were trained and conditioned to be the fiercest warriors in all of Greece and the controllers of the government.
Upper class male citizens over the age of thirty were the only Athenians who held any right to vote. The democracy in Athens consisted of an executive, legislative, and judicial branch. Together, nine anchors, a Council of five hundred, an Assembly, and a court chosen by lot governed the city-state with limited power. The Assembly was made up of five hundred men who were chosen from a list of those who were eligible to serve on the council. All branches of the government were capable of vetoing one another.
Sparta was one of the strongest Greek city-states to ever exist. They fought valiantly in many wars, all because their strong military force could defeat almost anyone. They were the neighbors of Athens, a city-state that prided itself on their arts and strong government. Sparta’s dominance stems from its long history as a militaristic society. The lives of the soldiers were hard because they had to be so disciplined to last in the tough military schools that all men seemed to have attended from a very young age.
Around this time period, the city-state emerged known as a Polis which was lacking a central government or empire. Many poleis were emerging at this time however; the two that had the greatest impact on Greece were Sparta and Athens. Sparta focused on the military and the government. A strict order of discipline as well as requiring men and women alike to undergo physical training was held by Sparta. The sons in all families were required to live and serve in the military.
Spartan government consisted mainly of oligarchy, or the rule of society by a small group of people, which was represented by the Spartan military. Although Sparta did possess a dual monarchy of two kings, these kings were soldiers first. The laws of Spartan civilization were decided upon by its military class, a small class that was outnumbered by the minority slave-class, the helots. In his essay “Athens & Sparta: Democracy vs. Dictatorship”, Dr. Peter J. Brand states, “This serf class outnumbered the Spartans many times over, so to keep the helots under control and suppress rebellions, the Spartans organized their entire society along military lines (Brand,
They did not come out of the military until they were 60. In Document A the statue represents the Spartan soldier and how military was everything to the Spartans. Athens did not focus on their military as heavily as Sparta did, but they did have an army of hoplites. They paid for their military service, and the military was open to every class. They fought only when it was necessary and died for the city, as it was the duty of all the citizens t... ... middle of paper ... ...men were given all the power in the household.
This is the cause for their war-like mindset. The Spartans were controlled by the Spartan Code, which is a military code that was very strict. The code had laws that helped to strengthen Sparta's military such as: “Men could not marry before age 20,” and “'Defected' citizens were killed, and the weak were abandoned.” Sparta was known as a Dual Monarch. It had two kings with veto power over each other. Sparta also had a Senate that included twenty-eight elders, or retired military over 60 years old, as well as the two kings.
Although his short-lived reign was great and effected many societies massively he didn’t have an heir that lived to adopt his empire from him to continue the domination of the world. This lead to him saying one of his most well known quotes “I leave it to the strongest”, which started a power struggle between his generals that lasted for years. All of these events were very significant and heavily influenced the following era. King Philip II, ruler of Macedon, set out to destroy the existence of the city-state as an institution (lecture). He was a military innovator and a great conqueror.
Sparta and Athens had different governing systems; Sparta was an Oligarchy and Athens was a Democracy. Sparta’s government consisted of two kings whom had different powers; one served as the commander in chief of the armed forces, while the other supervised domestic matters at home and took charge if his co-king was killed in action. The kings’ judicial powers were shared with the members of the gerousia, as well as with the ephors (overseers). The members of the gerousia served for the rest of their lives, while the ephors controlled the education system and were in charge of the secret police, designed to control helots—this was a system present only in Sparta. The government aimed at training their army to the “highest degree of skill possible,” which would create a strong military to preserve their “domination over their helots,” while also obtaining a military advantage over their enemies.