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Athens - Greece

During the fifth century of Ancient Greece the city-states of Athens and Sparta represented two very different forms of living. Spartans directed their time towards their military capabilities while the Athenians were interested in comfort and culture. Sparta’s and Athens’ political and environmental differences along with their different views on women caused the two city-states to be very dissimilar.

Two major forms of government existed during Ancient Greece: oligarchy and democracy. The government in Sparta was controlled by an oligarchy in which the power was held by a group of five men called ephors. Working below the ephors was the Council of Elders and an Assembly. Male citizens over age sixty could serve on the Council while anyone, male or female, over the age of twenty could be a member of the Assembly.1 Though the citizens had little say in the decisions made by the government, the system worked effectively. It was the oligarchy in Sparta that put a war-like attitude as its first priority in the city-state. Every man in the army fought with a great deal of passion for his country. The beliefs of Sparta were oriented around the state. The individual lived and died for the state. The government in Athens followed a very different course than that of Sparta. Upper class male citizens over the age of thirty were the only Athenians who held any right to vote. The democracy in Athens consiste...
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