What Are The Differences Between Athens And Sparta

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In this essay we will be going over life in Athens and Sparta and how their governing systems worked. We will discuss how the people of Athens and Sparta obtain the right to participate in public life and make decisions affecting the community, who held public office, and what rules governed the selection of public office holders . We will also go over how the two city-states were similar in their governmental structures, and how they differed.

First lets discuss Sparta and how their governmental system worked. The Spartans were divided into three different groups, there were native-born Spartans, there was a group of non-Spartans called the Periokoi, and there was the slaves called the Helots. "The Periokoi were free non-Spartan men that
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" (Brand.P, n.d,Pg 9) Though there were two kings, the kings were not true monarchs. " The kings were often subject to the will of the Gerousia and the Ephors." (Brand.P, n.d, Pg 9) An elite elder council of Spartan men age sixty or over was the Gerousia, the only members under the age of sixty were the two kings." (Brand.P, n.d,Pg 10) Once a member of the Gerousia you were a member for life, but there were only thirty members at a time. There were five Ephors and they were elected annually by the assembly, they were meant to balance the power of the kings. When there was a war only one king would go to battle and one king would stay in Sparta, two Ephors would accompany the king on the battle field to keep his powers in check. " The Ephors had duties including military organization, foreign relations, and judicial affairs. For non Spartan citizens, becoming an Ephor was the only route to political power." (Brand.P, n.d,Pg 10) " There was a mutual exchange of oaths of loyalty between the Ephors and the kings monthly." (Brand.P, n.d,Pg 10) The popular assembly was made up of every free male Sparta age twenty or over, and the assembly met monthly to discuss laws and war decisions. " The assembly could pass laws and makes war decisions, but their power…show more content…
Athens is often described as the birthplace of democracy. " Philosophers and aristocrats both denounced the system and described it as mob rule when political power fell into the hands of the Athenian people." (Brand.P, n.d,Pg 17) A man named Solon was chosen by the aristocrats to reform the political and economic system in Athens. " Solon divided the population by wealth. There were three groups, the men of the plains which were wealthy aristocratic farmers, the men of the coast which were prosperous merchants and traders as well as poorer fishermen, and the men of the hills which were the poor smaller framers and landless laborers." (Brand.P, n.d,Pg 18) As a result of the division of the three groups there was a political and social gridlock, so the wealthy aristocrats once again chose of of there own to reform the governmental system.This time they chose a man named Cleisthenes ,a popular aristocratic politician. Cleisthenes called called his system isonomia, which meant equality before the law. " Cleisthenes recognized that having three social factions could sabotage any broad consensus among the Athenian population, so he deliberately broke up the factions by devising a complex artificial system of tribes which the Athenian citizens were able to divide into." (Brand.P, n.d,Pg 18) There were ten tribes created, each tribe had members from each of the old factions. This policy broke up the old factions and the power the old
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