These factors empowered Sparta and led to the development of an authoritative and potent state. Other contrasting issues included women’s rights, social classes, and value of human life. Four rulers, Draco, Solon, Pisistratus, and Cleithenes, greatly influenced the political development of Athens. However, Athenian democracy cannot really be called a true democracy since there were several flaws in the government and the way in which it functioned. Upper class male citizens over the age of thirty were the only Athenians who held any right to vote.
Greece The two most dominating city-states in Greece of their time, Athens and Sparta, were great rivals with two very different ways of life. Sparta’s overbearing military and Athens’ impartial justice system and government are models for many modern day countries. Even though these two city-states differ greatly from one another, they share many characteristics of their country and their time period. Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful Greek territories of their time. Like most cities of the same country, they have the same Greek culture, worshipping the same Greek gods and speaking Greek.
There was once an era when Greece was one of the most powerful empires intellectually and physically. Ancient Sparta and Athens, being two of the most popular city-states in Greece, were rivals. These two powerful states had different trademarks; “. . .Athenians boasted of their art and culture, Spartans valued strength and simplicity” (Frey 260).
However, Caesar was ruthless to his enemies, but due to his fearlessness and slow advances on the battlefield, he single-handedly doubled the size of Rome with the defeat of Gaul. The author Miriam Greenblatt advocates that in Julius Caesar and the Roman Republic “ he discovered that he was very good at warfare,” (Greenblatt 18) and she continues that Caesar was so skilled in his ability that he knew just when and where to place his soldiers to defeat his enemies and that he could obtain the money and taxes from those that he subjugated that he very rapidly bailed himself out of debt, and put the money back into Rome (Greenblatt 19) Greenblatt also suggests that because of the Gallic Wars , “Rome had almost doubled the size of the Roman Empire and brought Roman culture- including good roads an Roman system of laws- to northwestern Europe,” (Greenblatt 24). Due to his great skills as a general, he had the unwavering support of his soldiers. Additionally, Greenblatt proposes that
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.
Rome became the most powerful empire of the Mediterranean for numerous reasons. The most significant advantage was the location where Rome resides. The location allowed them to become involved in the trade around the sea and build a stable economy, as well as succeed at agriculture and farming. Another reason for their success was the government system which started out as a democracy. Unfortunately, democracy didn’t last and therefore this same factor was the major contribute to the failure of the great empire.
Located in the fertile Eurotas valley of Laconia was Sparta, one of the most unique civilization’s the world has ever seen. This military driven society had many unorthodox conventions. Unlike other Greeks, they used iron bars for currency, their women were allowed to enjoy many of the same freedoms as their men, and their elderly were shown more respect than in other city-states. They employed two kings to help keep each other in check. One was appointed commander-in-chief on the military while the other served as a local ruler to take care of domestic matters.
Citizens were born with Athenian parents and were the more powerful group. They could take part in the government of Polis. However, Metics were of foreign birth and had to pay taxes and sometimes serve in the army. The social classes only applied to men since women took their statuses from their husbands and were not allowed to take part in public life. The ancient Greeks also had a very sophisticated government.
The Greek poleis was a community of relatives who worshipped gods in ceremonies and formed republics dominated by the nobility through its councils of nobles and eventually distinguished monarchy (80-81). These poleis allowed Greek’s social life to grow and expand their territories tremendously (81-82). This expansion provided Greeks with a cultural identity and gave men outside the nobility an opportunity to become wealthy (82). This new class, however, also led to conflict and tyranny arose (82). The tyrants contributed most in that they eliminated the presence of the aristocracy leaving each citizen to prove their worth by their service of the polis (84).
Democracy is rule by the constituents of a domain, but beyond that core principle, its interpretations varied wildly. Most notably, many of the concepts behind the original democracy that existed in Athens are unable to cover the system that directs the United States today, for two key reasons: population and distance. In the Athenian system of democracy, such a high emphasis was placed on individuals taking action in politics in a central location, that the entire system would fail under the strain that over 235 million (1) eligible participants, spread out over 3.806 million square miles. This is why Democratic Republics are common and effective today, especially in large countries. A historically novel idea, by definition, Democracy is: