sparta vs. athens

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Paper 1: Sparta VS. Athens Ancient Greece was rich in culture, as the country was separated into many polis (city-states). Among these cities, were the two most authoritative rivals—Athens and Sparta; having strived to attain power more than the rest, Athens and Sparta earned the most recognition. While both cities were two of the most powerful in Ancient Greece, the attainment of this power was approached in contradicting ways, as their values and lifestyle greatly differed. Athens and Sparta’s contrasting visions for their citizens framed their culture, which became the sole deciding factor in the kinds of laws that were implemented and enforced to form divergent systems including government, social class and gender roles. 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. Sparta’s vision consisted of two main goals: “freeing male citizens from all but military obligations, and socializ... ... middle of paper ... ...ation, which goes to say that men were initially the dominating group and killing young girls created a greater imbalance in sex ratio, while in Sparta, men were lacking since they were always being killed in war, which allowed Spartan women to “inherit all of her fathers land” and become extremely wealthy (121). While Sparta was “admired in peace and dreaded in war”(102), Athens was admired for their values of education and intellect. The two cities surely obtained different values and lifestyles, but did so with one ultimate goal: to attain as much power as possible, which led them to conducting drastic procedures, such as Spartan’s being trained from birth to become hoplites and Athenian girls being devalued and even eliminated from their inability to earn power. In conclusion, both cities framed their culture and system with the sole purpose of gaining power.

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