Similarities and differences between Athens and Sparta
By kirk kanjian
In 5th century Greece Spartan and Athenian society was very different in many ways. However, at the same time, the two shared a number of characteristics in common. The differences are what set the two apart, while the things they shared in common are what united them as Greek city-states. Sparta and Athens shared similarities and differences in their systems of government, military focuses, education and rights of women.
One of the bigger differences between Sparta and Athens was there systems of government. Sparta was an Oligarchy which meant ruled by a few. There were many features of a Spartan government, Ephors, two kings, a council of 28 elders called the geurosia and the apella the assembly of spartiates over the age of 30. There were two kings so when the Spartans went to war one stayed back and the other went and fought. The reason Sparta had so many levels of government was because they had to control and limit the kings in case they got too much power. In contrast, Athens was a democracy, which meant that it was ruled by the people. However democracy in ancient Athens was quite different from the way it is practised today. Athens was a direct democracy were every decision was made by a big group of eligible citizens in some cases there were more than 6000 citizens involved. The Athenians also had a council of 500 men called the boule. Ostracism was also another important part in Athenian democracy. Once a year the assembly was asked if they wanted to hold an ostracism were everybody could scratch a name of somebody they wanted to get rid of on a piece of pottery and if they had 6000 pieces of pottery with one person’s name on it that person had to leave the country for ten years in the space of ten days. This happened so one man didn’t get too much power or become a tyrant. The structures of Athenian and Spartan governments were not totally dissimilar. They both were not a...