Athens & Sparta

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There were many poleis during the 5th century in Greece, but there were only two of which were the main dominant powers: democratic Athens and the military oligarchy of Sparta. Greek culture achieved prominence through these two poleis. Athens and Sparta desired to be a strong nation and achieved that through very different ways of life. The Spartans’ focus was directed towards the military, while the Athenians were more interested in their wellbeing and culture. The US constitution can be compared to government models of Athens and Sparta. Athens was one of the first known democracies: ruled by the people. Athenian’s based their life around philosophy and the arts. Athens took its name from the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. It is the center for financial, political, economic, and cultural life in Greece. Athenian citizens were free and only were required to obey their laws and respect their gods. They attained equality of speech in the assembly where the word of a poor person had the same worth as that of a rich person. Athens’ social structure consisted of all male citizens divided into numerous classes. The aristocrats at the top held large estates and made up the cavalry. The middle class consisted of mostly farmers, and the lower class usually consisted of craftsmen or rowers. Only twenty percent of the total population of Athens actually had voting rights. Athenian military status was predetermined by the soldier’s social class. Women were forced to stay at home at all times and were controlled by their fathers while growing up then by their husbands after marriage. They were mostly uneducated and spent their time managing the household. Sparta on the other hand was usually classified as an oligarchy: ruled by the few. The Spartan government was controlled by a group of five men called ephors. Most of the decisions
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