The Ancient Greece culture has made many contributions to Western Civilization. The Ancient Greeks affected government, fine arts, concept of armies, and medics. The Greek culture has had a very profound impact on the way people live and run their societies today. The biggest contribution from Ancient Greece is their government. Greece had the first known democracy.
Hellenic Athens and Sparta The barbaric stereotypes people think of when referring to the Spartan society makes the Athenian civilization seem to correspond to our modern society. However, the savage imagery we conceive of the Spartans prevents the exploration of their civility. Even though they did have an extremely militaristic state of mind, they also had an incredibly well organized government system. Politically, socially, and culturally, the two Hellenic city-states of Greece had many differences, but simultaneously were very similar. In the eighth century B.C.E., Hellenic Athens was an oligarchic government.
The government was once ruled over by kings, but then changed into a democracy. Wisdom was thought to be the most important aspect in forming a successful city-state. They believed knowledge was everything. Both Athens and Sparta are Greek city-states. This means that the religion, language, and culture are alike in both.
Form and function “Future ages will wonder at as, as present ages do now” In the classical period of 500Bc-336Bc the Greek city of Athens reached its greatest cultural and political heights. This included the invention of democracy, many epic scientific discoveries and the construction of the Acropolis with the Parthenon. The ideas of Greek society, attention to detail and a mathematically explained harmony in the natural world were things that the Greeks believed set them apart from the barbarians. It is these ideals that are represented in their Architecture. The original Parthenon was built on the Acropolis in Athens.
Instead, the people chose officials to represent them. On the other hand, Athenians did let people vote on matters rather than just have representatives vote for them. The Athenian government was introduced into a set of laws that helped end local rivalries and break the power of the aristocracy. This introduction gave a structure to their government and made it a democracy. After this, all citizens could be considered equal before the law and guaranteed freedom of speech.
During the period 500-440BC, there were a number of radical changes to the government system in Athens, which were seen to make it more democratic. The term democratic refers to rule or government by the people or citizens of the area, here referring to the male citizens over 18 years of age. Prior to this period, in the 6th century BC, Athenians Solon and Kleisthenes had begun the transfer to Democracy through the creation of isonomia, or 'equality under the law'. They did this by attempting to lessen the power of the aristocracy, and through the institution of various political bodies, such as the Boule and the Ekklesia. Later leaders of Athens, such as Themistokles, Kimon, Ephialtes and Perikles built upon such reforms.
Democracy appeared in Athens with the reform created by Cleisthenes in the beginning of the fifth century B.C. The word democracy comes from the Greeks words demos, meaning people, and kratia meaning power. There were many elements that went into making this democracy. One, was the type of people who participated in the democracy. Also, the nature of the city-state would impact the democracy of Greek culture.
Assess the contribution of speeches in Thucydides’ work. Thucydides’ introduces his work by presenting it as a “history of the war fought against each other by the Peloponnesians and the Athenians”. However his work was not a simple narrative of the events that unfolded, Thucydides wanted his work to be judged as useful because he believed that history repeats itself. He wrote his work largely to explain the fall of the Athenian empire. Thucydides’ work, however, was not simply a book written about Athens as the protagonist which was defeated by its foolish over-ambition, he wrote about the Athenians and Spartans with similar objectivity, acknowledging both their weaknesses and virtues.
Besides the economic damage, Ionian cities suffered from political pressure: in all the cities, ruled by Persians there were tyrants appointed. The failure of The Scythian Campaign of Darius disrupted the prestigious of his army. At last, the fewness of Persian troops located in the western part of Asia Minor made Greeks confident of the fast victory. The history of Fifth century BC deserves special attention. It was an excellent example of how the mistakes in the organization can spoil the results.
In reality Athenian democracy is a complete mockery of itself by not abiding by the ‘guidelines of democracy.’(i.e. for the people by the people). Although Athenian Democracy has its flaws it also has positives, during the time of democratic Athens, Athens was at its height of wealth, it was the most knowledgeable state in ancient Greece, Athens was the centre point of the time. Athenian democracy worked in many ways, with the extent of the voting systems Athens was able to vote quite accurately and thoroughly. At the time of democratic Athens a very influential figure took the chance of becoming a king in a democratic society, Pericles in some ways he achieved what he set out to do, Pericles had a great influence on the Athenian democracy, a great example of his influence is his funeral oration or his famed building programme.