Hellenic Athens and Sparta

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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 few kings, however, were overruled by the nobility due to the rise of the middle class. This allowed the tyrants to influence the archons and the popular assembly to ratify laws that protected the people. Many significant figures influenced this movement such as Draco, the man who helped establish written laws in Athens in 621 B.C.E.; Solon, the man who encouraged trade and the popular assembly’s ratification of laws, creating an oligarchic plutocratic democracy in 594 B.C.E.; Peisistratus, a military hero helped kick the noble class out in 560 B.C.E.; and Cleisthenes, who helped the popular assembly to be capable of making laws in 507 B.C.E. After these changes, Hellenistic Athens simply ended up with what we usually classify as a “limited democracy.” Sparta, however, remained constant with a diarchy; one king specialized in the military issues, while the other king ruled the nation. After the kings, the greatest amounts of powers were given to the Five Ephers. The Five Ephers consisted of five elders that had complete control of the statutes of the laws. Even though the system branched down further to the Counsel of Spartiates and the Gerusia, the Five Ephers could negate and amend their own laws. They had complete control over the laws, which
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