Socio-Economic Differences Between Sparta and Athens

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1 Nate Davis HIST-100-005 " Of all the Greek city-states, there were probably no two who were more different than Athens and Sparta. Though geographically, they were a mere 153 miles apart, (far less than some of the other city-states. i.e. Syracuse, Croton, Miletus, etc.), the political and economic differences between them would make one think they were on opposite corners of the globe. Politically Athens formed into the first ever recorded example Democracy, whereas Sparta, though it contained democratic components, was primarily ruled as a Monarchial/Oligarchical society. Economically, Athens position on the coast made it a prime spot for trade with the other City-states of Greece, as well as with foreign lands with whom trade would be impossible otherwise. Athenian Marketplaces, called the Agora, were integral to everyday life for the citizens of Athens. If they weren't merchant class workers who peddled their wares at the Agora, any goods they required would be bought there. Sparta on the other hand, was not as lucky. Though they had large amounts of fertile land they could use for both trade as well as to feed themselves with, their population was too large to be sustained on agriculture alone. Therefore, they had to rely on the conquest and enslaving of bordering nations, in order to grow their society, as well as to simply survive. Though all of these differences contributed to the idealogical barrier between both Athens and Sparta, none were more dividing than the Social practices that ruled their everyday society, as well as the ideologies of their people. Through Sparta’s need for conquest, their entire society became focused around war. From a child’s very birth, they were stripped of identity, and thought of as nothing more than another soldier for the Phalanx. When a child was born, its father would bring it to a group of elders of the tribe
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