A Comparison of Athens and Sparta - Research Paper Example

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The Greeks of ancient times were warrior tribes who had a common language but fought incessantly with each other struggling for the possession of the most fertile lands.By the beginning of 5th century B.C. there were about four and a half million men in Greece…
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A Comparison of Athens and Sparta
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Download file to see previous pages It was at this time that Athens emerged as the most powerful of the city states. The city emerged as the cultural capital of the entire Greek world and it was the cradle of contemporary western science and philosophy. The Athenian empire reached its zenith during Pericles’s life time. The city was full of splendor and Athenians themselves believed it to be the ‘City of God’. On the other hand, Sparta represented to a totally different world. It had its own philosophy about administration, military, education and marriage. It also differed from Athens on ideas about the nature of relationship with other Greek empires. Although Sparta was a strong military state, it was content to remain in its territory and didn’t indulge in warfare for acquisitions of new territories. On the other hand, Athens had expansionist policies. It wanted to get hold of more and more Greek territories. This expansionist policy of Athens, proposed by Pericles, led to war between the two states which ended with the defeat of Athens. Athens suffered defeat at the hands of Sparta. Although Athenians were world renowned for their superior naval units, they succumbed to the Spartan military expertise. The reason for Spartan victory can be attributed to the upbringing and training of the Spartan soldiers. This demands an in-depth investigation into the similarities and dissimilarities of the two states. The Spartans differed from Athenians in many ways. The main points around which the commonalties or differences between the two states can be discussed are Economy, Art, Lifestyle, Women, Military and Sexuality. The economic or financial policies of a nation or state depend on the nature of politics prevalent in the country. Athens and Sparta were similar on this feature because both the state’s governments were elected by people. While the Athenian government pioneered the democratic system, Sparta was a military aristocracy (McNesse, 31). In Athens, participation came from all walks of life. Although there were restrictions on women, men were free to discuss new ideas in the assembly. On the other hand, Sparta had much more inflexible political framework. Its own ideologies and policies made Sparta politically and economically less active. Out of the two, Athens was more economically active. It was at the centre of a great trading network that dealt with goods from as far the Britain in the west to India in the east, bringing untold wealth into the city. This trade and Athens’s expansionist ambitions led to the building of Athenian naval empire which stretched across the Aegean Sea. Agriculture was the mainstay of Athenian economy. It also prospered because of the profits brought by mining and metal crafts. As said earlier, trade also played an important part in Athens’ economy. This is a feature where there lie stark differences between the two empires. In Sparta, economic activities were carried outside the city while there was no such thing with Athens. Sparta also lacked a currency system, a system which was very well developed in Athens. This meant that Sparta not only had very less interaction with the outside world, it also lay dormant as far as trade was concerned. Art is a dimension where the two empires Athens and Sparta differed a lot. During the period of coexistence of Sparta and Athens, Athens produced some of the greatest sculptors and philosophers of all time. Socrates, Phidias and Plato were philosophers who still represent the immortal soul of Greek and art and Philosophy. On the other hand, Sparta was only concerned with its military glory. Although early Sparta produces marvelous pottery, it was no match to Athenian art and mathematics. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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