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Ancient Greece - Index

Greek Index / Timeline Aegean Sea Civilizations Trojan War Greek Dark Ages Greek Archaic Period
Greek Gods Greek Classical Period - I Persian War Greek Classical Period - II Peloponnesian War
Philosophers Tragedy - Oedipus Greek Classical Period - III Alexander the Great Greek Hellenistic Period

500 - 323 BC - Greek Classical Period - Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC)

From the Persian War to the Peloponnesian War

An excellent description of the events leading to the Peloponnesian War can be found at History for Kids!

Peloponnesian War

An excellent description of the Peloponnesian War can be found at History for Kids!

The Sicilian Expedition and Alcibiades

An excellent description of the Sicilian Expedition, Alcibiades, and more information about the Peloponnesian War can be found at History for Kids!

COMPARING SPARTA AND ATHENS

The Greeks of Sparta and Athens spoke different dialects and developed different political systems, and very different societies. Sparta sought conformity, Athens allowed individual expression. The two city-states would serve as the role models for most other Greek city states. Their differences would lead to the downfall of Greece.

Category

Sparta

Athens

 

P

O

L

I

T

I

C

S

  • Solution to its land hunger was to conquer its neighbors, enslave them (helots)
  • Began with Messenia , which outnumbered them 7 to 1 (750 B.C.)
  • Ruled by two kings (compromise made between two powerful families), five ephors, who were elected by an assembly of citizens (men over 30)
  • Harsh laws (Lycurgus Code)
  • Run like a military state (totalitarian)

 

  • Athens solution to growth was colonization
  • Athens began as a monarchy, then aristocracy, tyranny, then democracy (the Greeks invented democracy)
  • Began with Draco (621 B.C.), who sought order (tough code)
  • Solon (594 B.C.), who rewrote the laws, ended debt slavery, est. peoples' courts, expanded the right to vote (property, not birth)
  • Peisistratus (560 B.C.), who exiled nobles, divided their land, encouraged trade, supported the arts, instituted new festivals; however, his son was a harsh ruler
  • Cleisthenes (510 B.C.), he opposed class divisions based on wealth, divided citizens into 10 tribes based on where they lived, set up the Council of 500 (50 members from each tribe), made all citizens over 20 part of the Assembly (30,000), and it could choose archons and generals, used ostracism to oust unworthy, began paying officials, term limits established
  • By 500 B.C. Athens was a democracy (but for only male citizens, about 20% of pop., still practiced slavery), it would blossom under Pericles

 

E

C

O

N.

  • Based on farming
  • Little industry
  • Discouraged trade (outsiders)
  • No coin money
  • Sea traders, small farmers
  • Encouraged trade
  • Lots of small industry
  • Encouraged artisans (lured away from other places, gave them citizenship)

 

 

S

O

C

I

E

T

Y

 

 

 

 

  • Structured to ensure military might
  • Rigid social divisions: Spartiates (full citizens), Periocci (free, but not citizens), and Helots (always feared revolts, used spy networks, had helot seasons, license to kill trouble makers)
  • All dressed much alike, ate together (and really bad food), no luxuries
  • Family life sacrificed to the polis
  • Practiced infanticide
  • All boys closely monitored, taken from families, given rigid military training
    • At 7 - given to the state
    • At 12 - began military training
    • From 20 to 60 - mil. preparedness (the Spartan warrior was most feared)
    • At 30 - made citizen, allowed to marry
  • For girls
    • Taught right values, to make Spartan babies
    • Married at 14 (ritualistic ceremony)
    • Often ran homes, businesses
  • Society also structured, but more fluid: citizens, metics, slaves (women could not be citizens)
  • Education was needed to promote democratic values
  • Boys studied Homer, music, rhetoric, read and wrote poetry, gymnastics, math and science (became citizens at age 19, and between 20-49, some mil. requirements)
  • Girls not worthy!

 



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