Athens and Sparta Comparison

1307 WordsSep 12, 20066 Pages
Athens and Sparta Athens and Sparta were the two largest Greek city-states of the Ancient world. They were the biggest of rivals, two towering cities at their peak, the most influential cultural, military, and trade powers of western civilization in the first millennium B.C. They are sharply contrasting yet strikingly similar, setting the stage for the Peloponnesian War. Their differences were the effect of geographical isolation but they began with the same base of ideas on which to build. The Peloponnesian War was between the two over Sparta 's fear of Athens ' growth of power, and especially the Megarian Decree, an Athenian economic sanction against the Spartan ally Megara. This sanction against the state would prove disastrous for…show more content…
Spartan society itself changed after its transition tot a military state. The center of Spartan life was the military and the polis. Children were systematically determined at birth whether they were weak or strong and left to die of exposure if deemed unfit to serve the state 's army. This had been performed before in Greece, but the state institutionalized it and made it a common practice. At the age of seven the Spartan male was sent to military and athletic school. There they were taught survival skills, endurance of pain, discipline, and toughness. This continued for 13 years when the Spartan was 20 and became a soldier. A soldier would live in his barracks with fellow soldiers, eat with his fellow soldiers, fight with his fellow soldiers and even die with them. The life of a Spartan male was one of simplicity, discipline, and self-denial. The Spartan ideology was state oriented, the life of a male was designed to serve the state from birth to the age of 60. This ideology, the rigorous military training, and the disciplined maintenance of the Spartan armies gave the polis a stability that was threatened by the Messenian revolt. This stability was seen in the government of the Spartans, which was composed of a dual monarchy at the top with two kings and 28 nobles. This council debated over issues and set legislative and foreign policy. All of the Spartan males
Open Document