Sparta, one of the powerful city-states, retains this name for good reason. They took over Messenia and used the land wisely, by making a government using the Code of Lycurgus. The Spartan women were given a lot more freedom compared to other Greek city-states; thus, every person provided a part in the development of their city. They represented duty, strength, discipline, beauty, and freedom of thought. Spartans valued power and built their city-state to protect themselves from revolts and attackers. Because the Spartan's strong obligation to do their duties, they exemplified a good name and showed it by their powerful city-state.
Athens, a city-state that gave freedom to their people, was filled with people willing to learn new ideas and become educated to become more intelligent. They avoided wars and ruining their great city-state by reforming their government. The leading reformers, Solon and Cleisthenes, changed the laws and rules to give the people more freedom and independence. Solon strengthened the economy by canceling debts and encouraging industry. His political reforms gave male citizens the ability to vote and begin a new legal system. Cleisthenes invented many more laws to give the government a full democracy.
In 520 B.C., Persian armies attacked and conquered some Greek lands and people. Athens wanted freedom so they aided the Greeks of Ionia against the approaching Persian attackers. Later in the war, Spartans joined the fight for freedom by defending a point with 7,000 Greeks from Xerxes and his huge army. Greece destroyed the Persian army by ramming their ships at sea, at the end of the war. Athens led the city-states to victory and later ruled them in an alliance of the Delian League.