Athens vs Sparta

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If you had the choice between living in ancient Athens or ancient Sparta which, would you choose? While one stands for democracy, the other stands for war. Surely having been raised in America, one is more likely to side immediately with the most democratic one. However, not everyone was equal in Athens. Also, although Sparta was almost entirely focused on war, one half of the population was not completely alienated by the other. Athens and Sparta had completely opposite ways of living.

Although Sparta and Athens are in the same modern county, they have very different geography. Athens is located in the plains of Attika between the Parnitha and Hymettus Mountains. The mild Mediterranean climate is the main reason people chose to live there. It is also situated close to the Saronic Gulf, which allowed for an abundant amount of trade by sea. The Athenians became very respectable sailors. The mountainous area that the ancient Athenians chose to live in did not contain much living space or fertile land. Because of this, Athens was forced to conquer nearby colonies. By 454 BCE, Athens had a decently sized empire. As opposed to the mountainous terrain of Athens, the ancient Spartans decided to settle in the Evrotas River Valley. This provided the Spartans with fresh water and fertile land. Also, the valley of the Evrotas is a natural fortress. Although Sparta was not necessarily landlocked, it did have its own harbor town, Gytheio. The Spartans were much more self-reliant than the Athenians, as they grew most of their food.

Ancient Athens and Sparta also had different schooling systems. Athenian boys were tutored at home until they were six or seven. After that, they were sent off the private schools. Private schools were relatively inexpensive so most boys continued their schooling. Young students learned calisthenics and ball games. The older students’ curriculum was more centered on military training. They were taught running, boxing, and wrestling. They also...