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Similarities and Differences between Spartan and Athenian society By Alexander J. Knights, 15 September 2007; Revised
Category: Classical Mediterranean and Europe: The Greeks
Contents »
1.

Introduction
2.

Structure of Government
3.

Militaristic Focuses
4.

Judgment and views of Women
5.

Post-dinner social gatherings
6.

Conclusion
7.

Notes
Introduction

Spartan and Athenian society were very different in many aspects. However, at the same time, the two shared a myriad of characteristics in common. The differences are what set the two apart, while the things they shared in common are what united them as Greek city-states. Sparta and Athens shared similarities and differences in their systems of government, militaristic focuses, judgment and views of women. In addition to this, the social gatherings of Athenians and Spartans both had affinities and contrasts.

Structure of Government

Possibly the most characteristic divide between these two great powers of the Ancient Mediterranean is their differing systems of government.

Sparta was an “Oligarchy”. The Ancient Greek “oligos” translates to “few”, while “archia” means “rule” – ‘rule by the few’. Five Ephors were elected annually, accompanied by two kings, who passed on the crowns to their chosen sons. The Spartan equivalent of the senate was its “gerousia”, while Ephors and the Kings would regularly attend the “apella” (general assembly) to develop and try to pass “rhetrai”, or motions and decrees. Other purposes of...
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