The city-state of Athens was going through a change in government. Solon, a rich noble, was chosen to restructure the government by preparing a constitution. Athens used a constitution that was first introduced in Sparta by Cleisthenes.
Sparta was in the south-central region of Greece in an area known as the Peloponnesus. Spartans had little interest for farming. Helots worked the land. Helots had to give half of their crops to the aristocrats. The aristocrats owned the land but lived in the middle of the polis. A polis is a city-state.
The first Persian war started when the Ionians revolted from Persia and asked for help from the mainland Greeks. Darius, the Persian king, wanted to punish the mainland Greeks for helping the Ionians. Darius sent a fleet of 600 ships and a well-equipped army to Greece. They landed on the plain of Marathon. Marathon is located 26 miles northeast of Athens.
The second Persian war started when Xerxes, Darius's son, sent 250,000 soldiers across the Aegean Sea and conquered northern Greece. To stop the Persians from taking all of Greece, 20 Greek city-states banded together. The Spartans led the army while the Athens led the navy. First, 7000 Greek soldiers headed for a narrow pass of Thermopylae. Thermopylae is about 100 miles from Athens. The combined city-states held the Persian army off for three days. That gave the people of Athens time to flee to the islands of Salamis.
The Peloponnesian war started when Athenians attacked one of Sparta's allies. A group of city-states led by Sparta declared war on Athens and the Delian league. The Delian League was a collection of city-states allied with Athens. The war ended in 404 B.C., when Athens surrendered to Sparta.
Philip became ruler of Macedonia in 359 B.C. Philip flattered local Greek officials and gave them gold. He found ways to cause disagreement among Greek city-states. When the city-states became weak from... [continues]
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