The Differences Between Athens and Sparta - Essay

Topics: Sparta, Democracy, Ancient Greece Pages: 2 (760 words) Published: May 13, 2012
The Differences Between Athens and Sparta
Athens and Sparta, two of the most influential powers in ancient Europe, were quite different in many ways. Some of the main differences between Athens and Sparta were their governments, their education systems, their people’s rights, and the way their people were treated as a whole. They had completely different forms of government. They had educational systems that taught things almost completely opposite of each other, one military-based and one more focused on the arts. Also the people had different rights. Athenian men had more rights than Spartan men, while Spartan women had more rights than Athenian women. The governments of Athens and Sparta were very different in their leaders and their styles of government. Sparta had an oligarchy, which is a government “ruled by the few.” The Greek words “oligos,” translates to “few”, and “archia,” means “rule.” They had two kings, who passed down the crowns to their sons; five Ephors, who were elected annually; and a Council of Elders made up of twenty-eight men over the age of sixty. Male citizens were also involved in the Spartan government through the Assembly, male citizens over the age of thirty that had certain qualifications. These men voted on things like electing the Ephorate and Council of Elders. Athenian government however was nearly completely different, having the world’s first direct democracy. Democracy means “power to the people.” This comes from the words “demos,” meaning people and “kratos,” meaning power. Athens had a direct democracy, not a representative democracy. They were similar to Sparta in having an Assembly, rather than having representatives. The Athenian Assembly, however, was different because it did not have certain criteria that needed to be fulfilled and did not require all to attend; they could attend by their own will. They also had a Council of 500. These men were elected by the people and were required to be over the age...
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