The Two Faces of Ancient Greece (Athens & Sparta)

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The two most dominating city-states in Greece of their time, Athens and Sparta, were great rivals with two very different ways of life. Sparta's overbearing military and Athens' impartial justice system and government are models for many modern day countries. Even though these two city-states differ greatly from one another, they share many characteristics of their country and their time period.

Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful Greek territories of their time. Like most cities of the same country, they have the same Greek culture, worshipping the same Greek gods and speaking Greek. Like all Greeks, their people loved to talk and tell stories. Although they fought against each other, their citizens equally had great amounts of pride for their entire country as well as their city-states. The two rivals were both devoted mainly to agriculture and based their wealth, but not their success, on agriculture. Both also participated in the annual Olympics, an ancient Greek national athletic competition which is now a worldwide tradition. These to Greek city-states were the most feared city-states in all of Greece.

Though Athens and Sparta were similar, they were also very different. Athens was the first democracy, and it was also the first to govern with trial by jury. Athens' main accomplishment was that it had a very strong Navy. It was the command of the sea and the head of the Naval Alliance, or the Delian League. Athens was the most feared city-state to fight at sea. Its other achievements were that is had excellent forms of art, architecture, drama and literature, philosophy, science, and medicine. It was very wealthy and had beautiful, extravagant temples. The boys of Athens went to school between the ages of five and eighteen, where they learned reading, writing, mathematics, music, poetry, sports and gymnastics. The girls stayed at home and learned spinning, weaving and domestic arts. Athens had well educated men, a good sense...
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