Sparta and Athens
The Athenians were located near the sea in a region of Greece called Attica. Because the Athenians were so close to the sea they became traders trading with other civilizations around the Mediterranean region. Also this encouraged Athens to build a strong naval fleet. Due to their constant travel around the Mediterranean Athens began to learn about other cultures along with learning new ideas while at the same time spreading their own culture and ideas. Sparta:
The Spartans were located on a plain between the mountains and the sea where they farmed on the fertile soil. The land on which they were located was called the Peloponnesus and was located a peninsula called the Peloponnesus. The Spartans were built inland so they had no use for the sea. Right next to them was a group of people called the Messenians. The Spartans conquered these people and forced them into slavery. Later the Messenians revolted against the Spartans and the Spartans could barely subdue them. After this all boys were trained to be soldiers for times of war or a Messinian (now called the Helots) revolt. The soldiers had to be well trained especially since the Helots outnumbered the Spartans 20-1. Government
Athens operated under a democratic government. All free Athenian men over 18 years old were considered citizens and only citizens could hold government positions. Women, children, foreigners, and slaves were not allowed government positions. There were three government groups. There was the assembly which included all Athenian citizens, there was the council of 500 which were Athenian citizens above the age of 30 were chosen by lottery, and there was the stategoi which were elected. The assembly composed of at least 6,000 citizens which had a meeting every 10 days. The Assembly debated and voted on laws that were proposed by the council. When voting on yes or no issues the assembly members used rocks to vote. They would use a black rock to stand for no, and a white rock to stand for yes. The council ran the daily business of the government and proposed new laws. An interesting fact about the assembly is that if not enough citizens showed up for a meeting slaves would gather citizens using ropes dipped in red paint. Often men were embarrassed to arrive at a meeting with their clothes covered in red paint. Finally the stategoi was a group of 10 citizens who ran and commanded the army. Since it was crucial to be selective in choosing good military leaders the strategoi were the only government officials to be elected. Sparta:
The Spartan government operated very differently than the Athenian government. To start off rather than being a democracy like Athens, Sparta had an oligarchic government or a government ruled by a few people. Like in Athens there were three branches but their roles would be much different. At the top of the pyramid were two kings who inherited their power. One of the kings usually led the Spartan army. Next down on the list was the council of elders. This group was composed of 28 male citizens all of whom were older than 60 and came from a noble family. The council was elected by members of the assembly who many historians believe yelled for their favorite candidate. The candidate that received the most cheering was elected and once elected the councilors served for life. The council of elders held almost all of the power in Sparta, as they made laws for the assembly...
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