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The cultural and the military center of the Greek Empire: history of Athens and Sparta

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Greece is a country in Southern Europe that is located on the Balkan Peninsula. It is a popular tourist destination because of its geography, climate, history, and architecture. Most of Greece’s history comes from Athens and Sparta. These were the two prominent Greek city-states during The Classical Age, however Athens and Sparta were not very much alike.

At this point in time, Athens was the cultural center of the world. It was the home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, along with other historic points of historic value. Athens was the cultural and trading hub of the world. Most of the people in Athens were traders and merchants. The Athenians were traders because Athens is located on the Attica Peninsula, which is in the Mediterranean Sea. This allowed them to trade with other groups of people. The main group of people the Athenian traded with was the Egyptians. They also traded with the people of what is now Italy. The people of Athens believed highly in an education, and as a result of this, some of the smartest people in the world at this time were from Athens.

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During the Golden Age of Athens, it was home to some of the brightest minds. Some of these people were Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Pythagoras. Socrates was a philosopher who lived from 469- 399 B.C.. He was completely honest, and would never tell a lie. He taught outside of the Parthenon, a large temple in Athens that is dedicated to Athena. Socrates believed uneducated people should not hold office and the Greek gods did not exist. He was sent to trial in 399 B.C. and was found guilty of corrupting the youth of Athens and denying the existence of the Greek gods. His punishment for these crimes was to die by drinking hemlock, a very poisonous substance. His greatest student was Plato who became a philosopher and also wrote a book. His book was called Plato’s Republic. It explains what Justice is. Another great philosopher of the time was Aristotle. Aristotle was a student of Plato. Aristotle opened his own school in 335 B.C.. Like Plato, Aristotle was also a writer. His four most popular books are Politics, Ethics, Poetics, and Logic. Aristotle’s main teaching was that good followed a moderate course between extremes. Pythagoras was a mathematician. His Pythagorean Theorem is what has made him so well-known. It is a fundamental part of geometry. Hippocrates was a Greek scientist was worked mainly with medicine. He is known as the father of medicine. Hippocrates made the Hippocratic Oath, which states that a doctor shall do no harm to patient.

Another highlight of Athenian culture that flourished during the Golden age is theater and plays. Greek theater evolved out of religious ceremonies to Greek gods. The types of dramas in The Golden Age of Greece are tragedy, comedy, and satire. Aeschylus is the founder of Greek tragedies. One of the most famous tragedies is Antigone. It is about moral issues of Athenians. It is written by Sophocles, a famous playwright. In thee Classical Age, Athens was very different than Sparta.

Sparta was a city-state in Greece that was located on the banks of the Eurotas River. The Spartans were Unlike Athens, Sparta was a military-like city-state. The main focus of Sparta was to have a great military. Sparta felt they needed a strong military for conquering other land and in case of a revolt of the helots. They had the strongest military in the world because they were so concerned about it. In Sparta, the boys were trained to be soldiers, and the girls were trained to be great mothers. The people of Sparta did not trade or travel a lot because other civilizations were so far away. In Athens, women were given hardly any rights, however this was different in Sparta. For example, in Sparta a women could own property or run a business.That was very rare at this time.

The forms of militaries between Athens and Sparta were different. Athens had a strong navy, however Sparta had a strong army. Due to Sparta’s location inland it was not very easy for Athens to attack Sparta. To attack Sparta, Athens had to send their navy’s ships down the Eurotas river. Sparta was located on the banks of this river. It was difficult for Sparta to be attacked this way because Sparta could see when the ships were coming. This is one of the factors that contributed to Sparta winning the Peloponnesian War. The Athenian War ship were called triremes. They were large ships that were rowed with oars. The most famous battle the Athenian’s won using their navy was The Battle of Salamis. Sparta’s form of military was an army. Their army was the strongest in the world. Young boys for trained to be in the Spartan military from the time they were 7, however only men ages 20 through 30 were in the army. When the spartan army attacked, they used a formation called a hoplite phalanx. hoplite Phalanx is a formation of soldiers that was about 8 rows deep and was a quarter mile wide. This was the strongest formation possible during this time. Using this formation, they won nine wars. The most famous of these wars would be The Peloponnesian War, which was a war between Athens and Sparta. Sparta won this war and proved that they were stronger than Athens.

In Athens, the form of government was a democracy. Their form of democracy was a limited democracy. A limited democracy is a democracy where representatives are voted into office to make decisions for people. The difference between this and a democracy is that in a democracy, the people have a complete say in what is done. Athens started using a limited democracy as their form of government around 500 B.C.. Sparta’s form of government was completely different that Athens’. Spartans believed in having two kings rule the city-state. A 28-member council limited their powers. The Spartans believed this government was better than a democracy because it was easier to rule with, and it took much less time to decide on political matters.

The geography of Athens and the geography of Sparta are very different. Athens was located on the edge of the Attica Peninsula, however Sparta was located on the banks of the Eurotas River, The main river of Greece. Sparta was located in the middle of Greece. This made it hard to trade for the Spartans, however Athens was located on Mediterranean Sea. This made it easy for Athens to trade with other groups of people, such as Egypt and Italy. Both Athens and Sparta had mountains near them. This is one of the reasons these two city-states never came together to be a bigger city-state or possibly even the start of an empire.

Most religions in the world during the time of ancient Greece were polytheistic. Greek people believed in a polytheistic religion with many gods. The people in Athens and Sparta believed in the same religion. The three main gods of the ancient Greek religion were Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. They believed Zeus was the ruler of everything on Earth, Poseidon was the ruler of the sea, and Hades was the ruler of the underworld. They Greek people also believed in afterlife in the underworld. Greek Mythology revolves around the Greek gods. The people of Greece believed that the spirits of the dead went there. A great number of people who found in the Trojan and Theban wars went to a place called Elysium, a place that is somewhat like Heaven. This is stated by Homer in his epics.

Athenian and Spartan homes were very similar, but they were also different. They were both fairly simple. Most Athenian homes were made from mud and grass, but some were made from stone. Spartan house were mostly made from mud, wood, or stone. In a Spartan house, cooking was done indoors, unless you were poor. If you were poor, it was done outside. An athenian home consisted of several rooms. These rooms were a kitchen, storage, some type of bathroom, bedrooms, and a lounge room. The houses of the poor and wealthy in Athens were almost the same size because of the demand for space.

Athens and Sparta were two incredible city-states that were located in Greece, but they have they’re differences. Some of their differences were they’re geography, form of government, and military strengths. Athens and Sparta are also extremely alike. For example, they believe in the same religion. Altogether, Athens and Sparta are the two Greek city-states that have definitely left their mark on world.


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