Comparing Spartan And Athenian Democracy In Ancient Greece

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Spartan and Athenian Political Structure The political systems of ancient Greece’s Spartan and Athenian societies stood opposite to each other. Where Sparta was ruled by the few in an Oligarchy, Athens developed the humanities’ first democracy. This paper compares and contrasts some of the differences between these two Greek powers during the Archaic and Classical periods (800-323 BCE). Historical Background On one side was Sparta, a warrior society that focused on land-based armies and agriculture on Southern Greece’s Peloponnesus peninsula. Theirs was a class-based society that included conquered people called “Helots”, a peasant serf class of salves, forced to farm the land and share their wealth with Spartan overseers. Od slightly higher social status were the “Periokoi”, who while technically free, saw none of the same benefits enjoyed by Sparta’s male citizens, known as the “Homioi”. Controlling Helot uprisings became a full time business. The end of the Second Messenian War in 668 BCE, saw Sparta intensify its military regime model (Brand, P.J. n.d.). To the east of Sparta stood Athens, on…show more content…
The Persian Wars appear to be the only time both groups joined forces in a common cause (Brand, n.d.). There appear to be far more differences between Sparta and Athens. These include: • Civic Participation: Athen’s method of choosing the Boule and Heliaea by random lot suggests an attempt to ensure government participation by the many, versus the privileged few. That Athenians were at times paid to participate, strengthens the notion that all classes of citizens were able to contribute at some level in the government. Sparta’s assembly excluded free Spartan males who were not in the military (The Greeks,

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