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Athens the Great City State Essay

  • Submitted by: donja37
  • on February 21, 2013
  • Category: History
  • Length: 714 words

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Below is an essay on "Athens the Great City State" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Between 400-500 BC, two great poleis existed in Ancient Greece, Sparta and Athens. Despite being from the same country, these poleis were very different in the structure of their governments, the rights given to their citizens, and their economic conditions.
The most distinct difference between the two poleis governments are that Sparta was an oligarchy and Athens was a democracy. In an oligarchy system of government, power belongs to a select few whereas, in a democracy, power belonged to the many. In Sparta, government consisted of two kings, Overseers (Ephors), council (Gerosia), and the Assembly (Appella). The two kings who were born into this role, had power over religion and the military. Overseers had control over the daily, civil, and criminals matters. The council’s duty was to provide wisdom and suggest laws to be voted on. The Assembly was made up of all Spartan citizens whose sole purpose was to vote on suggested laws. Under an oligarchy system, Spartan citizens were not allowed to suggest laws themselves nor take part in any positions in government unless they were appointed.   In Athens, democracy allowed citizens to have a direct role on how government was operated. Government positions were occupied by ordinary citizens regardless of social or economic standing. Because the government selected its officials through a lottery system, every citizen had an equal chance to be part of the government.   The Athenian democracy allowed all citizens to have a voice and an impact on their government.
Socially, Sparta and Athens were very different from one another. Sparta focused their society on becoming a strong military power within Greece. Athens main focus was to create a society that was intellectually enlightened by art, science, and astronomy. While initial expectation might cause one to think women would have fewer rights in a society concerned with military power as compared to an intellectual society, this is reversed with Sparta and Athens. With...

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