Athens vs. Sparta (Pro Athens)
If I had to choose to live in “the school of Greece” (Athens) or the “boot camp” polis (Sparta), then I would choose to live in Athens. Athens, in many ways, is a fantastic polis, from education to government whereas Sparta focused only on war. In Athens, people were motivated not only to have good physical fitness but also to use and exercise the mind. An Athenian starts school at age 5, and depending on how wealthy your family is, you may still be studying in your mid-twenties and up to age 30! Throughout this time, you will learn things like reading and writing to military training to ethics and philosophy.
Because of the wonderous education, Athens formed a near-perfect democrary in just 200 years! With the democracy, all the free citizents of Athens are allowed to vote on what they think is right; of the population in Athens, including slaves, about 75% of them are free citizents and all of them have a say in the government. On the other hand, in Sparta, the males have completely scheduled life if they don’t get abandoned in the mountains because people decided that their weak.
Also, while Sparta had an army Athens had an army plus a navy. A strong navy and a strong army lead to a success in the polis of Athens. Not only does Athens have a strong military, but it had wonderful strategies. For example, the time Persia attacked Athens, the Athenians were outnumbered to the Perians 2:1 and still defeated Persia. The Athenians destroyed 3,000 Persians and only lost 192 of their men.
Furthermore, the agora in Athens is one of the busiest places in Greece. The agora is like the center of a town or a plaza where the marketplace is, where most of the people’s jobs are, and it’s a place for worshiping Gods, like Athena in the Temple of Athena. Because of how busy the Agora is, it is very bright and colorful and “decorated” with many cultural acheivments. In the other polis, Sparta, there is no such thing as a colorful agora, filled with joy an laughter; because of this, Sparta had no cultural acheivements (architecture, poems, epics, democracy, etc.) greater or parallel to Athens.
Another thing is that we didn’t just spend time on education and other brain-consuming things; the people of Athens had great physical fitness. In fact, the first Olympics were created in Athens and held by the Temple of Zeus, another grand building, because of how healthy the fellow Athenians are. As you can see, Athenians lives free lives, while Spartan men had a literally “scheduled” life with almost no freedom. Athens in many ways is a more joyful place to be, whereas Spartan just kill non-Spartan people for no reason and they were also scared of their own slaves. As Athens moved toward her Golden Age, Sparta moved backward in cultural acheivements. If you want to live in a colorful, polis with lots of joy and laughter that’s reaching her Golden Age, come to Athens. Or, if you want to live in a military boot camp where you were taught to steal, but if you were caught, you may be killed, then Sparta is the place for you!