Social: distinct social classes between citizens and non-citizens…only adult male citizens could vote



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Chapter 5.2 Reading Quiz: Warring City-States


  1. SPICE- Sparta

Social: Women had more rights in Sparta…trained in wrestling, gymnastics, married later…weak members of society were weeded out…Messenians as helots (serfs)…and there were slaves as well


Political: Assembly- all free adult males: elected officials and voted on major issues…Council of Elders…5 elected officials called Ephors…2 kings ruled jointly over Sparta’s military
Interactions: took control of land from the Messenians and restricted their rights…joined with Athens and other city-states to fight the Persians during the Persian Wars…was the leader of the Peloponnesian League…fought against Athens (and won) during the Peloponnesian War
Culture: polytheistic society…focused on creating a military state…education was military based…boys to barracks at age 7…did not focus on the arts, etc…women were more active
Economic: agricultural society…relied on Messenians to produce the food for the city-state…limited trade



  1. SPICE- Athens

Social: distinct social classes between citizens and non-citizens…only adult male citizens could vote. Did have slavery…women were expected to stay in domestic roles
Political: went through 4 distinct styles of government: monarchy, oligarchy, tyranny, and direct democracy. Draco’s code: first legal code of Athens (debt slavery)…reforms of Solon
Interactions: extended trade and colonization, due to limited arable land…Fought against the Persians in Persian Wars…battles of Marathon and Salamis…fought against the Spartans in the Peloponnesian Wars
Culture: Rich cultural heritage…Golden Age of Athens…focus on Theatre and philosophers
Economic: extended trade and colonization, due to limited arable land…olives and grapes.


  1. Summarize the causes, main events, and outcomes of the Persian Wars.

Causes: Fought between the Greek City-States (including Sparta and Athens) versus the Persian Empire (Darius and Xerxes)…Greeks defeated the Persians at Athens, Marathon, Salamis, and Plateae…Persians won at Thermopylae…outcome: Greeks won, Athens became more powerful…used treasury of Delian League to rebuild Athens


Chapter 5.2: Warring City-States




  1. Rule and Order in Greek City-States

  • By 750BCE, the city-state (polis) was the fundamental political unit in ancient Greece.

  • Polis: city and its surrounding countryside (numerous villages)…city-states controlled between 50 to 500 square miles of territory…home to fewer than 20,000 inhabitants

  • Agora: public center (agoraphobic)

  • Acropolis: fortified hilltop…male citizens gathered to conduct business

  1. Greek Political Structures

  • Monarchy- rule by king or monarch

  • Aristocracy- government ruled by a small group of noble, land-owning families…often from king’s cavalry

  • Trade expanded: new class of wealthy merchants and artisans emerged…either took power or shared with aristocracy

  • Oligarchy: rule by a small group of wealthy people

  • Most Greeks looked down on all non-Greek foreigners as “barbarians”

  1. A New Kind of Army Emerges

  • Dorian Age: only wealthy could afford bronze weapons

  • Iron replaced bronze, and was cheaper, so some ordinary citizens could now afford weapons

    • New type of army composed of merchants, artisans, and small landowners…citizens were expected to defend the polis

  • Hoplites= foot soldiers

  • Phalanx- fighting formation where hoplites stood side by side, with their shield covering half of their body, and half of the body of the person next to them.

  1. Tyrants Seize Power

  • Citizen-soldiers gained power…rulers could not ignore them

  • Many city-states, unemployed farmers and debt-ridden artisans joined in revolt against the nobles

  • Tyrants: an usurper who seizes power…usually appealed to the poor and discontented for support

  • Power shifted between tyrants in some city-states

  1. Sparta Builds a Military State

  • Located on the Peloponnesus (southern part of Greece)…nearly cut off from the rest of Greece by the Gulf of Corinth

  • Sparta built a military state (unique)

  1. Sparta Dominates Messenians

  • Sparta conquered Messenia around 725BCE and took over the land

  • Messenians became helots (peasants forced to stay on land that they worked)

    • Each year helots had to pay half of their yearly crop to the Spartans

  • 600BCE: Messenian Revolt (outnumbered Spartans 8:1)

    • Spartans just barely put down the revolt, then focused on creating a strong city-state, to prevent future rebellions

  1. Sparta’s Government and Society

  • 2 groups governed:

    • Assembly- composed of all free adult males (elected officials, voted on major issues)

    • Council of Elders- proposed laws on which the assembly voted

    • Ephors: 5 elected officials which carried out the laws the council passed…also controlled education and prosecuted court cases

    • Also, 2 Kings ruled over Sparta’s military

  • Population consisted of several social groups

    • Citizens- descended from original inhabitants of the region…including ruling families who owned the land

    • Noncitizens, but free- worked in commerce and industry

    • Helots- Messenians, bound to the land…or as household servants or worked for citizen hoplite warriors

    • Slaves

  1. Spartan Education

  • Men: daily life centered around military training

    • Age of 7: boys moved into army barracks…no shoes…light tunics…slept on hard benches…meager rations…”Spartan Lifestyle”

  • Spartan Girls- ran, wrestled, and played sports

  • Both learned to put service to Sparta above all else, even family

  • Women managed the family estates while their husbands served the polis

  • Spartan Women didn’t have the right to vote, but they did have greater rights than women in other city-states (ex: Athens)

  • 600 to 371BCE: Sparta had the most powerful army in Greece

    • individual expression was discouraged

    • Spartans did not value the arts, little time for artistic expression

    • Spartans valued duty, strength, and discipline over individuality, beauty, and freedom

  1. Athens Builds a Limited Democracy

  • Danger of a helot revolt led to Sparta becoming a military state

  • Danger of revolution among poverty-stricken farmers led to Athens becoming a democracy

  • Sparta and Athens did unify against the Persian armies

  1. Political Developments in Athens

  • Went through a power struggle between rich and poor…made reforms to avoid civil war

  • Attempted to create a democracy, (rule by the people)

  • Direct Democracy (all adult male citizens)

  • Women, slaves, and foreigners were excluded from citizenship and had few rights

  • Slaves formed about 1/3 of the Athenian population: worked in mines, farmed fields, and did housework

  1. Solon’s Political and Economic Reforms

  • Repeated clashes occurred between the aristocrats who governed Athens and the common people.

  • 621 BCE, Greek lawmaker Draco wrote the first legal code (contracts and property ownership)

    • Included debt slavery

  • 594 BCE aristocrats chose Solon to head the government, and gave him full power to reform the law

  • Solon outlawed debt slavery

  • Allowed all citizens to participate and debate policies in the Athenian assembly

  • Solon also introduced legal concept that any citizen could bring charges against wrongdoers

  • Solon’s economic policies benefited many

    • Encouraged export of grapes and olives, initiated profitable overseas trade and demand for these products

  • However, Solon neglected land reforms

  • 546BCE- Pisistratus (nobleman and military leader) seized power as one of Athen’s first tyrants…seeking power at the expense of the nobles, provided funds to help peasants buy farm equipment…tax on agricultural production…also launched massive building program that gave jobs to the poor and earned him their support




  1. Reforms of Cleisthenes

  • 508BCE- Cleisthenes, an Athenian leader, introduced further reforms…worked to make Athens a full democracy, reorganized the assembly to break up the power of the nobility…increased the power of the assembly by allowing all citizens to submit laws for debate and passage…created the Council of Five Hundred, which proposed laws and counseled the assembly…council members chosen by lot…reforms allowed Athenian citizens to participate in a limited democracy…only 1/5 of Athenian residents were actual citizens




  1. The Persian Wars




  1. Battle of Marathon

  • Persian Wars- between Greece and the Persian Empire

    • Began in Ionia on the coast of Anatolia

    • Greek colony there: 520BCE- Persians conquered the area

    • Ionian Greeks revolted, Athens sent ships and soldiers to their aid

    • Persian King Darius defeated the rebels and vowed to destroy Athens in retaliation

  • 490BCE: Persian fleet carried 25,000 men across the Aegean Sea…landed northeast of Athens on a plain called Marathon

  • 10,000 Athenians, arranged in phalanxes…Greeks were outnumbered, charged

  • Persians lacked training in land combat were no match for the phalanx…Persians fled after several hours…casualties 6,400 Persians and 192 Athenians

  • Athenians won the land battle, city was defenseless…

    • Tradition: army leaders chose a young runner, Pheidippides to race back to Athens…brought news of Persian defeat, so Athenians would not give up the city without a fight

      • Pheidippides sprinted from Marathon to Athens, delivered his message, collapsed, and died.

      • Greeks were waiting for the Persians when they sailed into the harbor, and Persians retreated

  1. Thermopylae and Salamis

  • 480BCE: Darius the Great was dead, his son and successor Xerxes tried to crush Greece.

  • Xerxes assembled an enormous invasion force of ships and men

  • Greeks were badly divided…some city-states agreed to fight the Persians…others wanted to let Xerxes destroy Athens

  • Some Greeks even fought on the Persian side...Xerxes’ army met no resistance as it marched down the eastern coast of Greece

  • Xerxes came to a narrow mountain pass at Thermopylae…7,000 Greeks (300 Spartans) blocked his way

    • Held back the Persians for 3 days, until a traitor told the Persians about a secret path around the cliffs

    • Fearing defeat, the Spartans held the pass while the other Greeks retreated

    • All 300 Spartans were killed

  • Athens debated about how to defend the city

    • Themistocles: convinced Athenians to evacuate the city and fight at the sea

    • Positioned the Greek fleet in a narrow channel near the island of Salamis

    • Xerxes set fire to Athens and then sent his warships to block both ends of the channel, but the Persians couldn’t maneuver well

    • Greek ships used battering rams into the Persian’s wooden hulls

    • 1/3 of the Persian fleet sank

    • Spartans defeated the rest of the Persian army at a 3rd battle on the plain of Plataea 479BCE

  1. Consequences of the Persian Wars

  • With the end of the Persian Wars, all the Greek city-states felt a new sense of confidence and freedom.

  • Athens basked in glory of Persian defeat

  • Athens became the leader of alliance of 140 city-states called the Delian League…Athens began using its powerful navy to control the other league members…prestige and wealth led to a Golden Age in Athens


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