Worksheet – Athenian attitudes towards Sparta – Passage 1



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Worksheet – Athenian attitudes towards Sparta – Passage 1:

The following was a statement by Brasidas, a Spartan general, to his men before going into battle with Athens. It was written by the Athenian historian Thucydides in Book 5 of his History of the Peloponnesian War:

 “Show yourself a brave man, as a Spartan should; and do you, allies, follow him like men, and remember that zeal, honor, and obedience mark the good soldier, and that this day will make you either free men and allies of Lacedaemon (Sparta), or slaves of Athens…No cowardice then on your part, seeing the greatness of the issues at stake, and I will show that what I preach to others I can practice myself.” 

According to the author, what kind of people were the Spartans? What evidence in the passage led you to this answer?

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What do you think is the author’s perspective on Sparta? Use evidence in the passage to support your answer.

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Would a typical Athenian agree with the author? Why/Why not?

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Name ___________________________________________ Date ____________________

Class ____________________

Worksheet – Athenian attitudes towards Sparta – Passage 2:

The following was part of a speech by Pericles, an Athenian politician, honoring the war dead after the first year of the war with Sparta. It was written by the Athenian historian Thucydides in Book 2 of his History of the Peloponnesian War:

"If we turn to our military policy, there also we differ from our antagonists (enemies). We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing…while in education, where our rivals from their very cradles by a painful discipline seek after manliness, at Athens we live exactly as we please, and yet are just as ready to encounter every legitimate danger.”

According to the author, what kind of people were the Spartans? What evidence in the passage led you to this answer?

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What do you think is the author’s perspective on Sparta? Use evidence in the passage to support your answer.

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Would a typical Athenian agree with the author? Why/Why not?

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Name ___________________________________________ Date ____________________

Class ____________________

Worksheet – Athenian attitudes towards Sparta – Passage 3:

The following was a statement about the Spartans by a Persian commander, and written by the Athenian historian Herodotus in his book Histories:

“These men have come to fight us for the pass and they are getting ready to do just that. It is their custom to do their hair when they are about to risk their lives. But you can rest assured that if you defeat these men and the force that awaits you in Sparta, there is no other race on earth which will take up arms and stand up to you, my lord, because you are now up against the noblest and the most royal city in Greece, and the bravest men.”

According to the author, what kind of people were the Spartans? What evidence in the passage led you to this answer?

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What do you think is the author’s perspective on Sparta? Use evidence in the passage to support your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Would a typical Athenian agree with the author? Why/Why not?

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Name ___________________________________________ Date ____________________

Class ____________________

Worksheet – Athenian attitudes towards Sparta – Passage 4:

The following is from The Constitution of the Lacedaemonians by Xenophon, ah Athenian general who lived in Sparta after the Peloponnesian War. Here he discusses the laws put down by the founder of Spartan culture, Lycurgus:

It occurred to me one day that Sparta, though among the most thinly populated of states, was evidently the most powerful and most celebrated city in Greece; and I fell to wondering how this could have happened. But when I considered the institutions of the Spartans, I wondered no longer. In other states, I suppose, all men make as much money as they can. One is a farmer, another a ship-owner, another a merchant, and others live by different handicrafts. But at Sparta Lycurgus forbade freeborn citizens to have anything to do with business affairs. He insisted on their regarding as their own concern only those activities that make for civic freedom. Indeed, how should wealth be a serious object there, when he insisted on equal contributions to the food supply and on the same standard of living for all, and thus cut off the attraction of money for indulgence' sake? Why, there is not even any need of money to spend on cloaks: for their adornment is due not to the price of their clothes, but to the excellent condition of their bodies.

According to the author, what kind of people were the Spartans? What evidence in the passage led you to this answer?

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What do you think is the author’s perspective on Sparta? Use evidence in the passage to support your answer.

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Would a typical Athenian agree with the author? Why/Why not?

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Name ___________________________________________ Date ____________________

Class ____________________

Worksheet – Athenian attitudes towards Sparta – Passage 5:

In this excerpt from History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides describes the relationship between Sparta and Athens until the start of the war:

“This coalition, after repulsing the barbarian (Persians), soon afterwards split into two sections…At the end of the one stood Athens, at the head of the other Lacedaemon, one the first naval, the other the first military power in Hellas. For a short time the league held together, till the Lacedaemonians and Athenians quarrelled and made war upon each other with their allies, a duel into which all the Hellenes sooner or later were drawn, though some might at first remain neutral. So that the whole period from the Persian war to this, with some peaceful intervals, was spent by each power in war, either with its rival, or with its own revolted allies, and consequently afforded them constant practice in military matters, and that experience which is learnt in the school of danger… The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Lacedaemon, made war inevitable.”

According to the author, what kind of people were the Spartans? What evidence in the passage led you to this answer?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What do you think is the author’s perspective on Sparta? Use evidence in the passage to support your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Would a typical Athenian agree with the author? Why/Why not?



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