Athens: Social Classes



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A Tale of Two City States

ATHENS:
Social Classes: Athens had four classes of people. The first class was the citizens. Only Greek men born in Athens and owning property could be citizens. Sometimes though, citizenship was awarded to people for doing some special deed. It was a great reward. Another class of people were the metics. They were foreign-born people who were not citizens. They could not take part in the government or own land. The Metics could not take part in the government or own land. Metics ran most of the businesses in Athens. Freedmen made up another class. They were slaves that had been freed. They could own their own businesses and some of them became fabulously wealthy. The fourth group in Athenian society was the slaves. Most slaves were people that had been captured in other regions. Slaves did most of the real work in Athens. Athenians felt slavery was necessary in order for Athens to survive. In 317 BCE Athens had 21,000 citizens, 10,000 metics and freedmen and 400, 000 slaves.


Government: Athens had a direct democracy where all the citizens have a say in government processes. All citizens would meet together at the agora (market place) in the center of Athens to

Discuss the issues and then vote on them. The word democracy means “rule by the people”. Athens also had 2 leaders (like presidents) called archons (ar – cons)


Way of Life: Artists and trade people came to Athens because of its reputation as a center for trade. It was an exciting place where new ideas were welcomed. Athenians were skillful sailors who often brought new ideas back with them from their travels. The Athenians believed life was empty unless people tried to gain new knowledge and live freely. The agora or central market place of the city, was the heart of Athens – this is where the shops, temples, and government buildings were located. Athenian boys also attended school at the agora. The agora was also kind of like an outdoor mall, farmers market and place of entertainment all rolled into one.
Military: The military training was intense. Male citizens were expected to be in the army 1-2 years or longer if there was a war. They could also choose to go into the army or navy.

Army: required to one year in a garrison (military base/fort) and one year in a fort along the borders.

-after the first year each soldier was given a sword and a shield with Athen’s emblem on it.

-they could be called to war anytime up to the age of sixty.

-army consisted of cavalry (horsemen) and hoplites (foot soldiers). Not only were they armed

With swords and shields, they also had very long spears.

Navy: the navy was made of triremes – wooden ships with 3 decks of oars rowed by 170 men.

-Ships were 100-200 feet long and 0 feet wide

-rowers were mainly poor citizens who were paid and were seldom slaves
Women: Athenian women were expected to stay home. Their servants were the ones who ran errands and did the shopping. Women rarely appeared in public. They also were not citizens – even if they had been born in Athens! Women could not own property and were also expected to be practically invisible. Women were thought to be inferior (not equal) to men.


SPARTA__Military'>SPARTA__Way_of_Life'>SPARTA__Government'>SPARTA__Social_Classes'>SPARTA
Social Classes: Sparta had three classes of people. The citizens were men and women who had been born in Sparta. The men born in Sparta owned land and served as warriors. Women born in Sparta were citizens, but could not take part in government decisions. The non-citizens were free people who lived in Sparta. They had no rights in the government but paid taxes and served in the military. Non-citizen women had no rights at all. The helots were like slaves. They were a group of people who were conquered by the Spartans. Helots could not leave the area except to accompany their master in

War. The Spartan citizens created a strong code of laws designed to protect them from the helots.


In 300 BCE, there were about 32,000 citizens, 120,000 non citizens and 224,000 helots in Sparta. The Spartans feared a helot revolt. That was one reason they were always ready for war and did not have much time for art, music, and drama. The Spartans became famous for the bravery and strict way of life.
SPARTA
Government: Sparta did not have a democracy, instead she had a type of government called an Oligarchy (o –li-gar-key). An oligarchy is where a small group of people rule – in this case 5 people known as the Board of 5 Ephors. Sparta also had 2 kings, who acted more like generals. When there was war, one king would go off to battle while the other would stay in Sparta protecting the city. Sparta also had a citizen assembly that made decisions about the government (only male citizens could take part in the citizen assembly.
SPARTA
Way of Life: The Spartans didn’t like foreigners or new ideas. They also didn’t think the academics were important. They didn’t believe it was necessary to have good food, good clothing, or a soft bed-the Spartans felt these made a person weak. The Spartans also didn’t believe in the arts. The Spartans did not use money – they felt it made people greedy and weak. The Spartans were not allowed to trade goods with other city states and also were not allowed to travel outside Sparta except in time of war.
From birth to death, everything in Sparta was controlled by the military government. The government wanted only the strongest people to live in Sparta. If a baby was born that appeared weak, the government could make its parents leave it on a mountainside to die.
SPARTA
Military: A Spartan boy’s training began at age 7. The boys were taught to show no fear or pain or they would be killed. They also learned to use weapons and obey orders without questions. Everything was done to make them strong. They did not wear clothing or shoes during intense training. The Spartan men did not marry until age 20, but they couldn’t live with their wives just and still have to live in the barracks. After they had children, they could then live with their wives in a house of their own. The Spartan men had to be ready to go to war at any time. They also fought using swords, shields and spears. Sparta had NO navy.
SPARTA
Women: Spartan girls were expected to learn to take care of the home. They were also expected to stay fit and learned gymnastics, wrestling, and calisthenics. They were also expected to learn how to defend their people. It was believed that a strong Spartan woman would have healthy, strong babies which would grow into strong, healthy adults. Women had many rights and were considered citizens, but they were not allowed to vote or take part in government affairs. Women were expected to stay at home and run the family farms or businesses while their husbands were away at war. They also had the freedom to go outside the home. Overall, Spartan women had much more independence than other Greek women because their men were always away at war and also because the Spartans had a lot of respect for Spartan mothers.
ARGUMENT #1

  • Thesis: Athens would be the best city-state to live in because …….

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  • First piece of supporting evidence:

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  • Second piece of supporting evidence:

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  • Third piece of supporting evidence:

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  • Conclusion: In conclusion, Athenian culture and life is the best because….

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ARGUMENT #2

  • Thesis: A communist economy will bring the most success to a country. A successful country should (have/be/make)….

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  • First piece of supporting evidence:

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  • Second piece of supporting evidence:

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  • Third piece of supporting evidence:

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  • Conclusion: In conclusion, a communist economy will bring the most success to a country…

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