Chapter 27 Life in Two City-States: Athens and Sparta 27. 1 Introduction

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Chapter 27

Life in Two City-States: Athens and Sparta
27.1 Introduction
2 of the most important city-states in ancient Greece

had very different forms of government

Athens- walled city built close to the sea which had a busy trading port outside the walls

Inside the walls – talented potters and sculptors, wealthy shopped in the marketplace with their slaves, citizenship was enjoyed by free men, many of the citizens gathered everyday to debate about issues that affected the city-state
Sparta- found on a fertile farming area on an inland plain, with no walls surrounding the city and simple buildings compared to those of Athens

  • simple clothes worn by the citizens and Spartan soldiers had stern looks on their faces under large, bronze helmets as they marched through the streets

27.2 Comparing Two City-States







Athens and Sparta were found 150 miles apart and as different as they could be

Geography- Athens in central Greece and 4 miles from the Aegean Sea, it encouraged the Athenians to travel and look beyond their city

-it wanted artists from other city-states to come and share their knowledge of art and architecture

- it grew large and powerful through trade and developed a great naval fleet which made them powerful on the seas
Sparta- more isolated, located on the peninsula in southern Greece called Peloponnesus surrounded on 3 sides by mountains and the harbor was 25 miles away

_afraid of outsiders and did not need to trade to get the crops they needed because they were able to grow most of what was needed and if they did need something, the powerful Spartan army would take by force

  • Taught sons and daughters to fight and were proud to produce soldiers over artists

Sparta was very different than Athens
Athens Sparta


27.3 Athenian Government

around 500B.C. became a Democracy

Council of 500- ________________________________________________________________


-only free men were allowed to be citizens (All Athenian-born men over the age of 18 were considered citizens) women and slaves were not given citizenships

**Council of 500 (all 30 year old men could be selected to the council) met every day to discuss the daily business and suggest new laws

Any laws that were proposed, had to be approved by a larger group called The Assembly of Athens

*Group met every 10 days

* at least 6,000 citizens had to be present for the meeting to take place

* if not enough people attended, slaves would go out with a rope, dipped in red paint, to round up more citizens (men would be embarrassed to show up at the meeting with clothes stained in red)

* Assembly debated issues and voted on laws proposed by the council

*every citizen had the right to speak

* most Athenian men enjoyed taking part in the democratic government

Men were proud of their freedom as Athenian Citizens

27.4 Athenian Economy

economy- the way a country or region uses its resources to make money to meet the needs of the people

agora- ____________________________________________________________________________

-land around Athens did not provide enough food for all of the people in the city

economy was based on trade with other cultures

Athens was located near a sea, had a good harbor, and allowed Athenians to trade with other city-states and with foreign lands

Got wood from Italy, grain from Egypt traded with Athenians who gave honey, olive oil, silver and beautifully painted pottery

Bought and sold goods at a marketplace called and agora

*Athenians bought lettuce, onions, olive oil, other foods along with pottery, house hold items, furniture and lamps

*leather sandals and jewelry were popular items, clothes were made at home

*slaves were bought and sold at the agora

Coins were made from gold, silver, and bronze to make trade easier

Both sides of the coin were decorated

27.5 Education in Athens

Education was vey important to Athens in order to have well-prepared citizens

Boys and girls were educated very differently because only the boys would become citizens

  • Good citizens would need to have an intelligent (smart) mind and healthy body

  • Book learning and physical training was very important

  • Boys taught at home by others or slaves until 6 or 7 years old

  • Went to school until 14 years old

  • Learned reading, writing, arithmetic and literature

  • Coaches taught wrestling and gymnastics to build strength

  • Also learned music, singing, playing lyre (guitar) and harp

At 18 years old they started military training with wealthy young men being privately tutored by teachers that earned high fees to teach debating and public speaking

Girls did not learn reading or writing, learned from their mothers about house hold tasks

  • cook, clean, spin thread, weaver cloth

  • learned ancient songs and dances for religious festivals

  • Married around 15 years old

  • Wealthy families chose husbands for their girls

  • Poor girls had more choices of who to marry

27.6 Women and Slaves in Athens

citizenship was not possible for women and slaves


*could not inherit or own land

*could note vote or attend an assembly

*most could not choose their own husbands

*few had jobs, some sold goods in agoras (markets)


  • some could be priestesses

  • their greatest influence in in their homes

-responsible for raising the children,

-spinning and weaving cloth

-supervising the slaves

Women never went out alone

-educated sons until 6 or 7 years old

-taught daughters until 15 or until ready to marry

Most Athenians who were not poor owed slaves

*some people born into slavery, others were forced as captives

-jobs included running the household, teaching the children and some were artisans

-worked in factories and rams or worked in cities as clerks

-worked in silver mines, 10 hours a day, with very bad working conditions

27.7 Spartan Government

Government was an Oligarchy (power in the hands of a few people)

-focus was put on military strength and was a leading military force

Same as Athens, Sparta had an Assembly, but laws were made by smaller group called Councils of Elders (older people)

Council of Elders 2 Kings, and 28 other men

2 kings shared the power 28 members were selected by the assembly (must be at least 60 and of nobility, wealthy)

The Assembly did not have power like in Athens, but voted only yes or no to laws suggested by the Council of Elders
27.8 Spartan Economy
Sparta depended on farming and conquering

-even though they had fertile land, they could not grow enough for the people of Sparta, so they conquered their neighbors and took what land they needed and put their people to work as slaves.

*Men were expected to be soldiers until the age of 60

*relied on slaves and noncitizens to produce the food

Helots (slaves) were to work for Sparta and give much of what they grew to the city-state

Noncitizens were free labor and the Spartan used them any way they needed, *make shoes, clothes for soldiers, tools like knives and spears and pottery

Sparta did not want trade because they thought it would encourage others beliefs and new ideas and weaken their government

Money was heavy iron bars, not coins to discourage stealing because iron was worthless
27.9 Education in Sparta

Main purpose of education in Sparta- produce men and women capable of fighting and defending the city-state

If an infant was sick or weak, the child would be abandoned so it would not grow up weak and unable to help the city-state

Age 7 children began to be trained for battle (boys and girls)

*taught wrestling, boxing, foot racing, gymnastics

* boys trained, lived and slept in barracks

*boys learned to read and write, but not as important as military skills


*taught to deal with pain without complaining

*marched without shoes

* not well fed, encouraged to steal food, but not get caught

At age 20, Spartan men were given a test of fitness, military ability and leaderships skills

-pass the test and become a soldier and full citizen

-live in barracks until they were 30 years old and then they could live with wife and family

-retire from army at 60 years old
27.10 Women and Slaves in Sparta

-lived a simple life

-expected to be physically fit like husband and prepared to go to battle if needed

-looked after property when husband was away

*had more freedoms than Athenian women

1. could speak to husbands friends

2. could own and control their own property

3. could marry again if husband was away for a long time

Slaves called Helots were people that the Spartans had conquered

*were treated badly, because the Spartans were worried thst they may revolt

- had some rights – could marry whomever they wanted, pass their name onto their children, and could even buy their freedom if they had enough money
Directory: sites
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