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Athens and Sparta

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While both Athens and Sparta’s population growth and economic development caused political and social problems, Athenians relieved tension by creating a democracy government and Sparta created a government based off of military means. Sparta’s population and economic growth caused overpopulated city-states and land hunger. They reduced this problem with helots, servants of Sparta state. Helots were not free and could not leave the land. Their role in society was to provide agricultural labor and keep Spartans supplied with food. The helots soon outnumbered the Spartans so Spartans created a powerful military. Spartan education of military discipline was taught at a very young age. All boys left their families at age seven and went off to live in military sights. Here they underwent series of physical training with other boys up until the age of twenty. At age twenty they became active in the military. They stayed in the military until retirement which was usually around the age of thirty, then went back home to create a family. Women usually underwent physical exercises as well in hopes that they would have strong children.

Women married around the age of eighteen but did not live with their husbands. Spartan society was based off of military discipline that could crush any threat. Athens democratic government was open to only free adult males but seeking to resolve social problems, Athenians opened the government to all citizens. An increasing amount of maritime trade brought prosperity to the region around Athens, called Attica. This brought wealth to the aristocratic landowners who owned most of the government. As their wealth grew, they increased their land and small farmers could not compete and fell into debt. This left a lot of unhappy people who wanted to start war with their wealth neighbors. In Athens, Solon was a mentor between the classed and made compromises with each class.

Later, Athens leaders opened the government up to commoners and paid salaries so even the less fortunate could participate. Sparta was like a monarchy while Athens was a democracy. Both were ruled by men but Sparta was ruled by one male citizen and Athens was ruled by all male citizens. They both had strong militaries that could crush any treat but Sparta boys were trained earlier then Athenian boys. Like Athens, Sparta had problems with population growth and economic development. Athens relied on Solon to unite the society while Sparta had helots who helped maintain the society. Athens and Sparta were both city-states of ancient Greece who were similar and different and many ways.

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