Monolithic and Pluralistic Societies
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There are two types of societies; Monolithic and Pluralistic. There are many differences between these two types of societies. A good example of a monolithic society is Sparta and a good example of a pluralistic society is Athens. The city states of these two societies were big rivals for the leadership of ancient Greece. Because of the many differences in their lifestyles the rivalry between these two societies is stronger.
Sparta is a very monolithic society. A monolithic society is a closed society. A closed society is not open to new ideas, trade, or cultural diffusion. They are very antisocial and don’t want to learn about other societies, nor do they want other societies to learn about them and steal their ideas. In Sparta, the leader Lycurgus didn’t allow his people to go to other places so they don’t pick up the habits of other societies. He doesn’t want his people to imitate the lives of other people w/out military training and that live under different governments. Spartans drive away strangers that don’t really have an important reason for being there because they believe “for along with strange people, strange ideas must come in.” Unlike Sparta, Athens is a pluralistic society. They open their city to the rest of the world and welcome foreigners and try to set an example for them. They wouldn’t prevent anyone from learning from them.
The word Spartan means “Highly self-disciplined.” The Spartan state was like a military camp. Spartans were very organized and controlled. Sparta’s population was small, but extremely powerful. Babies that were not strong enough were left to die. Once Spartan boys turned 7they are taken from their homes and sent to military training. When they turn 20 they become soldiers and are sent to frontier areas. They are not allowed to retire until they are 60. They weren’t allowed to learn much, only as much reading and writing that was thought to be necessary.
Athens was a very smart society. They admit all of their mistakes because they believe it is worse to do nothing about it. Athens was considered to e the School of the Hellas. When Athenian boys turn seven they get assigned to a tutor and sent to a school. They wear shoes and have clothes to wear, unlike Sparta whose people wear one piece of clothing all year to adjust to all climates and don’t wear shoes so their feet toughen up. After 11 years of school, Athenian men have 2 years of training for the Military.
These two societies were very different, and that is what caused the rivalry between them to be so strong. They were the two most powerful city states in Greece even though their ways of living were so different.