What is the difference between Athens and Sparta?

The main difference between Athens and Sparta is that Athens was a form of democracy while Sparta was a form of oligarchy .

Athens and Sparta are two prominent Greek rival city-states. Although these are not very far apart, there are many differences between these two states. Athens was the center for art, learning and philosophy while Sparta was a warrior state. In addition, Athens' economy was largely based on trade, while Sparta's economy was based on agriculture and conquest.

Key areas covered

1. What is Athens - society, government, Athenians 2. What is Sparta - society, government, Spartans 3. What are the similarities between Athens and Sparta - overview of the similarities 4. What is the difference between Athens and Sparta - comparison of Main differences

key terms

Athens, Athenians, Sparta, Spartans

Difference Between Athens and Sparta - Comparative Summary

What is athens

Athens was one of the largest and most influential city-states in Greece. The city was named after Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom. The Parthenon, the temple built for Athena, sits enthroned on a hill in the center of the city. In fact, this is one of the oldest cities in the world with a recorded history of over 3,400 years.

Difference Between Athens and Sparta

Figure 1: The Parthenon

Ancient Athens was the center for art, philosophy and learning. Hence, historians often refer to it as the cradle of Western civilization. It is also home to the Academy of Plato and the Lyceum of Aristotle. Historians consider Athens to be the cradle of democracy. The ancient Athenians used a system of government in which anyone (with the exception of women, slaves, and those who were not born to Athenian parents) could vote on important issues such as whether or not to participate in war. There was also a lottery system to elect all public officials. Under the leadership of Pericles (461 to 429 BC), the city of Athens reached its golden era. Hence this is also called the Age of Pericles.

Key difference - Athens vs Sparta

Figure 2: Map of ancient Athens

The agora, a large open space for gatherings, was the commercial and government center in Athens. It was the place where people came together to discuss philosophy and politics. The famous Acropolis is also located in the middle of the city of Athens. It was built as a fortress that people could retreat to when the city was attacked. Many temples and buildings were later erected there as well.

What is Sparta?

Sparta is also an important city-state in ancient Greece. The city-state was actually known as Lacedaemon, while the name Sparta itself referred to the main settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia in the southeast of the Peloponnese. However, today we use the name Sparta to refer to the city-state. Sparta was a warrior society; Society was mainly based on loyalty to the state and military power. Indeed, Sparta was a leading force in the Greek military during the Greco-Persian Wars.

Compare Athens and Sparta

Figure 3: Ancient ruins in Sparta

From a young age, boys participated in a rigorous government-sponsored education, military training, and socialization program known as Agoge. They received rigorous training for many years until they turned 20 to become full warriors and citizens. In addition, all manual labor in the city was done by slaves, so that Spartan men had more time for military persecutions. Spartan women were not active in the military, but they were raised and taught sports to keep them physically fit. In addition, compared to women in other Greek states, Spartan women had more rights and freedoms.

Athens versus Sparta

Figure 4: Spartan administrative system

Sparta reached the height of its power after defeating Athens in the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. Had defeated. However, the decline of Sparta began a few decades later, after a defeat by the Thebans at the Battle of Leuctra.

Similarities Between Athens and Sparta

  • Athens and Sparta are two prominent Greek city-states in classical antiquity.
  • Both states used many slaves. In fact, it is said that each state had about a hundred thousand ointments.
  • These two states had powerful armed forces.
  • Both states had their own system of government that had ensured the welfare of their citizens.
  • Athens and Sparta had stable economies compared to other regions.

Difference Between Athens and Sparta

definition

Athens is the Greek city-state that is considered the cradle of civilization and home of democracy. Sparta, on the other hand, was a prominent city-state in Greece that rose to become the dominant military land power in the region.

Society type

Athens was a center of the arts, learning and philosophy while Sparta was a warrior society.

government

Athens had a form of democracy in which every free Athenian over the age of 18 was considered a citizen, while Sparta had an oligarchic government.

business

While Athens' economy was largely based on trade, Sparta's economy was based on agriculture and conquest.

Military strength

In addition, Athens had a strong navy, while Sparta had a strong land army.

women

Spartan women had more status and freedom than Athenian women. Spartan women were educated and, unlike Athenian women, could own and manage property.

education and training

In Athens, boys received a wide range of training, but girls were only taught housework. In Sparta, both boys and girls received physical training to keep fit. Spartan boys received military training and education for many years.

diploma

Athens and Sparta are two prominent Greek rival city-states. Although these are not very far apart, there are many differences between these two states. The main difference between Athens and Sparta is their government, economy and society. Athenian society based on trade, valued art and culture, and governed in a form of democracy. The Spartan society, on the other hand, was a militant society whose economy was based on agriculture and conquest.

Reference:

1. “Athens.” DK Find out! Available here .2. Mark, Joshua J. "Athens". Encyclopedia of Ancient History, November 7, 2019, available here . "History of Ancient Sparta." LiveScience, purchase, available here .4. "Sparta." History.com, A&E Television Networks, Nov 12, 2009, available here .

Image courtesy:

1. "The Parthenon in Athens" By Steve Swayne - File: O Partenon de Atenas.jpg, originally posted on Flickr as The Parthenon Athens (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 2. "Map Ancient Athens" By Singinglemon - Own work ( Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 3. “SpartaGreatRhetra” By Publius97 at en.wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 4. “Ancient sparta theater” By Κούμαρης Νικόλαος (attribution) via Commons Wikimedia

About the author: Hasa

Hasa holds a BA in English, French and Translation Studies. She is currently reading for a Masters in English. Her areas of interest include literature, language, linguistics and also food.