Sparta And Athens Comparison Essay

Words: 552
Pages: 3

Democracy was the order of government practiced within the city-states of both Athens and Sparta. However, while the underlying foundations of democracy for both Athens and Sparta were similar, its implementation was greatly influenced by the culture of Athens and Sparta respectively. The Athenian expression of democracy was as egalitarian as Spartan democracy was exclusive.

According to Brand (n.d.), democracy in Sparta existed only in name. Like Athens, Sparta had a legislative assembly whose membership consisted of all free, male citizens. However, Sparta also had two kings, who were descended from two Spartan tribes who could trace their line back to Sparta’s founders. Spartan kings, while politically weak at home, were possessed almost
…show more content…
Athens main political body was the Athenian Popular Assembly. Membership within the Assembly was limited to free males who were 20 years of age or older (Brand, n.d.). The Boule was the main legislative body within Athenian democracy. It was composed of 500 councilors chosen annually, each tribe within the Attican peninsula contributing 50 members. The top positions of Athenian government were a body of ten Generals elected annually, usually selected from the ranks of the aristocrats and wealthy. Athenians could serve in lesser political offices provided they possessed the requisite level of wealth and be at least 30 years of age. Positions such as jury duty were chosen by lottery and those chosen were paid accordingly for their service. Eventually even attending the Assembly was paid by the state (Brand, n.d.). According to Brand (n.d.), even with an “executive branch” of government with the Generals and a strong legislative branch within the Boule, talented politicians held the ability to sway popular opinion and convince the Boule and Popular Assembly to support their agenda.

Between Athens and Sparta, Athenian democracy is more similar to the modern democracies of today. Sparta was a democracy in name only, more closely resembling a totalitarian regime that brooked no dissent. Despite their differences in execution, Athenian and Spartan democracy were similar in a compositional sense: an assembly of common citizens