Spartans Vs. Athens Essay

Submitted By ronnee9
Words: 721
Pages: 3

Why was Spartan society so different from Athenian society? Sparta's form of political organization was oligarchy in which a small number of men dominated policy making in an assembly of male citizens. Sparta organized its society based on military readiness and its citizens were famous for their militaristic self-discipline. Spartan culture revolved around warfare. Spartan citizens were trained from a very young age to be ideal warriors. Boys were sent to live in barracks when they reached the age of seven, they lived with other males until they were thirty years old. Here they endured low rations of food and clothing under a strict discipline. The idea was that Spartan men should be used to constant hardship, so that they weren't too soft when the time came to go to war. As the boys got older, they were no longer fed at all. It was understood that they would help each other to steal food and would learn stealth tactics, fostering abilities that would be helpful in wartime. If they were caught, punishment and disgrace followed immediately. Spending so much time in shared quarters schooled Sparta's young men in their society's values. This way of life trained them for the one honorable occupation for Spartan men: obedient soldier. Thus, Sparta developed the mightiest infantry force in Greece. Sparta's urban center was located on the Peloponnesian peninsula twenty-five miles from the Mediterranean coast. This separation from the sea kept the Spartans from becoming skilled sailors so their strength lay mostly on land. Spartan society demanded strict obedience to all laws. Spartans were expected to put service to their city-state before personal concerns because their state's survival was continually threatened by the great mass of Greek slaves, called helots, who did almost all the work for citizens. They were vastly outnumbered by the helots, and there was always the fear of a helot uprising. Harshly treated by their Spartan masters, helots constantly looked for a chance to revolt. These slaves came from parts of Greece conquered by the Spartans. With helots to work the fields, male citizens could devote themselves full time to preparation for war, training to protect their state both from hostile neighbors and its own slaves. Girls were given the same rigorous physical training as boys. Spartan women were to be healthy and strong, so that they could bear strong sons and keep up the population. They would also take charge of the men's business when the men were away at war. They were known throughout the Greek world for their personal freedom. They exercised more power at home than did women elsewhere in Greece. They could own property and land. Athen's form of political organization was democracy. The Athenians were very proud of their government. It didn't take very long after the development of democracy…