Ch 5 Section 2: Sparta and Athens.
Greek city-states were both similar and different. The two most important city-states, Athens and Sparta, showed great differences. While Athens was known for its laws and government, Sparta was known for the physical strength and discipline of its people. According to legend, Spartan laws were intentionally not written down so that people would have to memorize them as a further test of discipline.
By the late 1100s B.C., invaders overran the Peloponnesus and enslaved the residents, calling them helots
A rigid military society developed and Sparta became its capital
The Equals, the descendents of the invaders, controlled Sparta
Half-citizens were free, paid taxes, served in the army but had no political power
Helots lived in their master's household but were owned by the state; unlike ordinary slaves, their master could not declare them free. They served as agricultural and domestic slaves, and sometimes military servants as well. Spartans usually allowed agricultural helots to keep excess produce.
The lowest group were the Helots, who became Sparta’s slaves
Two kings headed the government - one led the army and the other ruled at home
Statue of King Leonidas of Sparta
Archidamos III King of Sparta
The council of elders called Gerousia, were elected by the Assembly and held office for life. The Gerousia, consisted of 30 men including the two kings. They had to be over sixty years old, except the two kings. Also, to be elected, you had to be a man and come from a noble family. The Gerousia's responsibilities included acting as the judicial power in criminal cases, and preparing measures written by the Assembly, but they could overturn any of these measures if they thought that they were not good.
A Council of Elders proposed laws and judged criminal cases
The Assembly was made up of male Spartan citizens over the age of thirty. To gain citizenship a man had to pass training courses, and have a certain amount of education. To get this education and attempt the training courses, the Gerousia decided at the birth of the infant if he was to be raised or not. If he was not to be raised he would be exposed.
The Assembly accepted or rejected laws proposed by the Council of Elders
The Ephorate was the biggest constitutional change which occurred after the first Messenian war. The Ephorate was five men. At first the kings chose these men but then they changed into having these men elected annually. They changed it because their basic role was to keep the kings on the right track, to make sure that they stood by their oaths, and this was to keep the kings from gaining too much power.
The Assembly elected five ephors, who ensured the kings stayed within the law
The state-controlled education [agoge] in Sparta was designed not to instill literacy, but fitness, obedience, and courage. Boys were taught survival skills, encouraged to steal what they needed without getting caught, and, under certain circumstances, to murder helots. At birth unfit boys would be killed. The weak continued to be weeded out, those who survived would know how to cope with inadequate food and clothing.
At age 7, boys left home for military training and schooling
From ages 18 to 20 they trained for war and began military service at age 20
They could not engage in trade or business and remained available for military service until age 60
In no other Greek City-state did women enjoy the same freedom and privileges of Spartan women.
Only in Sparta did girls receive public education - in other city-states most women were completely illiterate.
Only in Sparta were girls allowed to engage in sport.
Only in Sparta did women possess economic power and influence.
Spartan girls received strict physical training and were taught devotion to the city-state
A. Athenian Society
Citizens formed the top social group but only Athens-born men had full political rights
Metics (resident aliens) with their involvement in various businesses were very important to the Athenian economy. They were not and could not become citizens, but nevertheless had to serve in the military and pay a poll-tax. They, however, could not participate in the political life of Athens.
Metics, those born outside Athens, were free and paid taxes but were not citizens
Slaves were people captured in war and were at the bottom of society
Slaves were the lowest class in Athenian society, but according to many contemporary accounts they were far less harshly treated than in most other Greek cities. Indeed, one of the criticisms of Athens was that its slaves and freemen were difficult to tell apart.
There were nine archons (árkhon = ruler, regent, commander) in the classic constitution at Athens. Six were judges, the Thesmothetae. The other three were the Polemarch (polémarkhos, "war leader," the third archon), who was the commander-in-chief, the King (basileús, the second archon), who succeeded to the religious duties of the original Kings of Athens, and the Eponymous (epónymos) Archon, the first archon, after whom the year was named.
All male citizens met in an assembly that elected nine archons, rulers who served one-year terms
Draco introduced the first written legislation in Athens. The Draconian punishment outlawed vendetta. His harsh code punished both trivial and serious crimes with death - hence the use of the word draconian to describe tough legal measures.
In the late 600s B. C., an archon named Dracocreated Athens’s first written laws
Solon, an Athenian statesman, lawgiver, and poet, was considered one of Athens’ Seven Sages, or seven wisest men. His reputation is based on his contribution to Athenian law and through political and economic reforms that paved the way for increased participatory democracy in the “great period” of classical Athens.
Solon, another archon, outlawed slavery for debt and divided citizens into four groups based on wealth rather than birth
Due to a economic crisis, Athens was collapsing in anarchy. A nobleman, Peisistratus, swept into power during this anarchy and set about restoring order. Peisistratus began to build in and around Athens, reform Athenian religion and religious practices, and devoted his government to cultural reform. He sought out poets and artists in order to make Athens a culturally sophisticated and dynamic society. He launched a full attack on the power of the nobility. He increased the power of the Assembly and the courts associated with the poorest classes.
From 546 to 527 BC, Peisistratus ruled Athens as a tyrant
One of Cleisthenes’ reforms was that any free man living in Athens or the surrounding area was a citizen.
In 507 BC, Cleisthenes seized power and created a direct democracy
He divided citizens into 10 tribes and each tribe chose 50 men to serve in the Council of Five Hundred
The Council proposed laws, but the assembly had final authority